Notification Center widgets in Today view

Update: Thompson has verified the policy change.

We learned yesterday from developer James Thompson that Apple had informed him that the calculator widget for his app PCalc, which had already been approved and even featured by the App Store, would have to remove the widget from the app to remain available for sale. The reason Apple gave, according to Thompson’s tweets, is that “widgets on iOS cannot perform any calculations” which his PCalc calculator widget obviously did, but it seems Apple has since reversed that decision, according to iMore and TechCrunch. TC reports that an Apple spokesperson has confirmed that PCalc’s widget can now remain as well as any other similar calculator widgets.

But now we’re hearing that Apple is changing its course. The PCalc app and widget will remain in the App Store, and all calculator-type widgets will be allowed as well, an Apple spokesperson has confirmed to us.

It’s not clear from how high up the Apple rank the original decision to reject Thompson’s PCalc widget came, but Thompson got the impression the decision was made from high up during his experience.

Regardless of where the decision was made, the facts remain that PCalc’s calculator widget was not only already approved, but PCalc is currently featured in the App Store for its widget.

PCalc isn’t the only prominent app to face losing its app widget or risk being pulled from sale. Shortly after iOS 8’s release last month, a rather robust Notification Center widget app called Launcher was pulled from the App Store due to misuse of Notification Center widgets.

Other developers have expressed concern both publicly and privately over what functions can be built for iOS 8’s Notification Center and what Apple will reject. Apple describes widgets under its extension programming guide, but as you can see, its description leaves room for interpretation.

App extensions in the Today view are called widgets. Widgets give users quick access to information that’s important right now. For example, users open the Today view to check current stock prices or weather conditions, see today’s schedule, or perform a quick task such as marking an item as done. Users tend to open the Today view frequently, and they expect the information they’re interested in to be instantly available.

According to Thompson’s recent tweets, he has not personally heard from Apple on the decision reversal.

PCalc (and its Notification Center widget) is available in the App Store for $9.99.

Update: Thompson writes: “Just had a phone call from Apple – decision has been reversed, no changes required to PCalc’s widget. Thanks to everybody for their support!”

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About the Author

Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created