Apple pulls Bluetooth OnOff from the App Store

Apple pulls Bluetooth OnOff from the App Store

Summary: Apple's removal of an app that allowed users to quickly access a popular setting demonstrates how it has become lethargic and how iOS innovation has slowed to a crawl.

TOPICS: Apple, Apps, Mobility, Wi-Fi

Apple pulls Bluetooth on/off from the App Store - Jason O'GradyIt should come as no surprise that Apple has removed the wonderful Bluetooth OnOff app from the App Store.

The wonderful, single-purpose $0.99 app allowed you to turn Bluetooth on and off with one touch, something users have been clamoring for since the iPhone came out in 2007.

I hope that you grabbed it while you could!

Apparently Bluetooth OnOff used private APIs and was summarily yanked from the App Store six days after it was approved. I'm not sure how it slipped through the Apple approval process because I'm pretty sure that my two-year-old knows that Apple doesn't allow this. Sympathetic reviewer perhaps?

The reason for the demand is obvious. While undeniably convenient (especially if the U.S. enacts a Federal ban on mobile phone use while driving), Bluetooth uses battery capacity so it's better to turn it off while not in use.

The problem is that Apple makes it preposterously difficult to access the Bluetooth settings on the iPhone. Heck, Bluetooth isn't even a top-level Setting like Wi-Fi is! It's almost like Apple went out of its way to bury the setting so people wouldn't find it.

I have to swipe down to reveal Settings > General because it doesn't fit on the top section of the screen. So to get to Bluetooth I have to:

  1. Touch Settings
  2. Swipe down
  3. Touch General
  4. Touch Bluetooth
  5. Swipe the slider to turn Bluetooth On (or Off)

It's absurd. And if my iPhone is locked or I'm not on the same screen as the Settings app, it requires even more steps.

Bluetooth OnOff allowed me to do in one step what Apple requires five+ steps for. And we're not talking about an obscure setting like turning on VPN (which, ironically can be done in two steps once configured). Bluetooth is a relatively mainstream feature since the advent of the wireless headset and increasingly tougher anti-mobile phone legislation in the U.S.

Until Apple gets around to changing things (hopefully in iOS 6?) your only option for Bluetooth widget functionality is to jailbreak your device and install an app like SBSettings (below) which provides one-touch toggles for just about everything.

Yeah, good luck with that.

SBSettings requires a jailbreak - Jason O'Grady

Topics: Apple, Apps, Mobility, Wi-Fi

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  • Seriously!

    I admit that it probably takes more steps than it could and Apple probably could have left the App in the store. But seriously, how often do you switch Bluetooth on and off a day and how much time does it really take? I just did it on my iPad1 (not the fastest iOS devioce in the world) and it took all of 5-6 seconds. Not a huge impost on my time.
    A Grain of Salt
    • grass...bleat some more. Repeat.

      Seriously?! This is a perfect example of why I would not buy an iProduct outside of my old iPod or an iTouch. Too much control. Even for something that is so necessary to have, even if only for some people (you know, individuals with individual needs, not part of a large herd).
      • As I said...

        "I admit that it probably takes more steps than it could and Apple probably could have left the App in the store."

        I think Apple can do better in this area, but when you read things like this...

        "Apple makes it preposterously difficult to access the Bluetooth" wonder does wonder when a 5-6 second process suddenly became "preposterous."
        A Grain of Salt
      • A Grain: funny

        " wonder does wonder when a 5-6 second process suddenly became "preposterous"

        Many years ago and it was the Apple community that defined it as such. I remember usability comparisons between OS X and Windows where Apple people like you would make a huge deal about 1 extra click to do something in Windows, like putting the computer to sleep.

        Amazing how the goal posts for what is "preposterous" changes when the Apple product is the one with the inefficient UI.
      • when a 5-6 second process suddenly became "preposterous"

        That's the main draw behind Siri, remember? "Siri, remind me to call my mom when I get home."

        "Yes, Michael. I'll remind you."

        That simple sentence and response is a shortcut for a bunch of tapping, swiping and other gestures needed to do the same thing without the shortcut.

        This app is no different.
  • Profiles needed

    Apple need to allow an app to let us create "profiles" that automatically set multiple setting in one touch.....
    • Where have I seen that before?

      I could be wrong but I want to say either Sony or Motorola has this in one of their Android products.

      I am thinking it is either the Droid X2 or the Tablet S.
  • Widgets...

