Last week, Apple pulled a popular scheduling app called “Calendar 2” from its App Store. The removal happened after the Mac app experienced multiple problems stemming from its incorporated cryptocurrency mining feature.
Calendar 2 apparently mined Monero in the background of its system, and this brought about an excessive burden on all the Apple devices that were using it.
But after a few days of back-and-forth between the developers of Calendar 2 and the Apple App Store, the scheduling platform has now been restored on the app marketplace, this time without the default crypto-mining feature.
Calendar 2’s Cryptocurrency-Mining Feature
The Calendar 2 app was created by an app developer called Qbix. This app was initially offered in two packages, allowing the users to choose from either purchasing it for a fixed price of $17.99 (£12.90) or alternatively going for a monthly subscription that allows access to its complete features list.
Calendar 2 was initially developed as an exclusively enhanced version of the typical calendar app by Apple. However, Qbix introduced a new option to it that would allow users to access its premium features for free, in return, allowing it to mine Monero.
Eventually, several concerns emerged; most predominantly a bug that continued to operate even after the users had opted out.
On Twitter, one user outlined that the Calendar 2 app had consumed 200 percent of his CPU before he eventually detected and disabled it.
Apple Removes the App
As soon as Apple pulled the app from their Mac App Store, Qbix released a follow-up statement. According to the company, the reason for Calendar 2’s withdrawal from the marketplace was because the app had violated the guideline dubbed “2.4.2” of the Mac App Store, which states that all apps should be designed in a manner that is power-efficient and all apps should neither produce excessive heat nor drain the battery rapidly or assert an unnecessary burden on the resources of the device in use.
In the wake of this withdrawal, however, Qbix took an instant action by removing the Monero mining feature and actively collaborating with Apple to restore the app back to the Mac App Store. After its restoration, Calendar 2 is currently offering both pre-existing and new users access to its premium features for free for a period of one year.
According to Qbix, the Calendar 2 app had apparently mined for approximately three days. In those days, the app had amassed Monero worth about $2,000 which Qbix plans to use in enhancing the app’s user experience going forward.
The Crypto-Mining Controversy
The idea of employing unexploited computing resources in the mining of digital currency has not been short of controversies.
Typically, this is because the performance hits that mining places on the devices undermine the advantage of compensating the developers of the software without necessarily using cold cash.
In recent times, companies like Adblock and Cisco have actively fought against hackers secretly performing digital currency mining installations. At the same time, other companies have settled on employing either the mining resources of a computer or cryptocurrency in compensating for in-app content.
It is not until Calendar 2 that Apple’s App Store allowed the introduction of an app featuring a cryptocurrency-unlocking provision. However, the Qbix-developed app, Calendar 2, comprised the exclusive Monero miner “xmr-stak.” This miner was previously deployed by The Pirate Bay in 2017 to unsuspectingly convert their website visitors into cryptocurrency miners.
In contrast, Calendar 2 openly introduced the Monero mining functionality. Qbix exhibited the option in the Preferences Menu but indicated that it was only operational if a user enabled it. To do so, one could either activate it by parting with a one-time fee of $17.99 or enrolling in a monthly charge that unlocked the app’s premium features, including the Monero miner.
Mining programs favor Monero since its hashing algorithm is more CPU-friendly. Unfortunately, as the users of Calendar 2 soon discovered, it can result in a substantial strain on the devices during its mining.
Although Qbix insinuated that their inclusion of a cryptocurrency-mining option might have been a direct violation of the App Store rules, Apple is yet to release a statement on the same.
Nonetheless, users may be delighted to learn that Calendar 2 app has been restored on the (Mac) App Store and with a slight tweak to it too. Aside from the missing cryptocurrency-mining option, it is now affording its users (new and old) unrestricted access to its premium features in a one-year free package.