A free app called Amphetamine, which helps keep your Mac awake, was almost removed from the Mac App Store. The reasons why are dubious because the app has been on the Mac App Store since 2014, and has absolutely nothing to do with drugs. In my opinion, Apple didn’t look very carefully at the Amphetamine app before removing it.
William Gustafson, the creator of the Amphetamine app, posted on GitHub some details about what happened. He was contacted by a representative from Apple who told him that the Amphetamine app would be removed from the Mac App Store on January 12, 2021, if changes to the app were not made.
According to William Gustafson, Apple stated that the Amphetamine app violated the following guideline: “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 by licensed pharmacies) isn’t allowed.”
Apple further specified: “Your app appears to promote inappropriate use of controlled substances. Specifically, your app name and icon include references to controlled substances, pills.”
In the GitHub post, William Gustafson wrote: “’Amphetamine’ is the brand name and identity of one of the apps that I have developed. Amphetamine is widely considered the go-to app for keeping your Mac awake. This is evidenced by its consistent ranking in the Mac App Store, as well as its inclusion in various major-player tech sites “best of…” Mac apps list…”
Apple eventually responded to William Gustafson’s appeal, and 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”. As such, the app will remain in the Mac App Store.
To me, it sounds like someone who works for the Mac App Store made a big mistake. It is very clear that the Amphetamine app has absolutely nothing to do with drugs. I cannot help but wonder if the person who flagged the app because it appeared to be focusing on drugs feels a bit silly now for failing to take a close look at the Amphetamine app.