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Apple reverses stance about popular Mac app being named after a drug

Amphetamine is a very popular app that prevents your Mac from going to sleep. It has been downloaded nearly 500,000 times from the App Store and sports a rating of 4.8/5. Recently, Apple took issue with the name and asked the developer to rename their app and its icon as it "includes references to controlled substances, pills". If the developer does not comply, their app would be removed for the App Store on January 12, 2021. The move attracted backlash from the app's developer and its users alike, and today, Apple has backpedaled on its initial decision.

Apple had initially stated that Amphetamine violates the following App Store guideline:

1.4.3 Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store. Apps that encourage minors to consume any of these substances will be rejected. Facilitating the sale of marijuana, tobacco, or controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies) isn’t allowed.

The developer of Amphetamine William C. Gustafson argued that the app does not promote drugs in any way, and the drug of that name is actually legally prescribed to adults with narcolepsy and children for ADHD. Gustafson also highlighted examples of other apps actually promoting drugs in the App Store without any concerns raised by Apple. He went on to say that Amphetamine's branding is core to its identity, and the app was even featured by Apple itself a while ago. Gustafson also filed an appeal to Apple, and stated that if the company does not agree, he would rebrand his app and work to raise awareness regarding Apple's actions.

It appears that the Cupertino tech giant has finally been convinced by Gustafson's argument as well the developer's tweet and Save.org petition gaining traction in the past couple of days, as it has decided to reverse its decision.

Gustafson has stated that an Apple representative contacted him and informed him of the company's decision:

On January 2nd, 2021, I received a call from Apple to discuss the results of my appeal. On that call, an Apple representative stated that Apple now recognizes that the word "amphetamine" and the pill icon are being used "metaphorically", and in a "medical sense."

Thank you to all for sharing this story and helping to keep Amphetamine in the App Store.

As such, it seems that Amphetamine will live on in the App Store with its current branding, which also includes a pill icon, as before.

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