Apple hands takedown notice to developer of DOS emulator for iOS after seven years on...

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,117   +862
Staff member
What just happened? Apple has told an App Store developer that he must remove the functionality of his app or face ejection from the iOS marketplace. The app in question is called "iDOS 2." It is an emulator made to run old DOS games on iPhones and iPads.

Developer Chaoji Li says that he received a letter from Apple telling him that his app, iDOS 2, violates App Store Guideline 2.5.2, which forbids software from installing or launching "executable code" on iOS devices. Li's app has been available on the App Store for nearly seven years, and the notice only came after his most recent update. So somehow, Apple's review board has flip-flopped on its decision to allow it.

"Your app executes iDOS package and image files and allows iTunes File Sharing and Files support for importing games. Executing code can introduce or changes features or functionality of the app and allows for downloading of content without licensing," the takedown notice reads.

Apple had previously restricted Li from bundling games with his app. So he updated it to leverage the document-sharing functionality built into iOS to allow users to import files to run in iDOS 2. His previous app, iDOS, was listed for a short time in 2010 before getting removed.

Li added the import feature in iDOS 2 in September 2020 and has since submitted several other patches without getting a notice. During each re-review, he clarified that his app is not a security threat to Apple's mobile operating system since it operates within a sandbox. It is unclear why the app was flagged this time, but Li says his app has recently gotten a bit of publicity, which may have caused Apple to scrutinize his code more critically.

Apple says Li has two weeks (as of July 22) to remove the ability to execute code from iDOS 2. The developer said that he will not comply with the order because it would render the app useless and thus "betray" customers who have paid for the app. As such, Apple will likely remove the $5 app in less than two weeks.

As we have seen with past removals, apps already purchased and installed on iPad and iPhone will remain functional until Apple makes significant changes to iOS that require developers to update. At that time, anyone with the app installed will get the familiar message, "This app needs to be updated by the developer to work on this version of iOS" when trying to launch iDOS 2. It is also worth mentioning that iDOS 2 is not one of a kind. Power DOS for iOS is more or less the same nut in a different shell.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 923   +1,699
It almost wants to make me sell my ipad, I just don't because I don't have a proper PDF friendly device to read. Those chrome tablets seemed promising but as predicted they've been pretty much deprecated by now.
 

NeoMorpheus

Posts: 871   +1,625
It almost wants to make me sell my ipad, I just don't because I don't have a proper PDF friendly device to read. Those chrome tablets seemed promising but as predicted they've been pretty much deprecated by now.

Same here.

I recently played with a Tab S7 and it was very nice.

I hate that besides my Google account, I need to use a Samsung account, but maybe is a minor thing.

Seriously considering getting one.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 519   +771
I've said it once before but you can actually launch the Delta emulator (for example) on iOS without jailbreaking the device. It relies on an app called AltStore, which is provided through developer side-loading (officially supported by Apple). It requires installing "AltServer" on a PC (basically replaces XCode to self-sign apps) and has a pre-requisite of iTunes, but is pretty much straightforward.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,827   +5,869
dog.png

 

bviktor

Posts: 471   +801
Yet another reason I will never purchase another apple phone. My SE years ago was the first and last time I tried apple's walled garden.
Oh yes, the Play Store doesn't have guidelines or something.

On the other hand, this is the reason why I'll always stick with iOS. Yeah, "executable code" is always funky when it's just innocent DOS emulators, but there are other, not-so-funky use cases. I.e. malware.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 460   +354
A
Oh yes, the Play Store doesn't have guidelines or something.

On the other hand, this is the reason why I'll always stick with iOS. Yeah, "executable code" is always funky when it's just innocent DOS emulators, but there are other, not-so-funky use cases. I.e. malware.


