Neato notes extension

Apple is once again going after a Notification Center widget for overstepping its bounds. Neato, a popular note-taking widget with a built-in keyboard and share controls, says the Cupertino firm has threatened to remove the app for violating its App Review Guidelines.

More specifically, the developers behind Neato told Gizmodo that Apple has asked them to remove the keyboard from their widget, or else. The team tried to appeal, but Apple wasn’t going to budge, and gave them two weeks to submit an update to correct their issue.

This isn’t the first instance we’ve heard of Apple going after an app due to its NC widget. It also went after PCalc, a powerful calculator app that added a calculator widget when iOS 8 landed. Apple asked the devs to remove it, though it later recanted and allowed it to stay.

The problem seems to be that the App Extension guidelines are kind of blurry on what a Notification Center widget can and cannot do. Apple says that widgets should have a simple UI and limited interactive items, but it does not specifically forbid the building of productive widgets.

It’s a shame, though, because Apple probably isn’t going to reverse its decision on Neato. Removing the built-in keyboard in its widget will completely cripple the app, which has reached the top 10 business apps list in 65 countries. Grab it while you can, in the App Store for free.


  • ProfSpaceCadet

    I just backed up Neato’s .ipa file on my Mac, just in case I need to downgrade it.

    • yungcinnabun

      Lol one of the few smart people in the world I hated when people were going crazy when they took flappy bird out of the App Store as if no one would ever be able to play it again or it was gonna disappear from their phone

      • ProfSpaceCadet


      • God_Of_4Chan

        Best part about that game tho is you can still download it in the app store…

      • James Cavanaugh

        Not once its removed from Apple’s app store.

      • God_Of_4Chan

        Its been removed… but you can download it from your purchases.

    • Mohammad Ridwan

      back it up to dropbox.


        Back it up to someone else’s computer.

        If you know what I mean.

    • James Cavanaugh

      This still won’t work unless you have a jailbroken iDevice that allows installtion of unsigned IPA’s and it wont be able to be signed after its removed from the app store because apple will ask you to sign into your account and it will say error because its not available any more. Happened with that tethering app back in like 2010 to me.

      • ProfSpaceCadet

        My iPod Touch (5) actually is jailbroken, I have a developer account, and Apple only removes apps from the Purchases section when they are malicious or illegal.

      • ProfSpaceCadet

        It is linked to my account, so I should still be able to use it even if it gets pulled / updated…

    • Arman James

      Send it to me neato is now $1

      • ProfSpaceCadet

        You will not be able to use it unless you have in your purchases. You will get pop-up asking you to enter your iTunes credentials, and if you have not purchased the app it will crash immediately.

  • Alexander Gennadievich

    This widget is so glitchy though, why just not use an app instead.

    • Dani Hayes

      Convenience. The only problem I see people having is typing with it. There is no auto-correct and no use for third-party keyboards. I still think it works fine.

      • ProfSpaceCadet

        That is because it is not an actual keyboard like in the rest of iOS, it is actually a bunch of buttons built into the widget.

    • ProfSpaceCadet

      Why not just use the stock notes app? The point is to be able to make notes *anywhere* and not just from within an app.

      • Alexander Gennadievich

        It would be a good point if the widget actually worked properly, keyboard is small and I’m used to Swype now, Evernote posting crashes, design is dreadful.

      • jay

        Because it’s so good

      • ProfSpaceCadet

        “Good” is an understatement. Especially once the new update (v1.1) is released (hopefully, don’t mess this up, Apple!), I will probably use this widget / app daily.

  • Stefano Polo

    I don’t understand, how does it function without a keyboard? Apple is basically asking them to build a different kind of widget under the same name I guess? Neato is already dead.

    • ProfSpaceCadet


      • But we are hopeful 🙂

    • SoylentGreen

      Thats crony capitalism for you

  • ProfSpaceCadet

    I also don’t get what the point of the app will be once he keyboard is removed. Better have it removed from the App Store and not have to worry about it auto-updating to a much less useful version. (Maybe I should remove iTunesMetaData to prevent it from updating. Opinions?)

    • Don’t worry. We will make the best decision; Be sure.
      You can be notified by following @UseNeato or sending an email to neat at marblzz dot com

      • ProfSpaceCadet


  • To be fair this is a genuine rule that has been broken and not one that’s just been made up because Apple has changed their minds. To my knowledge no widgets are allowed to include a keyboard so the developers of this widget must have surely known that at some point in time they’d be asked to make changes to the app or pull it altogether…

    • Umut Bilgiç

      The app does not use an actual keyboard, it uses bunch of buttons that happen to type too so, technically no keyboard is used

      • Yeah. You are right.

      • ProfSpaceCadet

        Hey, that’s what I said! ; )

  • John

    I like the option of being able to make a quick note without having to open the iPhone, then open notes app, then click new note, and type away. This widget comes in very handy for a quick note.

    Who can we voice our opinion not to remove like pcalc?

    • follow @UseNeato or send an email to neato at marblzz dot com. We will notify you 😉

  • Stefano

    i love that it can evoke a text message 😀

  • Typical iDictator…this will probably be one of the 200 “new” features of iOS 9 or 10.

    • SoylentGreen

      John gruber school of marketing 😉 lol

    • Dan

      seriously, one of the things I hate about Apple

      • [S]unjay

        It’s Dan! 😀

      • Dan


  • gittlopctbi

    Time to make it a tweak. It’s a great thing to have.

