App re-downloads restricted in iPhone OS 3.0? | iLounge News


App re-downloads restricted in iPhone OS 3.0?


The ability of users to re-download previously purchased apps over-the-air may be restricted in iPhone OS 3.0, according to a new report. Currently, users may purchase and then re-download applications an infinite number of times across multiple devices. Mac Rumors has posted a screenshot showing a new iPhone OS dialog box which informs the user that they’ve already purchased the item, and that they can download the app for free on their computer via iTunes, or can tap Buy to purchase the item again. The article points out that the restriction may be aimed at preventing the illegal sharing of applications across devices; it may, however, be designed to decrease the amount of cellular network data demand attributable to unlimited multiple re-downloads.

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This is really rather lame.  One of the nice things about being able to download apps directly to the iPhone/Touch is the fact that it currently doesn’t require you to walk around with every app you’ve ever purchased on your device.  I don’t often need one of the several “where did I park?” apps, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have one on my iPhone all the time.  When I find myself in a position where I do need such an app, however, it’s nice to be able to just go to the App Store and re-download the app that I’ve already purchased.

Furthermore, I don’t see how downloading apps could create that much data demand.  Most of them are very small, and certainly couldn’t eat up the amount of data that the YouTube app alone does.

Posted by Andy S. on June 1, 2009 at 1:38 PM (CDT)


I think that it is clear that data usage is not the problem here, because they have had a data cap since the beginning (at 10MB, iirc). This is more likely a response to devs complaining about piracy (I cannot say that I blame them). One more strike against user-friendliness for the sake of preventing piracy.

Posted by jiji on June 1, 2009 at 2:01 PM (CDT)


Hmmmm…the article states “users may purchase and then re-download applications an infinite number of times across multiple devices”.  It then states “The article points out that the restriction may be aimed at preventing the illegal sharing of applications across devices”

So which is it?  I’ve never really fully read any of the license agreements, but I’m confused…my wife and I both have iPhones.  We use the same iTunes account specifically so we can share applications we purchased.  I had assumed, apparently incorrectly, that if this weren’t allowed we wouldn’t be able to do it so easily.  Am I incorrect?  If I purchase an app for one phone, do I also need to purchase it for the other?  Can we get some actual confirmation from someone at Apple?

Posted by Spoonman on June 1, 2009 at 2:46 PM (CDT)


I don’t think the article is correct in stating that applications be downloaded an infinite number of times across multiple devices. I have never seen a software license that allows you to install a piece of software you have purchased and install it on multiple computers legally. Legally, if you buy a piece of software, you have to re-purchase the software for every other computer you are going to install it on. Microsoft tries to stop this by forcing you to activate the software with a number based on the hardware you have. And significant changes to your hardware will require a new activation ... that is why they allow a few in the case of upgrades.

Even DRM music you buy from iTunes is limited in the number of computer you can play it on. The term “infinite on multiple devices” is incorrect.

This move is most likely to curb piracy. Although, I think they should use a software activation policy similar to the way Microsoft does it based on the IMEI number of the phone or something.

Posted by Christopher Cox on June 1, 2009 at 3:27 PM (CDT)


This is disappointing.
I’m fairly sure that neither Apple nor developers are hurting badly from piracy; last time I checked the App store was doing pretty well.
I’m fine with anti-piracy measures in reaction to real problems; however, companies need to realize that not many pirates are going to say “Oh, alright, I’ll just buy the app then,” while there may be a fair number of people who are dissuaded from buying apps, and there are always the anti-DRM militants that boycott stuff after these sorts of events.
This really doesn’t affect me much, I’ve hardly used the feature, but I feel this is a bad move for Apple.

Posted by Henry on June 2, 2009 at 1:05 AM (CDT)


This doesn’t make a lot of sense for the user.  Really, I have 3 Apple products from different gens and for different purposes.  The one thing they all share is music so if this restriction isn’t on music, then it probably really is more tied to Devs issues with piracy.  I change Apps more than music, and it sure is nicer to be able to do it wirelessly at home rather than fire up my PC just to access my iTunes.  By the way, not sure Apple understands that they’re actually encouraging people to go back to their PC (read non-Apple) machines so much.  How’s that for helping PC-based makers?

I don’t buy the data cap issue from anyone - ever.  The same people who produce better, faster, higher-capacity equipment also saying “don’t use it because we can’t support it” is hogwash!

If this is about Dev piracy concerns, why are there so many free Apps.  Free apps, by the way, are among the most popular Apps so why would they ever have any restrictions?

Also, there is software that allows use on multiple machines.  Otherwise, it wouldn’t be realistic to expect people to have more than one device just to maintain use and compatibility.

Posted by Darryl on June 2, 2009 at 8:59 AM (CDT)


@Christopher Cox: I don’t disagree that it’s a bit odd that it can happen. I had just assumed that with all of the other lock downs Apple has in place, this would be one of them if they intended it to be so.  I would say it was surprising that they’ve taken this long to implement it, but considering the 3.0 OS has most of the functionality I expected when I bought my phone last year that option’s not available. :)

And, no, I’d absolutely not want them to implement an activation system similar to the current one offered on newer versions of Windows.  DRM does nothing to curb piracy, Vista is still in the top 10 of downloads on the torrent sites, after all.  It just aggravates the people who actually bother to pay for it.

Posted by Spoonman on June 2, 2009 at 1:11 PM (CDT)


Oh, great. I still have an unresolved case with Apple over the fact that my husband’s iTunes account is messed up, and the only solution is to download directly to the phone and never sync. the only reason I let it drop is that I am using another itunes account.

Posted by Gina on June 8, 2009 at 2:44 PM (CDT)


@ Christopher Cox:  There are some software licenses that allow you do install the software on more than one machine, but they usually have restrictions that only one copy can be _run_ at a time.  Sometimes there is also a restriction that the machines be operated by the same user (i.e. the software is licensed to the user rather than the machine.)  I really prefer that type of license, but there are very few companies that use them.

Posted by Grey Bird on June 23, 2009 at 7:51 PM (CDT)

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