Hello Unlox, goodbye MacID

It is with heavy heart that I must say goodbye to MacID, and hello to Unlox.

After three years of MacID 1 on the iOS App Store, when it came to submit macID 2, Apple’s App Review team decided that this time around they don’t like the name “MacID”, because it has “Mac” in the name.

Now, this was always a fear when I first launched MacID way back in January 2015, but after three years of them not mentioning it when updating the app, I never expected them to suddenly change course.

I fully appreciate that “Mac” is a trademark of Apple’s which is why I have that on the website. I just wish this had happened in 2015, before MacID made its name and built up lots of SEO and fanbase around it. Being an independent developer is hard enough, so after being lucky enough to have an app as popular as MacID, it makes me really sad (and worried for the future) to have the name taken away from me.

So why did this happen? Why now? Well, firstly, MacID 2 was submitted as a “new” app, so that MacID 1 can continue to exist. MacID 2 requires iOS 11.2 because of a horrible bug in iOS 11.0 that wasn’t fixed until iOS 11.2, so I opted to try and keep both apps around until more people have had an opportunity to upgrade to iOS 11.2 and High Sierra. (Yes, it would also likely help me make some more money, which isn’t totally unfair given how much time I plough into making apps)

I think the main issue is that because it was a new app, Apple’s review team were more rigourous. Things could have changed over three years that made them clamp down on naming. Fine, but the only reason I really have to submit as a new app is because of their engineers pushing out buggy updates in the first place. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I opted for what I thought was a fair option at the time. Would I have to rename MacID if I just over-wrote MacID 1 and ignored everyone that wasn’t on iOS 11.2 or High Sierra? Who knows, but I think I wouldn’t have had to.

So, now is the time to welcome in Unlox. Unlox is MacID 2, I’m just not allowed to call it MacID 2.

So what’s new in Unlox?

There are four main points of focus in Unlox:

  1. The connection: one of the most painful parts of MacID 1 was getting the connection solid. MacID came out when Yosemite was the latest version of macOS, and over the years ended up having multiple workarounds for various Bluetooth bugs. Starting fresh means I can get rid of these awful workarounds, and focus on making the connection work great for the latest version of macOS.
  2. The design: MacID 1 has always been a pretty app but it’s really starting to show its age now, especially alongside iOS 11 and iPhone X. Unlox adopts a more native feel while still staying true to its gradient-full beauty which always gave MacID its unique and recognisable look.
  3. Ease of use: As MacID 1 became more and more popular, it became more and more complicated and difficult to use. The main menu was a bit of a mess and the iOS app started to get unintuitive to use. Unlox starts afresh, restructuring the most useful features into a more refined and simple interface. I’ve had to guess what features to redevelop first because I have no analytics in the app. Because MacID and Unlox have access to your password, your trust and privacy is incredibly important to me, so I have always opted for never having analytics. This is a trade-off for that privacy, so if Unlox doesn’t have a feature you use in MacID, let me know and I’ll add it back in if I can!
  4. Face ID: Along with a redesign and support for the iPhone X screen, I really wanted to make sure that Unlox properly supported Face ID. I’ve been taking special considerations for Face ID support; for example, making sure that if you have Unlox open while your Mac requests your admin password, Face ID doesn’t automatically scan your face and enter your password without you approving it first. Unlike Touch ID, Face ID doesn’t have a confirmation step by default.

Why call it Unlox?

MacID was an amazing name, which was unique in the App Store and had a decent web URL available. To rename MacID, I needed something new that was short, easy to remember while being unique in the App Store and has a URL as good as macid.co. After a lot of looking round, I stumbled on Unlox, which (at the time of writing) yields no results on the App Store and has unlox.it available as a URL.

I agree it’s not as good as MacID, but in my opinion, nothing will be.

The future of Unlox

I want MacID to live on far into the future. If renaming it to Unlox is what it takes then I’ll do that. I re-wrote MacID to make it better and quicker to update in the future, so as long as I can get the new name out then Unlox will continue to do well.

Any help you can provide to help me get the new name of MacID out would be so helpful and I would be incredibly grateful. Independent developers like myself rely heavily on the support from fans and blogs and we are eternally grateful for everything everyone does to help us.

So one last time: goodbye, MacID, old friend. You changed my life.