View Full Version : The Truth About 17+ Apps With In-App Web Browsers

5th August 2009, 06:05 PM
So, everyone seems to be complaining about the fact that apps with in-built web browsers are being rated 17+, and everyone seems to be talking about it, through forums, podcasts and the media. Even I was shocked to see this, but after thinking it over, it all makes perfect sense.

With 3.0, fine-grained parental controls were introduced, giving parents more control about what their little kiddies' iPod Touches and iPhones can and can't access. One of these switches is Safari:


If the switch is "ON", the user shouldn't have access to the internet at all, so you can't stumble across anything inappropriate.

Here's where 3rd part apps fall short of the line. Some apps, such as Tweetie and news applications have an in-built web browser, which anyone can browse. This is not connected to Safari, so restrictions don't apply. Because of this, apps have to be rated 17+, or there would be an uproar from parents.

In this test, even with Safari turned off, I could still view links through Tweetie:


So, it's all starting to make sense, but how can app developers make sure that their apps don't get rated 17+?

Just this simple line of code:

[[UIApplication sharedApplication] canOpenURL:[NSURL URLWithString:@"http://www.apple.com"]]

This will return YES if you can open the URL (ie. Safari is not disabled in Restrictions), and NO if you can't.

If you use that one line of code, you can stop your app from being rated 17+, and back to where it should be at 4+.

Simple :)

5th August 2009, 06:15 PM
Great to know! Here come the updates... :D

5th August 2009, 06:21 PM
This is quite an interesting discovery… It does make perfect sense though, but somehow… I can still feel one annoying situation where this mightn't work… applications which need to sign onto an external service using a web page (ie. Facebook Connect).

Might be worth some further investigation on my end when I push a subsequent release of EB out…

5th August 2009, 07:09 PM
Unfortunately that's already been tried: PasswordWallet already does that and was rejected until they upped the rating to 17+ (http://db.tidbits.com/article/10436).

5th August 2009, 07:36 PM
Also what about the english dictionary that had to be censored and rated +17 to get on the store.

Daring Fireball: Ninjawords: iPhone Dictionary, Censored by Apple (http://daringfireball.net/2009/08/ninjawords)