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Apple blocks Dropbox-based apps


By Barry Collins

Posted on 2 May 2012 at 08:01

Apple is blocking apps that take advantage of the new Dropbox SDK because they inadvertently allow users to buy extra online storage without Apple taking a cut.

Online storage service Dropbox is commonly used by iOS developers as a way of allowing users to share files created within their apps to other devices.

Apple should reject all web browser apps because they can take you to a page that lets you purchase stuff

However, Dropbox's latest SDK has incurred the wrath of Apple, because users who don't have the Dropbox app installed on their iPhone/iPad are instead pushed to Dropbox's website via the Safari browser. Here, they can click a link to the desktop version of the service, which allows them to buy extra Dropbox storage without Apple taking its usual 30% cut.

Apple is rejecting apps based on the new SDK for contravening its rules on in-app purchases. "We found that your app provides access to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines," one developer was told by Apple. "Specifically, this app contains a link that takes the user to Dropbox via Safari."

The decision has been met with anger - and predictable sarcasm - from developers posting on the Dropbox forums. "Apple should reject all web browser apps because they can take you to a page that lets you purchase stuff," writes one contributor. "Go Apple! Crack down on all commerce!"

Dropbox is working with Apple to resolve the situation, according to a report on CNet.

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User comments

Is anyone surprised?

I mean, really? Apple has a history of doing things like this. They act like a petulant child that wants its own way all the time, and sadly they have the might to make sure it happens.

Just one of a number of reasons I won't buy their products. A shame really, because I'm sure some of them are rather good, and I still envy Apple users of features like iCloud and the seamless interaction of their devices. But there are still far too many things I don't like about the company and the way they do things for me to even consider switching.

By CrimsonAvenger on 2 May 2012

Online shopping blocked next?

I'm amazed that Apple haven't yet blocked all online shopping from Apple devices yet because they don't get a 30% cut...

By skarlock on 2 May 2012

Problem is Apple sees users as THEIR customers

Apple wish to maintain the walled Garden and charge all users for the benefit of a restricted choice set.

By redgar3 on 2 May 2012

Problem is Apple sees users as THEIR customers

Apple wish to maintain the walled Garden and charge all users for the benefit of a restricted choice set.

By redgar3 on 2 May 2012


Do you really think they're NOT working on a way to take the 30% pound of flesh from Amazon, Ebay et al?

By fingerbob69 on 2 May 2012


Does this mean that if I purchase a Dropbox paid-for account via my PC, I can't use it on an iPad?
Theoretical question - I've resisted buying an iPad and am elss inclined to do so every time I read stories like this!

By milliganp on 2 May 2012

Dropbox should Fight

Until software companies get a grip and deal with this sort of tyranny, Apple will continue. In a commercially free wold, nobody is willing to take a shot at standing up and standing out because the free trade world wants to make profit - and Apple have an ecosystem full of those that are happy to part with their cash. Whilst people want to make money, nobody will be willing to stand up and say No. One can always say "you don't have to buy Apple" and all the stuff that comes with that tack, but that is not how the world works. If it did, nobody would buy anything made in China because their conscience would not allow it - but hey, we do because fighting for fairness and equitability is simply too much trouble. It s life with profit!

By Tap_RN on 2 May 2012

Nice inflammatory headline...

..but then "Apple Blocks DropBox-based Apps because New DropBox SDK Contravenes Rule 11.3 of the App Store Review Guidelines" would probably be too long. And truthful.

Seriously, why is this a surprise? 11.3 of the ASRG has been around for quite some time; Amazon re-jigged their Kindle app to get around the issue last year, and I'm sure many others have since. Perhaps instead of chastising Apple for enforcing the ASRG you should be focussing your ire on Dropbox for introducing an SDK that caused the problem??

By petermillard1 on 3 May 2012


The problem is, the SDK calls the Dropbox site, if you don't already have an account and you need to create one.

There is no mention of money at this stage.

You create an account, going through various steps.

Once the account has been created, they mention that if you want more storage, you can buy it.

If the user has Dropbox installed, there is no problem.

To me, this is the logical way of doing things, otherwise they would have to force the user to download yet another app, before they can start using the app they want to use.

As this is not an in-app purchase and the user isn't forced to pay for additional storage, before they can use the app, I think Apple are over reacting.

By big_D on 3 May 2012

Anti Competative, Monopolistic behaviour

When are the appropriate authorities going to pull their collective fingers out and sort Apple out once and for all. Their behavior and business tactics are far worse than other company in history including Microsoft, their objective to openly screw consumers and business partners out of as much money as they can get away with, with complete disregard for law or ethics.
Perhaps it is wishful thinking, perhaps the appropriate authorities are in Apple's pocket!

By j_woolliscroft on 3 May 2012

It is startign to seem like a bottomless question....

How much are Apple users willing to put up with?

Do they need to be 'protected' and 'guided' so much, that they cannot see this for what it is: digital tyrrany?

By traxxion on 3 May 2012

I'll add this to my list of reasons for not buying Apple. I'm often asked why I have no Apple products by friends confused by the technology market.

By DrATty on 3 May 2012


"Perhaps instead of chastising Apple for enforcing the ASRG you should be focussing your ire on Dropbox for introducing an SDK that caused the problem??"

Seriously, so Apple now dictates how people write their SDKs? I'm no code wiz but I'm assuming this SDK can be implemented cross platform and would work fine on android or as a browser extension et el?

Using your logic the 'ire' should be at the app developers for using the SDK in Apple land, or do we all now have to play by Apples rules irrespective of application/SDK/platform/OS etc?

Can't wait to pay a hiked up price for my next piece of over hyped 'magic', paying cartel prices for my content from Samsung (That's how it works in Crapple land right?)

By ITZ_Go_One on 3 May 2012

Never again

I gave my iPod Touch away because in practical terms it did not live up to my reasonable expectations because of brain-dead bluetooth and comatose iTunes etc. I went for Android, even though the apps are less slick.

Dropbox prohibition is classic Apple greed, removing function with no compensation to users or developers. Who wants to invest in a platform where successful apps get deleted? Microsoft never did this! How about some lawyer beginning a class action suit?

I celebrated the day I removed iTunes. I vowed never to buy Apple products again. Goodbye to all the hassle.

Animals and people retain long memories of abuse. Greedy unethical vendors reap customer ire. Fortunately there are other products out there, especially with Windows 8 coming.

In terms of dosh surplus and ethics deficit, Apple is up their with FaceBook. By comparison, Microsoft looks mature and statesmanlike. Apple's Reality Distortion Field has become the Apple Revenue Extortion Field.

By fogtax on 3 May 2012

Robbing you know whats!

This the very reason I will never buy into Apple, how do they get away with it? If Microsoft carried on like this they would have been hauled over the coals! As they have been done many times!

Sooner or later unless they change their ways Apple's world will come crashing down (sooner the better), I'm seeing a lot more bad press about Apple.

I do hope all those businees which sell goods via an Ipad/Iphone etc pay 30% to Apple!

The really sad thing is that MS is starting to copy Apples business model with Windows 8, never know Apple may sue them!

By RonManser on 4 May 2012

Makes me Laugh

I agree with what the majority of people have said here.
I am laughing because Apple products are so overrated! I moved from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy S2 and it was a huge upgrade! Chalk and cheese.

By cooloox on 5 May 2012

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