You soon won’t be able to get one of the cleverest Messages apps.
While Apple’s new apps for Messages (formerly known as iMessage) are one of the best parts of iOS 10, there’s at least one new app Apple is not happy about and it will likely soon disappear from the App Store.
Phoneys, created by developer Adam Howell, is actually rather ingenious. It comes with a set of stickers that look like Messages bubbles that are pre-filled with phrases like “you’re so smart,” “you’re my hero,” and “your sports team is better than my sports team.” (You might be able to see where this is going…)
If you just select one of the phrases, it shares it as a sticker — it looks like a Messages bubble, but no one would be fooled into thinking it’s the real deal. However, if you drag the sticker over a friend’s message in your conversation, it sticks to that bubble so it looks like they typed out the message themselves. And, because the app uses the same font that Messages does, the effect is pretty convincing.
Naturally, Apple does not like this, even though it approved the app initially. After shooting to the top of the App Store’s charts for paid apps last week, Apple apparently contacted Howell.
“Apple’s lawyers weren’t happy that Phoneys got through the review process,” Howell wrote in a post on Medium.
The issue, according to the developer, was his use of Apple’s San Francisco font, his choice of colors (Apple uses blue and green for its Messages app), as well as its marketing as a “prank” app (Howell denies he ever described it as a prank, though media reports used the term.)
Although they said they wouldn’t pull the app, Howell says the Apple rep who contacted him told him he had one week “to fundamentally change it so that the bubbles looked nothing like Messages bubbles.” Howell notes that while this would make Apple happy, “the entire spirit of the app will be lost.”
He says he’s not sure what he will do. Another option would be to hold off on updating and allow Apple to pull it, in which case those who have already paid for the app could continue to use it, although there would be no more updates.
Either way, Howell’s deadline is quickly approaching — he has until Thursday, Oct. 6 — so if you want to try out the “prank” for yourself, your window is closing. Just know that if you do buy the app, your $0.99 investment may not last long.