I think you are right - only Apple should run apps with executable code - No one but Apple can be trusted . I mean a DOS emulator ran in an Apple Sandbox with few privileges is just begging for trouble.
All apps should be ideas that Apple will sanitise , apply executable code and disseminate - if successful - to be decommissioned for the Apple version - your right of reply is given - choose one of the following options :-
1) thank you Apple - you are the best
 

Fearghast

Posts: 416   +306
I was using that for testing apps, I do not really care for DOS games ... FFS.
Like I needed even more reasons not to ever upgrade my iPad Pro.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 923   +1,699
Oh yes, the Play Store doesn't have guidelines or something.

On the other hand, this is the reason why I'll always stick with iOS. Yeah, "executable code" is always funky when it's just innocent DOS emulators, but there are other, not-so-funky use cases. I.e. malware.
Ok I think I didn't particularly made it obvious on my first post so I'll clarify: I don't disagree with you actually. The ipad has it's place and is mostly exactly what you describe: for most of my non-tech friends and relatives I would absolutely recommend they the basic ipad because that's all they'll need.

The problem is that the way these products work, when we have a really popular option like the ipad, it makes options for other users like me and many others on this website/forums that are far more tech saavy if not outright professionals working in tech, have just far less options: You really only have either the ipad and all Apple does to lock it down, or a Samsung device (And *some* lenovo tablets here and there maybe) in terms of similarly specs.

And Samsung decided a few generations ago that they didn't want to support a 4:3 or 5:4 screen format. I don't even think they have a 16:10 anymore it's all 16:9 screens. They know that's the best bet for the viewing experience of video content and decided all other users should be secondary.

Except if I wanted a really portable media device that can double as both my e-reader and do some remote tasks, then a friendly format for reading and coding would be very nice to have, but there is no such device because the two popular ones are the only ones that can really afford decent specs without blowing up the price too much.

I am looking forward to an upcoming Linux based tablet but even from the special preview price tag I know it's close to twice the money a regular ipad 10.1 costs and the processor and the OS optimization is looking to be singificantly more sluggish. Basically the only thing it has going for it is that is a full on Linux device but without the economies of scale a giant like Apple or Samsung can afford, then there is no decent choice for anything other than what Apple or Samsung decide it's what you should get and that's regrettable.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,634   +4,093
Oh yes, the Play Store doesn't have guidelines or something.
Dont be disengenuous. Android has the option of side loading and alternative stores. Duh. And the Play store wont obliterate an app for running properly in a sandbox, whereas apple seems fit to take down any app on a whim, rules be damned. You are well aware of this.

On the other hand, this is the reason why I'll always stick with iOS. Yeah, "executable code" is always funky when it's just innocent DOS emulators, but there are other, not-so-funky use cases. I.e. malware.
So what's your argument, that since malware exists genuine apps should be forced off the store? What kind of backwards politician-tier logic is that?
 

hwertz

Posts: 64   +25
Yup. I won't have anything to do with Apple products, and the huge number of rules on iOS store (including "no emulators" -- I'm surprised it took them this long to drop the hammer on him) is one reason why. (And to pre-respond to the inevitable Apple fanboi response "Yeah, but you can jailbreak it."... well yeah, or I can use my Android-powered, keyboard-having BlackBerry KeyOne and *not* have to root it to install what I want on it.)
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,713   +2,021
TechSpot Elite
Yup. I won't have anything to do with Apple products, and the huge number of rules on iOS store (including "no emulators" -- I'm surprised it took them this long to drop the hammer on him) is one reason why. (And to pre-respond to the inevitable Apple fanboi response "Yeah, but you can jailbreak it."... well yeah, or I can use my Android-powered, keyboard-having BlackBerry KeyOne and *not* have to root it to install what I want on it.)
Yeah but a rooted Android phone is a wonderful thing! I don't know what the law is in the USA, but in Canada, no phone can be locked to a provider. As a result, rooting software doesn't have to account for several Android versions based on whether it's Bell, Rogers, Telus, Freedom Mobile, Public Mobile, etc.

It's just one unlocked OS on each phone model. It's amazing.