Shocking: Apple Approves BitTorrent App For App Store

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Apple is known for the stringent guidelines it applies when deciding which software to allow into their App Store – BitTorrent is one of the things on their ban list. However, one developer who carefully avoided the dirty word "torrent" in the submission process, eventually managed to get a BitTorrent-related App approved by Apple.

For those wondering why there are no BitTorrent-related apps in the App Store, it is because Apple notoriously bans all applications that have anything to do with BitTorrent. Apple argues that BitTorrent is often used to infringe copyrights and that such applications are a no-go for the App Store, forcing developers to go to outlets such as Cydia.

“Because this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store,” was Apple’s official explanation to the BitTorrent ban. However, we’ve now learned that those who are creative in the App submission process, can get through.

This week the BitTorrent based “IS Drive” App was approved by Apple and added to the App store. The application allows users of Imageshack’s torrent download service to control and add torrent downloads through a handy interface. In addition, the App shows screenshots of completed video downloads.

Although the audience for IS Drive is limited to premium Imageshack Torrent Drive users who also want to cough up $4.99 for the iPhone App, the approval is noteworthy because Apple has always banned everything related to BitTorrent. We are pretty sure that BitTorrent Inc. would have loved to release a free remote control App for uTorrent as well, but they decided to settle for an iPhone web interface instead.

TorrentFreak spoke to the developer of IS Drive, which was previously available on Cydia under the name “Jack Torrents”, about his victory and the chances that the App is allowed to stay on the App store

“I’m on dangerous ground here, and I know that,” Derek Kepner said. “I’ll probably add a search feature where it’s up to the user to manually add the torrent site they want. The app will not be designed to easily break the law and I hope no one intends to do so. But if a user is determined to break the law, what business is that of mine or Apple’s? They could do the same in Safari anyway, right?”

Kepner wrote the App because he loves Imageshack’s Torrent Drive service, and found himself wanting to queue something up to his Torrent Drive account when he was out of the house. This is exactly what IS Drive is for, and it works seamlessly.

Before submitting it to the App Store, the application already gained an audience at the Cydia store for jailbroken iPhones. However, by using just the right wording and avoiding the evil ‘torrent’ stigma, Kepner got it approved by Apple as well.

“I always had the thought that if I didn’t call the app a “torrent client”, Apple would probably let it through the review process. After all, there is no real torrenting happening on the client side. It’s *not* a torrent client. It’s an ImageShack Drive client,” Kepner told us.

“Plus, I didn’t see any reason for the app to be rejected in Apple’s recently released guidelines. So, I was very careful with this release to not use the dirty word ‘torrent’, and I’ll continue to carefully add new features, so stay tuned.”

IS Drive is now available in the App store for $4.99 for all Imageshack torrenters.


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