Sandboxing deadline arrives: What it means for Apple, developers, and you

By Lex Friedman, Macworld |  Software, Apple, Mac App Store

Depending upon whom you ask, Friday, June 1 is the best or worst thing to come to the Mac App Store since it opened its doors in 2011. As of now, new and significantly updated apps submitted to Apple's Mac App Store must implement sandboxing.

As a quick review: Sandboxing refers to compartmentalizing what data and features a specific app is granted access to; apps each can metaphorically play exclusively in their own sandbox, accessing only that data which Apple has granted that app entitlements to see.

Originally, Apple told Mac App Store developers that their apps would need to implement sandboxing by November 2011. In November, that deadline was extended to March 2012; in February, Apple extended that deadline again until June 1. And as iCal will tell you, that day has come; we've finally entered the sandboxed era.

The plus side of sandboxing is that it means, in theory, that your apps will become safer and more trustworthy: Your Mac prevents them from accessing files they shouldn't access. But that security comes with a price, at least in some cases. Some developers say that sandboxing will force them to remove features from their apps--or, in some cases, to pull them from the Mac App Store entirely. For example, the sandbox generally prohibits actions like simulating key presses (like a typing expander tool might perform) or accessing root-level privileges (like executing certain command line scripts).

Apple's view

It's easy to see why the sandboxing requirement makes sense from Apple's perspective: For one thing, it's worked great on the iOS App Store. From day one, apps for the iPhone (and later iPad) were sharply limited as to what features and data they could access on those devices, and the result has been an impressive track record for iOS security.


Originally published on Macworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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