Camera+ ‘Volume Snap’ rejected, but not quite!

by Phil Olin

Camera+ ‘Volume Snap’ rejected, but not quite!

by Phil Olin on August 10, 2010

Post image for Camera+ ‘Volume Snap’ rejected, but not quite!

If you are a user of Taptaptap’s Camera+, then pay close attention. Since its release, Taptaptap has been trying to get Apple to allow them to use the volume buttons to snap photos. Their most recent version, 1.3, was shot down because of this.

Unfortunately, Apple decided to reject it. This doesn’t come as a complete surprise since it wasn’t our first time being rejected for that very feature. Their exact reason for the rejection is the following:

“Your application cannot be added to the App Store because it uses iPhone volume buttons in a non-standard way, potentially resulting in user confusion. Changing the behavior of iPhone external hardware buttons is a violation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement. Applications must adhere to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines as outlined in the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement section 3.3.7″


Image from Taptaptap

Now some of you may think that it’s not much of a big deal. It may sound like a small thing, but being able to use your volume buttons as a camera shutter will result in much better photos. No longer will you have to try to stabilize your phone with one hand, and hit the shutter button with the other. Now you would be able to use two hands to hold your phone and hit the shutter with one finger. Thanks to Chris Herbert, Camera+ users can use this, even though Apple hasn’t approved the app.

Safari.app » camplus://enablevolumesnap » enable volume snap in Camera+ » Get taptaptap banished from App Store.

A simple hack in Safari, just type “camplus://enablevolumesnap” in Safari’s address bar on your iPhone (no quotes) will enable the volume buttons to snap the shutter. I know this works in version 1.2.1 of Camera+, not sure about older versions. If you want to disable it, type “camplus://disablevolumesnap” in Safari (again with no quotes).

Before I heard of this, I was unsure about Camera+; I had never used it, and the screen shots in the App Store do it no justice. It truly is an amazing camera app. I’m shocked that we haven’t reviewed it before, so expect a full review of this awesome app soon. In the mean time, there is a very good chance that Camera+ will get pulled from the App Store, since it isn’t following Apple’s guidelines. So if you are on the edge, I’d recommend grabbing it while you have the chance, it is on sale for $1.99.

UPDATE: The app has been pulled from the App Store. We’ll see if it returns anytime soon.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Milind Alvares

While I agree that this is terrific functionality, and a great way to take photos, it reminds me of what Jobs said at his D8 interview. He said that developers try to get sneaky with their apps, and Apple catches them. This is apparently not one of those times. But every time this happens (Apple will find out now), they’re reinforced in their beliefs that they cannot trust their developers to do the right thing, or at least hold up that as an excuse. And it’s a valid excuse, since developers are not allowed to tamper with the volume buttons.

Taptaptap are being very coy about this. Their blog mentions nothing of this, and they’re of the opinion that Apple was justified in rejecting the app. They advice requesting Apple to allow developers to change button functionality. Turns out they were also acting on their own.

   

Khürt Williams

I’m a Camera+ user myself but I agree with Milind. As a developer, I think we are a lazy bunch. If we can hack something to enable some feature or functionality we will. If Apple had allowed this use of the audio buttons with the Camer+ app, other camera app developers would embrace and possibly extend it. I could forsee other app developer using these buttons for camera zoom. Very quickly customers would get used to this functionality and Apple would have a problem. I think Apple was correct to reject the app.

   

shima

The volume snap doesn’t work for me. Does it require a newer iPhone? I’ve got the 2G.

   

Alex

How does this possibly cause user confusion? That’s how you use a normal camera. You press a button on the outside. Many other smartphones use an external button. If you teach the user how to use the button, or give it to them as a second option, how can this be a bad thing? The option to turn it off was even there.
Apple over-restricts and it’s killing innovation. Im glad this hack exists so I can turn it on. I found myself using Snappy, the jailbreak camera app because I could use the volume key to take pictures instead. This sells me on Camera+ easily.
Apple needs to relax. If someone can make an awesome app that doesn’t create a security risk they should let them. Let the app developers worry about usability. Restrict porn, restrict hackers, and restrict apps that don’t work… dont restrict innovation.

   

David Levine

While I can possibly see where Apple is coming from, I think they ultimately need to stop acting as if their users are stupid. I think it would be great if developer’s could utilize the iOS devices in a way that brings better usability to end users. If an application confuses someone, then that’s probably not the best application for them.

   

Rob

I have mixed feelings about this. I enabled it and it works great. But which button do I use? Well both + and – volume trigger the shot. Its a shame the mute switch is a slide. If it was a button, it could be the shutter release then the volume buttons could be zoom controls.

I understand Apple’s point of view and while it seems restrictive, they are kinda right.

I think the compromise is to make it an option giving the user the choice.

   

Phil Olin

I can see why Apple rejected it, but overall user functionality is greatly improved. I’d see absolutely no problem with this, as long as the end user was properly warned when activating it.

   

Tom

Thanks for posting this on your blog… now Apple will completely remove Camera+ from the App store.

   

Dark Horse

I’ve been waiting for something like this.
Purchased the Camera+ app right after reading this, and enabled the volume button shutter. The app and button feature makes the iPhone4 camera more functional for me, almost a replacement for my point and shoot; at least the phone is with me all the time.
Wish Apple would find a way to allow this. I love the functionality.

   

Phil Olin

@Tom, this was all over Twitter, and now TUAW has an article about it. Even if we didn’t do the story, Apple had very high chance of seeing it elsewhere.

   

Luk

Thanks for this information!

Unfortunately this feature seems to stop working after some time. At least on my iPhone 4 that’s the case. I activate volumesnap as mentioned above and it works just fine. When I quit and re-launch the app it still works. Unfortunately, after some time it no longer works. Have not been able to figure out, what’s causing this…
Anyone else experiencing this issue?

   

Richard

I was able to enable it, but know it takes a photo immediately when going into the “Take Photos” mode, which is annoying, to say the least. If I disable volume snap, things go back to normal.

   

Nate Mueller

What apple could do to bypass all the problems is require you to turn off all potentially “confusing” features, like using the volume button for something other than volume, but have the option in the in-app option menu to turn those features on. That way the user has to choose to use that feature. Best of both worlds, apple can say its not confusing and then if the user sees the benefit in turning on that feature they can by their own choice. I can see that button working really well for first person shooters too.

   

Greg

‘Confusion problem’ solved. Apple will use volume button for taking photos in iOs5 since it’s a great idea. Now it won’t confuse users…

   

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