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UPDATE: It looks like Apple has decided to remove FlexBright from the App Store after all – the link below is no longer active. No explanation has currently been given.
An app called FlexBright has just released a version 2.0 to the App Store with a new blue light filter setting in a surprise allowance by Apple. Apps have previously been barred from being able to adjust screen temperature – a barrier popular Mac app Flux ran into last year when it tried to encourage users to sideload its iOS app onto their devices after it wasn’t allowed on the App Store. However, Apple shut that workaround too.
The news that FlexBright has succeeded in getting its app onto the store will no doubt irk Flux, which wrote an open letter to Apple back in January saying it was willing to work with Apple to get its app on the store after it was revealed that Apple itself would include a Night Shift Mode in the forthcoming iOS 9.3.
This new feature would allow a user’s device to control it’s screen temperature. The intention would be for the screen’s blue light to be reduced in favor of yellower tones. Studies have suggested that too much blue light from device screens might be disrupting our sleep.
In response, Flux said Apple should allow third-party developers access to the features behind Night Shift mode.
Back to FlexBright, the app’s blue light filter was most likely allowed because it doesn’t make use of private functions on Apple’s iOS. Based on the sideloaded Flux app, Apple didn’t like the app having such a deep integration with iOS’ functions. However, the FlexBright feature acts more like a monitoring tool, push notifying users if they’ve been staring at their device for too long, and guiding them on when to manually change the screen.
While Apple may still remove the app – they’ve mistakenly approved apps before – it’s just as likely it will remain due to the differences highlighted above.
If you want to give FlexBright a try, it can be downloaded on the App Store. The app is available for both iPhone and iPad.