Apple pulls Bluetooth OnOff from the App Store

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.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

It 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.

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