We live in the age of smartphones and an increasingly connected world, where we can upgrade our handsets by simply downloading and installing a piece of software on it. The number of apps available today is amazing: both application marketplaces – Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store – have around 2 million apps covering pretty much everything you can do with a smartphone. Some of them are totally legit, others are fishy… and there are some that are a bit too much for the people screening the apps for their compliance with the rules. Here are some of the most controversial ones ever banned from Apple’s App Store.
The Mining Calendar
Someday, it may be common for mobile apps to use a bit of the phones’ processing power by mining cryptocurrency to unlock various features – today, in turn, it is against the rules, even if it would make having a fully fledged app much easier than paying for it. This was the case of Calendar 2, a desktop app for Mac that allowed its users to unlock its premium features by allowing it to mine in the background. This wasn’t to Apple’s liking, it seems because it didn’t only ban the incriminated app from its Mac App Store but it banned all cryptocurrency mining apps from all of its platforms – iPhone and iPad included.
Cannabis is legal in two countries and several US states (with others allowing its medical use all over the world). The “Herb Converter” app was likely built to be used in these countries and territories, allowing its users to convert from ounces to grams, among others. Its users, it seems, were not very pleased with it – they complained about its lack of accurate measurements and tutorials on how to roll. Apple seemed not to be impressed by the app’s shortcomings – it was turned off by the fact that it promoted cannabis, illegal in most of the world, so it got it out of the App Store for good.
Freedom of expression is protected by the fundamental laws anywhere – unless it causes harm to others, of course. So, if you express your opinion by throwing a shoe on a politician, it will likely be frowned upon. Even if you do so in a mobile app.
Back in 2008, Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi expressed his discontent in US president Bush by throwing his shoes on him. This incident turned into an app (because, of course, it did) but its form of expressing itself was frowned upon by Apple: the company banned the app from its App Store soon after its release.
I Am Rich
This legendary app was clearly ridiculous: it did nothing but display the message from its title – and it cost $999.99. It was apparently made as a joke, one that Apple’s team didn’t take too well, considering that they banned it after just one day… but not before being bought by eight individuals.
Last but not least, let us mention “Relapse”, the iPhone app rumored to have been released together with Eminem’s album with the same name in 2009. Based on his “3 A.M.” video, the game features Eminem walking down the streets with several weapons, indiscriminately murdering anyone passing by. The app, of course, didn’t make it to an official release – it was banned before you could say “Slim Shady”.