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I was out trying to find a good system monitor application and decided to give a shot to Monity, which has gotten several good reviews from respectable journals.

What bothers me is that the application that comes from the App Store is only a portion of the software. The software asks for download of a so-called Helper App for free, in order to get additional panel (which would be what I am after essentially).

There is little to no documentation why this helper app is required and the fact the fact that a portion of the software doesn't go through Apple's control doesn't give me any good vibes.

I know that Apple has certain hinders that prevent developers to reach system resources, but in most cases I have seen at least some explanation to what the helper contains by the developer. In this case there is no information on the dev homepage and I didn't get a reply to my email to the developer.

So the question is: What specific controls do apps go before they are on App Store? In other words, why would a dev choose not to deploy his/her program (or parts of it) on the App Store?

  • This site works better with just one question per, well, question. I've removed the second part, feel free to ask it seperately. – nohillside Mar 8 '16 at 15:01
  • @patrix I aware of the general way SE sites work. I just think that the two questions are tied to each other by context and thus make better sense together – posdef Mar 8 '16 at 15:04
  • A question about which general rules are valid for App Store apps is rather different from one asking about how to detect potential misbehaviour in an app. It's easily possible to answer one but not the other, which leaves you in a bind as soon as you want to accept one answer. – nohillside Mar 8 '16 at 15:07
  • @patrix fair enough... – posdef Mar 8 '16 at 15:10
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All applications sold through Mac App Store have to be sandboxed. Being in a sandbox restricts what the application can do quite a lot. For example they can not access files in folders to which you did not grant them access explicitly via the system Open File dialog. The complete sandbox documentation can be found on the Apple Developer pages, but the important thing to note is that it is very restrictive.

Having a system tool that can live in it is near impossible. Also note that Apple itself does "cheat" when it comes to the sandbox rule. For example the XCode is accessible via Mac App Store but it is not sandboxed (because it wouldn't work if it were).

In general though, sandboxing is a good thing. The only way to be really sure if an app is behaving well or not is to see if there were complaints or signs that the developer can not be trusted. Note, however, that before the Mac App Store existed all applications were distributed via other channels and most of the time things went fine.

  • Thanks for the reply. I am aware that restrictions are a pain, but the fact that System Monitor app (itunes.apple.com/us/app/system-monitor/id423368786?mt=12) exists without a helper app implies that it's possible. – posdef Mar 8 '16 at 14:47
  • @posdef it could be grandfathered in, meaning it has the right to do disallowed things but they can only issue bug fixes and not feature updates. – Edward Mar 16 '16 at 7:05

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