Apple reverses course: calculator widgets now allowed in App Store

Good news, iOS users: you can still access a calculator widget from Notification Center.

The company on Thursday reversed a decision that would require PCalc — a calculator app featured by Apple in its “Great Apps for iOS 8” section of the App Store — to remove its Notification Center widget.

News of the reversal was first reported by TechCrunch and later confirmed by developer James Thomson:

PCalc is a robust scientific calculator app with tons of features. With iOS 8, the app adds a new Notification Center widget that allows the user to access a basic calculator without launching the app.

It’s a great feature and is similar to the official calculator widget Apple has built-into OS X Yosemite. The widget is so great, I even gave it a mention in our iOS 8 review.

The problem, it seems, was that Apple’s review team hadn’t anticipated a calculator as a type of iOS 8 widget. As a result, apparently, the validity of that type of use case needed to be investigated.

An Apple spokesperson confirmed toMashable that calculator widgets will be allowed in the App Store review guidelines going forward.An Apple spokesperson confirmed to Mashable that calculator widgets will be allowed in the App Store review guidelines going forward. 

Doing the right thing

As I wrote yesterday, app rejection notices aren’t a new phenomenon. Most app rejections are for a valid reason.

It’s the relative few borderline cases that get press and developer attention — sometimes for seemingly capricious reasons.

That’s partially a function of any system with a gatekeeper, but it’s exacerbated by the opaque nature of the App Store guidelines. Moreover, the rationale given to developers by members of the review team is often unclear.

Fortunately, in the case of PCalc, the right decision was made — and a widely useful app will remain just useful.

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