What do sexy apps and Wi-Fi hotspot detectors have in common? Apparently neither one of them is welcome on the App Store. The Register is reporting that Apple has started to yank Wi-Fi hotspot detecting apps -- commonly known as “stumblers” -- from the App Store, leaving developers completely in the dark as to why.
“We received a very unfortunate e-mail today from Apple stating that WiFi Where has been removed from sale on the App Store for using private frameworks to access wireless information,” one developer writes. Apple has pulled various apps for using private frameworks in the past, but in this case it’s not totally clear what rule such scanning apps are breaking.
Unlike the “sexy apps” which were pulled en masse recently, not all of the Wi-Fi finders have been removed -- apps which use a database of hotspots combined with GPS data from the device itself are still available, such as JiWire’s free Wi-Fi Finder. It appears that Apple is primarily targeting the apps that actively scan for hotspots, such as eFUSION’s eWiFi, which is now gone from the App Store.
A rather unfortunate choice on Apple’s part, since apps such as eWiFi are a handy way to check your own home network and see if it might be conflicting with another one in your neighborhood when a computer isn't handy, for instance. Here’s hoping that Apple has a change of heart and allows such apps back in the App Store.