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Apple Tightens Up Security on Apps

Features The Wall Street Journal

Apple is again frustrating legions of application developers by replicating its regime for mobile devices in the world of desktop software.

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The company will soon enforce tighter controls over software built for Mac computers by restricting how some apps can access certain parts of the operating system and hardware, such as the camera, network or photo library.

Apple says the rules are necessary for security reasons, as it aims to standardize consumers' experience across all Apple devices. But developers say they may be forced to remove certain features from their apps, and the move could create extra work for Mac owners, who may have to download additional software to access those features.

At issue is Apple's decision to introduce a process known as "sandboxing" for apps sold through its Mac App store, a year-old offering that functions much as the online storefront previously established to market software for the iPhone and iPad. More than 100 million apps have been downloaded from the store, Apple says.

The requirement means that if developers want an app to perform functions like connecting to the internet or syncing data with some other apps they will have to request permission from Apple when they submit their apps. Previously they could access these features, and many others, without company approval.

Apple has only specified some functions, such as accessing the camera or address book, it will permit, and has said it will allow some others on a "temporary" basis -- making developers anxious about whether they can keep certain features in their products.

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