Apple may be removing iDOS 2, a popular (or at least popular for a DOS emulator designed to run decades-old software and games) emulation app that allows users to run DOS games and software on Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices.
According to the developer Chaoji Li, Apple has released the pending removal notice following a recently filed bug fix update. Although iDOS 2 has been available on the App Store since 2014, it seems that the company has changed its mind with the most recent update.
According to the letter Li received:
During re-evaluation, we determined that your app does not meet the App Store’s review guidelines. Specifically, we’ve determined that your app violates the following:
Guideline 2.5.2 — Performance — Software Requirements
During the review, your app installed or launched executable code, which is not allowed in the App Store.
Specifically, your app runs iDOS package and image files, and supports iTunes file sharing and game import files. Running code may introduce or change features or functionality of the app and allow downloading of unlicensed content.
Li was previously forced to go without an update to iDOS 2 for four years due to Apple’s restrictions on game file bundling, but he could update the app in September 2020 with changes allowing iDOS 2 to use the iOS document sharing feature to let users import their own files. An earlier version of the app, iDOS, was briefly available in the App Store in 2010, but was drawn by Apple shortly after it was released.
Since that September update, Li was also able to submit a dozen other updates to his app, each without any issues. Li claims to have been very candid with Apple’s reviewers during each update submission, noting that while the app executes remote code, it does so in a sandbox environment (meaning there’s no security risk that user data could be compromised on the rest. of the operating system).
For whatever reason, Apple seems to have changed its mind about enforcing this section of the App Store rules. It’s not clear what exactly has changed here, though Li speculates that a recent surge in popularity (aided by tweets from Fast company tech editor Harry McCracken and a guide of How-To Geek showing how the app can be used to run Windows 3.1 on an iPad) may have caused Apple’s change of heart.
Apple has given Li 14 days to update its app to remove the ability to run executable code – rendering it completely unusable. Li has already said he has no plans to make that change, explaining that doing so would “be a betrayal to all users who bought this app specifically for those features.”
For now, iDOS 2 is still available on the App Store for $4.99, but if Apple keeps its word, it probably won’t be available to buy for much longer.