This popular application that has been online for 6 years is about to disappear. Developers and Apple reviewers are fighting again

Why does Apple not allow retro games to exist?

iDOS 2 is an iOS application that has existed for more than 6 years, through which users can run DOS games and software from decades ago on iPhone and iPad. However, it is now facing the risk of being removed from the Apple App Store. In this regard, Chaoji Li, the developer of the application, “complained” in a blog post, and aroused many people’s regrets and discussions on the Internet.

This popular application that has been online for 6 years is about to disappear. Developers and Apple reviewers are fighting again

DOS emulator on iOS

iDOS 2 has been online in the App Store since 2014. Its predecessor, iDOS, was first released in 2010, but it was withdrawn by Apple shortly after it went online.

Due to Apple’s restrictions on the bundling of game files, iDOS 2 has not been updated for more than four years. In September 2020, Li received a user’s suggestion on GitHub to try again and updated iDOS 2 so that it can be used. The iOS “file sharing” feature then allows users to import their own files.

With iDOS 2, iPhone/iPad users can play a lot of classic DOS games from the “old age”. However, when Li tried to submit an update with bug fixes to the App Store recently, he was told that the update was rejected because it violated the App Store 2.5.2 guidelines, that is, the application is not allowed to install or launch executable code.

Apple said in its reply:

During the review period, your application installed or launched executable code, which is not allowed on the App Store.

Specifically, your application executes the iDOS package and image file, and allows iTunes file sharing and file support to import games. Executing the code can introduce or change the features or functions of the application, and allow the download of unlicensed content.

Please note that although educational applications designed to teach, develop, or allow students to test executable code can download code under limited circumstances, such code must not be used for other purposes, and such applications must enable users to fully View and edit source code.

According to the notice, the App Store review team gave Li 14 days to submit the update again, otherwise the app will be removed from the app store.

Li said that he understands the considerations behind Apple’s move, but emphasized that users know that since last year, iDOS 2 has been able to run custom games or programs because of the ability to access files through file sharing. No one is fooling around with any tricks. The reviewer, on the contrary, for every version update submission, he will always provide instructions to inform the working principle of iDOS 2.

This popular application that has been online for 6 years is about to disappear. Developers and Apple reviewers are fighting again

Although the App does run external code, it runs in a sandboxed environment (this means that there is no risk of jeopardizing the data security of the rest of the system users).

But now Apple disagrees.

Li stated in the open letter that the use of file sharing to run custom games or programs is currently an indispensable part of iDOS 2, and he does not intend to delete it to meet App Store rules because it is a betrayal to paying users.

Why did Apple suddenly disagree?

Some analysts say that this may be a “fault” of the Apple review team. After all, the App Store has always been closed to the simulator.

Li speculated that it was related to the rapid rise in popularity of iDOS 2 recently, which made Apple change its mind. Recently, Fast Company’s scientific and technological editors’ tweets and How-To Geek have published instructions on how to run Windows 3.1 on the iPad, which has attracted a lot of attention to iDOS 2.

This popular application that has been online for 6 years is about to disappear. Developers and Apple reviewers are fighting again

“Once you get the Windows 3.1 files, you need to transfer them to the Files application of your iPad. Then, you can load the Windows 3.1 files in iDOS 2 and install the operating system.” And the facts further proved that the user still You can install additional third-party apps on Windows 3.1 via iDOS. Benj Edwards, editor of How-To Geek, also introduced how to use the Internet Archive to obtain Windows 3.1 software, where you can find games, productivity tools, utilities, etc. By iDOS and Windows 3.1, you can put iPad into a portable classic game machine, Benj Edwards demonstrated running on his iPad several classic Windows games including “Civilization II” and other games.

As a result, the emulator capability of iDOS 2 has been hyped. For Apple, which values ​​copyright, this situation can no longer be ignored.

According to the analysis of Sanyi Life, simulators have been walking in the gray area of ​​the legal boundary, and there are cases of pirated resources that infringe countless copyrights and damage the business ecology of the simulated objects. In order to avoid joint liability, it is normal for Apple to cut it across the board. Floppy Cloud, the Nintendo NES/SNES emulator that has survived for a long time in the App Store before, is an application that pretends to be a file management function, and only executes a specific .smc file (Nintendo game emulator file). The game simulation function will appear.

In addition, players who want to use the simulator in the iOS/iPadOS ecosystem can only install the simulator by jailbreaking the device, or download the enterprise version of the application, but these behaviors often involve great risks, and even There are black ash products injecting mining scripts into such applications.

Perhaps as a netizen commented, the emulator allows apps to run code that Apple cannot see or inspect. This has always been a violation of the rules. The real problem is Apple’s lack of consistency in applying rules, which shouldn’t have been allowed in the App Store, so the deletion now looks more like Apple’s “reality”.

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