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Developers use 3D Touch pressure sensitivity to make real digital scale apps, but Apple rejects it


Yet another developer has tapped into Apple’s new pressure sensitive 3D Touch display technology on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus to create a real digital scale app, but this time Apple has given word that it won’t allow the apps on the App Store.

As demonstrated by another developer earlier this month, devs have realized that Apple’s new pressure sensitive display tech can be used for more than just the 3D Touch features it’s allowing developers to integrate in their apps. In fact, it makes developing a real digital scale app for the iPhone a reality. Up until now, the digital scale apps on the App Store have mostly been for novelty purposes and don’t actually work as a functioning scale.

Ryan McLeod has developed a digital scale app using the iPhone 6s tech, but confirmed that Apple isn’t yet allowing the apps on the App Store. He penned a post about the app and how it works, and explained that Apple ultimately rejected the app even after appeals (via The Verge).

To make a long story short the final answer over the phone was that the concept of a scale app was not appropriate for the App Store… Maybe it’s because the screen could get damaged if people tried dropping heavy weights on their phone..

McLeod gave a look at how the app works in a demo video submitted to Apple along with his app submission:


The developer speculates that Apple’s rejection is likely due to potential damage of the device when users weigh objects on the display, or it could be due to simple misuse of the API (somewhat of a grey area for apps in general). McLeod also notes that digital scales are also sometimes associated with drug use, but with an accuracy between 1–3 grams that likely isn’t a reason for Apple to reject the app.

It’s possible Apple could allow these apps on the App Store in the future, but for now it appears it’s not allowing apps that take advantage of 3D Touch outside of the authorized APIs.

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  1. standardpull - 7 years ago

    I speculate that Apple is rejecting these apps because

    (1) the scales are not accurate and not calibrated, and therefore are deceptive to any user, or,
    (2) Apple knows that people will misuse them, breaking their iPhone with stupid amounts of weight and then demanding Apple replace them

    • ag80911 - 7 years ago

      I vote for #2 – they don’t want a bunch of idiots showing up at the genius bar and then hot shot lawyers claiming Apple approve the app and therefore they are responsible for broken phones.

    • hodar0 - 7 years ago

      And these phones being used by drug dealers to sell their products – thus hurting the Brand.

      • lol get real. Because iPhones are arguably the most popular phones available there is a pretty high chance that “rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists”* already use it, and funny enough these perps don’t do their criminal activity in public, so it makes not one jot of difference to Apple. If they where selling an Apple Gun(tm) then that would be different.

        * copyright Blazing Saddles 1973.

  2. Stoo Sepp - 7 years ago

    I wrote about this a couple of days ago. It seems that due to Apple’s Accessibility and Human Interface Guidelines ““When 3D Touch is available, take advantage of its capabilities. When it is not available, provide alternatives such as by employing touch and hold.” This means that 3D Touch for now provide additional functionality and shouldn’t be relied on for functionality. They probably just don’t want all those folks with non-3D Touch devices to be left behind.
    Give it a couple of years though and I’m sure we’ll get our scales:)
    For more, check out

  3. Alan Camp - 7 years ago

    It’s clear that Apple does not want to have any part in people needing to weigh ‘grams’ of substances on their phones while mobile. Which would include all types of drugs. But I bet an app for the iPad would get approved.

  4. Jake Becker - 7 years ago

    Just imagine the long lines at Apple Stores because someone weighed themselves on their iPhone.

  5. tonywmd23 - 7 years ago

    What I see from this story is that ISN’T THIS CONCLUSIVE PROOF THAT 3D TOUCH SENSES NEARLY ENDLESS LEVELS OF PRESSURE INSTEAD OF WHAT PEOPLE SAY (ONLY 2 LEVELS)? This opens up a brand new possibility for the future applications of this technology! The screen being able to sense an enormous amount of different pressure levels is hands down amazing. Peek and pop only takes advantage of 2 pressure levels, so it’s not even close to all that 3D touch can do.

  6. 98cobra - 7 years ago

    Im with Apple on this one. Credit to the developer for creativity, but seriously….. your several hundreds of dollars smart phone isn’t supposed to have weighted objects placed on top of it. You could easily wreck the screen and its just completely stupid if you ask me.

    • I am sure drug dealers would like such an app. However there is many practical medical applications that could benefit from this. legal applications that is.
      But seriously, my several hundred dollar smart phone is operated and handled by a responsible person. Off the top on my head I wouldn’t imagine anyone with an ounce of common sense would place a heavy item on the phone. I don’t think apple covers broken screens outside of applecare.

      A simple pop up when you start the app stating the limits of say 3 ounces or 100 grams or whatever would probably be enough for the vast majority of phone owners. Unfortuately there seems to be a strong desire in protecting the masses from the very small percentage of idiots making poor ignorant choices.

      • André Hedegaard - 7 years ago

        The amount of people already here in comments complaining about it potentially breaking their phones – are also the ones too stupid to use such an app.
        There is unfortunately no cure for lack of common sense and sadly more of these type of degenerates purchasing iPhones is more than in 2007.

    • The thing is it WOULD be completely stupid to wreck the phone that way, but who exactly does the phone belong to when you’ve bought it?

      This is the whole issue with Apple and some lovers of the tech. I have an iPhone 6. I bought it with my hard earned money. What right has ANYONE – least of all the business who makes the thing – got in telling me what I can and can’t do with it? I’ll tell you -they haven’t. Yet a substantial number of people go on as if they haven’t actually bought the phone, but are actually only borrowing it.

      If folk buy an Android phone, and are daft enough to render it useless because they downloaded dodgy software from an obscure Chinese website, then that is not only their fault but also their CHOICE. But at least they have the choice eh. After all, this isn’t 1984.

  7. So would be really useful for diabetics… esp when combined with a carb calculator.
    Pop an apple or other snack on your phone, and get both mass and carb values.

    Make it happen Apple.

  8. Martin Rosinski - 7 years ago

    At least we don’t have to rely on Apple’s approval for this stuff…

    I spent half an hour and put together this:

  9. Brice Tuttle - 7 years ago

    Hey everyone, thanks for the feedback! You can sign up for updates on Gravity at


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.