Apple may remove it 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 issued a notice of pending deactivation following a recent bug fix update. While iDOS 2 has been available on the App Store since 2014, the company seems to have changed its mind with the latest update.
According to the letter Li received:
Upon re-checking, we found that your app did not meet the guidelines for reviewing the App Store. Specifically, we’ve found that your app violates:
Guideline 2.5.2 – Performance – Software requirements
During the verification process, your app installed or launched executable code that is not allowed in the App Store.
Specifically, your app runs iDOS package and image files, and enables iTunes file sharing and file support for importing games. Executing code can introduce or change features or functionality of the app, and allows content to be downloaded without licensing.
Li had previously been forced to update to iDOS 2 for four years without an update due to Apple’s restrictions on bundling game files, but he was was able to update the app in September 2020 with changes that allowed iDOS 2 to use iOS’s document sharing feature so users can import their own files. An earlier version of the app, iDOS, was briefly available in the App Store in 2010, but was pulled from Apple shortly after its release.
Since that September update, Li has also been able to send a dozen other updates to his app, each with no issues. Li claims to have been very upfront with Apple’s reviewers every time an update is submitted, noting that while the app executes external code, it does so in a sandbox environment (meaning there is no security risk to the user data on the rest of the operating system).
However, for some reason, Apple appears to have changed its mind about enforcing this section of its App Store rules. It’s not clear what exactly has changed here, though Li speculates that a recent surge in popularity (supported by tweets from Fast company Tech Editor Harry McCracken and a Leader of Instructions Geek Ge that shows how the app could be used to run Windows 3.1 on an iPad) could have caused Apple’s change of heart.
Apple gave Li 14 days to update its app to remove the ability to run executable code – which would make it completely useless. Li has previously stated that he has no intention of making this change, stating that it would be “a betrayal of anyone who purchased this app specifically for these features”.
Right now, iDOS 2 is still available for $ 4.99 on the App Store, but if Apple sticks to its word it probably won’t be around for long.