    That was one of the things I loved, when I switched from iOS to Android. The first thing I did was put a widget on the homescreen to allow me to turn wifi, bluetooth and data on and off - I also have a widget for airplane mode and to switch between sound profiles.

    It is these sorts of things, which on other platforms we have taken for granted for years - even the OS X desktop allows widgets to be put on the desktop (as opposed to the normal widget overlay) using a hack. It is one of the many little things I found so frustrating with iOS.
  • Walled Garden (You Don't Really Want that Bluetooth Toggle Widget!)

    They problem with Apple is that they want to control everything about how I use their products. And because there is no way they can anticipate all of my particular needs, they get some things wrong that end up being very annoying. Android, for all of its many, many faults, at least does better in this respect. This particular example, a bluetooth toggle widget, is available on almost all default Android installations and several variations can be easily installed if desired.

    Unless Apple changed their approach to the walled garden, this is one of the issues that will eventually bring the company down.
    • Did you actually read the article . . .

      . . . especially the part about it using private APIs that it should not have been using? Surely you have enough common sense to understand that problems in doing that, especially if Apple changes or upgrades those APIs in the future.

      You, and the author, should, in fact, be congratulating Apple for not allowing this app. All it would lead to is a huge bunch of annoyed users in the future if Apple changes anything in the API.

      "Unless Apple changed their approach to the walled garden, this is one of the issues that will eventually bring the company down. " Utter drivel! This has been Apple's form of business for a decade, may be more, and it goes from strength to strength. You might not like the walled garden approach, and you are allowed to have that opinion, but other people like it, they prefer it. So, for you, just use something else that better suits your needs.
      • In that aspect...

        I agree with Apple. But are there other apps like this available? Because if there aren't, then I hold my ground that they just love to control WAY too much.
      • Misdirected blame?

        Gersont, Why isn't your vitriol directed toward the party that caused the App to be pulled? Namely, the one who violated the terms.

        Do you also blame the police officer for blocking traffic when a drunk driver gets pulled over?
      • tigertank: not the analogy I would use

        I would blame the politician who created the law forcing the police to pull over people driving blue cars causing the police officer to block traffic while every blue car is pulled over.

        You are right in the sense that Apple stated ahead of time that apps using private APIs would be blocked. The end result though is that a very useful, time saving piece of functionality has been taken away from users.

        Apple has, on occasion, responded positively to customer demand. Maybe if people complain enough about this, Apple will make changes to the API or improve their UI. Wouldn't customers win if that happened? Why are you so threatened by people complaining about Apple products? Would it be better if we were all "yes men" and simply smiled and shut up and took whatever Apple gave us? Would you suggest that if Microsoft customers didn't like Metro UI, they too should just smile, shut up, and accept it?

        And yes, they could choose not to buy it. Absolutely. Wouldn't the consumer win if they could keep buying products from Apple that were fantastic in every other way AND get a better Bluetooth UI? How would that be a bad thing?
      • So make 'em public.

        Yes, the APIs were private. But the fact remains that people were downloading and using the app.

        They were paying for the feature.

        That indicates an unfulfilled need. So much so that Apple should either provide those kinds of app themselves, or provide a public API that allows developers access to those settings.

        They'll come around. Eventually. Heck, we couldn't even change our Home screen's wallpaper until iOS 4.
      • Feedback

        BTW, if you think Apple should bring back the app, provide the functionality themselves, or open up the APIs, then let them know.

        Leave feedback at
      • @isights

        "They'll come around. Eventually. Heck, we couldn't even change our Home screen's wallpaper until iOS 4. ."

        You Apple guys crack me up. Who in their right mind, only an Apple fruitloop would put up with something so idiotic and still love their product? Honestly....
    • You really miss the point

      The main reason this app got pulled is that it used Private parts of the OS. These parts are "private" so that Apple can change them without having to worry about breaking existing apps. It's the same reason that Object Oriented Programming languages can declare certain functions or routines private.
  • I am surprised by price

    $0.99 app just to toggle bluetooth on or off? iPhone users must be really rich.
    • Hmm good point...

      If we add up all these useful widgets values in Android, we can conclude that the widgets in Android are worth more than iOS on the whole. :-D
  • Android widget for that...

    I use a free widget on android called ZDbox that WiFi, bluetooth, app killer, flashlight, sound control and more. I wish they made it for IOS...