    • Umut Bilgiç

      Yep, i wish jailbreak developers took advantage of the root access so that we could enjoy much powerful widgets and/or extensions.

  • Hi.
    Neato team is here.
    Ask us your questions.
    You can follow @UseNeato or send an email to neato at marblzz dot com to be notified about the last news.

    • RarestName

      There are apps which silently activates features when a jailbreak is detected, maybe you guys can look into that?

    • Bruno Cesar

      Yes, I agree with RarestName, certainly a great way to implement features not allowed by Apple, considering other developers have done similar things before.

      • What application works like this?
        It is illegal! An application is disallowed to have hidden feature. I think Apple rejects this kind of applications.

  • Tony Trenkle Jr.

    Apple seriously needs to lighten up. I find it funny that they used to allow this kind of feature in the OS itself with the Twitter and Facebook sheets on ios 6. And now they wont let anyone do this kind of thing? Wtf

  • Once again Apple shooting itself in the foot. Apps like Neato are what make a smartphone a useful tool…

  • Kevin Osborne

    I love my iPhone but seriously sometimes I question Apple’s bullsh!t… I get certain guidelines but if something is clearly POPULAR, and it’s not posing any SECURITY concern, by do they insist on being uptight c0cks about it…? If it wasn’t for jailbreaking, I think the iPhone is a hunk of garbage stock, and it’s crap like this that makes me hate Apple despite living their phone…

    • Матт Реякіпѕ

      Actually all widgets pose a security risk. Think about it, these apps can potentially watch what you type including credit card numbers and everything else. The more freedom Apple gives the developers, the more power the developers have over what you do when you use their app. Ask Android user how many apps/games have so much control over the operating system that it can affect the entire operating system. That’s a reason Android makes up 97% of all mobile malware. It has nothing to do with being most used. Because Android had more malware before it surpassed iOS in number of users.

      • Kevin Osborne

        Anyone that’s foolish enough to type their CC information into that notes app is too foolish that Apple can’t protect them by taking away the feature. Those same people will just go put their information somewhere else just as insecure, or worse.

      • Матт Реякіпѕ

        I don’t think you realize how dangerous apps/games can be the more control the developers have over what their apps can do. An example Android users have been charged upwards of $200,000 because an app with full control was able to make long distance calls. You can’t prevent that unless you know for a fact which app can do what. And while Android gives users some control over what an app/game can do it’s not enough if the app/game has potential to take over the whole operating system.

      • Kevin Osborne

        No… I totally understand that, and I’m not at all saying the iPhone should be completely open the way Android is. I think it should be somewhere in the middle. As it is now, a stock iPhone is years behind where it should be because it’s so limited. QuickReply came 6 YEARS after biteSMS… And at this point, it’ll probably be 7 yearss after biteSMS that Apple finally integrates a QuickCompose feature.
        LockScreen Camera Access: Jailbreak & Android had it first.
        Notification Center / Control Center: Jailbreak & Android had it first.
        Even my very first iPhone (before even the iPhone 3G) I could MMS & record video (with CyCorder, from Saurik, the same developer of Cydia), only because of being jailbroken. Apple definitely goes a bit too far on it’s limitations.

      • Матт Реякіпѕ

        I believe extra freedom should only come if there is no sacrifice in security. Apple gave us extra freedom with iOS 8 over iOS 7 because they found a way to make iOS 8 a little more open without compromising security. And I like that part. It’s great to be secure by default then we can jailbreak to have more freedom. It’s so much better than Android where you’re open by default with no way to become more secure. My point isn’t to diss openness since I’m one of the first to jailbreak which is making it as dangerous as Android. I’m saying Apple needs to keep their operating system as secure as possible for those who don’t know how to protect themselves. If we want more openness, just jailbreak. I love biteSMS and it’s pissing me off that it’s not updated for iOS 8 yet. But in the end I want the choice between security and openness. And I also know 90% of all mobile users, don’t know how to protect themselves.

      • Kevin Osborne

        I agree with that, too, and I understand them keeping it closed and secure. I would never trust my dad on an Android, but he’s had an iPhone for years and has never messed anything up. Things like this, though, a keyboard in the widget, isn’t hurting anyone, and it’s clearly popular. Also, jailbreaking itself is still pretty safe, as long as you stick to trusted repositories. I just wish Apple would go like Windows Phone did and allow users to pay, (and also forfeit customer support beyond them just telling you to “restore to factory”), to gain root access and do whatever they want. It fixes the issues of people using it to pirate, because Apple would still have control over it and could block pirating apps.

        As for biteSMS, don’t hold your breath. The lead developer resigned, so the app is pretty much dead. They “estimated” 8-10 months…

  • Матт Реякіпѕ

    This app is useless in my own opinion. Make a biteSMS style widget that allows you to send texts from the notification screen and then we’re talking useful. But a note taking app? Come on.

  • Brian Brown

    what font is that in the keyboard?

  • Brian Brown

    just downloaded btw 🙂

  • Brian Brown

    They should just reincorporate “speak to text” feature instead of completely removing the app. The text box is what carries the blur height which Apples pissed about.

  • ProfSpaceCadet

    Yay! Nice job guys, keep up the amazing work!

  • Anonymous