Apple rejects app that turned iPad’s camera into a button


Luna Display iPad
Luna Display's best feature has been killed by Apple.
Photo: Astro HQ

Apple has rejected updates to two popular iOS apps that attempted to provide users with a handy new shortcut on iPad.

The creators of Luna Display and Astropad devised a method of using the iPad’s front-facing camera as a button. Sadly, the shortcut did not go down well in Cupertino.

Astro HQ’s “Camera Button” idea was simple, and wonderfully intuitive. With a tap of the front-facing camera, users gained quick and easy access to a menu with helpful functions and shortcuts.

iPad Camera Button
“Camera Button” in action.
Photo: Astro HQ

It was a particularly neat idea for an app like Luna Display, in which you don’t want virtual buttons to clutter up the user interface. The Camera Button was also set to come to Astropad in an update scheduled to roll out today.

Apple rejected it

But that won’t be happening. Apple has rejected the update because the Camera Button breaches Section 2.5.9 of its App Store Review Guidelines, which state:

Apps that alter or disable the functions of standard switches, such as the Volume Up/Down and Ring/Silent switches, or other native user interface elements or behaviors will be rejected.

We’ve been here before

Astro HQ isn’t the first developer to have their app rejected by Apple for attempting something innovative. Camera+ first gave us the ability to snap photos using the iPhone’s physical volume buttons back in 2011, but Apple soon rejected that, too.

Ironically, Apple integrated this functionality into iOS later because it was such a great idea, but for a long time, developers weren’t allowed to make use of it.

Astro HQ isn’t too heartbroken.

“The Camera Button might be dead, but our urge to innovate lives on,” the studio explains in a post on its blog. “We’re committed to pushing the boundaries of software and hardware engineering so that we can create the best productivity tools possible.”

Do you think Apple was right to block the Camera Button shortcut?


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