Apple doesn’t want developers to turn the iPhone or iPad camera into a button

Astro HQ made news headlines recently when they announced a new feature coming to their Astropad drawing app and their upcoming Luna Display. It was an easy way to incorporate an additional button into their app without sacrificing screen space by using the front facing camera. It appears Apple disagreed with how innovating this idea was.

The “Camera Button”, as Astro HQ referred to it as, was a neat idea. Instead of creating a complicated gesture, or adding an additional button the screen, they used the front facing camera. You just tapped the camera, and a contextual menu would appear. We got to test this feature out in a prerelease version of the Luna Display app.  I found it to be a great way to access settings without having to mar the experience of the second display.

Astro HQ also had plans to bring this feature to their fantastic Astropad drawing application as well.

However, when the submitted the app for review, Apple rejected it. Astro HQ announced the news in a Medium post. Apple cited App Store guideline Section 2.5.9:

Apps that alter or disable the functions of standard switches, such as the Volume Up/Down and Ring/Silent switches, or other native user interface elements or behaviors will be rejected. — App Store Review Guidelines.

While this is no doubt disappointing, Astro HQ is determined to move past their ill-fated Camera Button and continue to push for new innovative features.

We’re committed to pushing the boundaries of software and hardware engineering so that we can create the best productivity tools possible.

I for one am quite disappointed by this. I actually wanted to see other developers start using this in their apps as well.

It isn’t a huge surprise that Apple wasn’t too excited by this idea. They tend to be very rigid with their review guidelines, and this quite clearly tries to skirt the rules. We’ve seen them reject apps for less.

Do you think Apple is being too strict, or is it fair to say this feature went to far? Let us know below.