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Unix shell app for iOS threatened with removal, but Apple backtracks on decision

iSH is a Unix shell for iOS. (Image via iSH)
iSH is a Unix shell for iOS. (Image via iSH)
An app that allows iOS users to run a Unix shell on their iDevice was under threat of removal from the App Store. However, Apple apparently reversed its decision, allowing the app to stay up. This could open the door for more scripting and shell apps to hit the App Store in the future.

An iOS app that enables a Unix shell, dubbed “iSH Shell,” a hit with developers and power users soon after late October release. However, the app looked certain to die a quick death thanks to Apple’s App Store rules. But thanks to a seeming turnaround from the Cupertino Colossus, iSH (and other shell apps) will be allowed to stay on the App Store.

The app in question (iSH) allows users to use a Unix shell in iOS. Similar to the Terminal in Linux, iSH allows users to input Unix-specific commands to modify their iDevice. This opens a new world to developers and users, greatly expanding options for how they can use iOS.

However, iSH tweeted on Sunday afternoon that they received a notification from Apple that stated the app would be removed from the App Store on Monday, November 9.

Apple contacted the developers of iSH later that day to apologize and rescind their decision to kill the app. As of press time, iSH is still available on Apple’s official App Store.

The reversal comes as a response to an appeal from the iSH team. The developers cited section 2.5.2 of the App Store’s guidelines. This guideline states that apps must be “self-contained in their bundles and may not read or write data outside the designated container area.” Additionally, apps may not execute code that changes or adds features of the app or other apps.

The developers behind iSH did not elaborate on why iSH does not violate this section of the App Store guidelines or the exact reasons why Apple accepted their appeal. However, iSH insinuated that this decision may help other scripting and shell apps stay on the App Store.

Regardless, this decision is a win for consumers, particularly power users. iSH allows users better control over their iDevice and enables neat features like adding Python and text editors (e.g. Nano or Vim) to iOS.

You can download iSH at the App Store.

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Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Senior Tech Writer - 1172 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2016
I've been a computer geek my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a database administrator. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news and reviews. I've also written for other outlets including UltrabookReview and GeeksWorldWide, focusing on consumer guidance and video gaming. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not writing on electronics or tinkering with a device, I'm either outside with my family, enjoying a decade-old video game, or playing drums or piano.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 11 > Unix shell app for iOS threatened with removal, but Apple backtracks on decision
Sam Medley, 2020-11-10 (Update: 2020-11-10)