Several weeks ago, I developed a grocery store dashboard to help members of our community share information on things like the availability of certain high demand grocery store items, whether social distancing measures are being followed, and store crowd levels. You may have even seen the feature on CBS 3 Philly!
I was humbled by all your positive feedback and the requests to expand to other geographic areas. So I started working with a developer friend to turn my amateur, make-shift idea into a legitimate app, which we now call, inLight. We have been working around the clock to expand and improve, and ultimately provide you with a useful tool to help you and your neighbors navigate this new normal as businesses and community services begin to reopen.
A little over three weeks ago, we officially released our grocery store dashboard, inLight, in the Apple app store. We were so excited to be able to provide a native iOS app to the community for reporting convenience.
However, after the initial approval, inLight was flagged as being related to COVID-19 – and Apple has since denied every update we attempted to submit. It seems they are classifying any app having ANYTHING to do with the coronavirus as health data, and as such, require developers to be from recognized health institutions, government organizations, and/or universities. Unfortunately, we do not fall into any of those categories.
I understand their concern and can appreciate the care Apple is taking in preventing the spread of misinformation by limiting the development of apps related to COVID-19, but it also creates a barrier for those of us who are trying to create helpful tools. We have been working tirelessly, and the blanket denial coupled with limited appeal power has been extremely frustrating. We don’t collect any health data at all. inLight aggregates and organizes user-entered (crowd-sourced) information, provided for the benefit of our communities. What’s more, Apple already approved the app once – and it’s still live in the app store. The subsequent updates that were denied were simple bug fixes.
And now, as time has passed, the iOS app has become more outdated. It no longer works with our web-based version, and will not properly update all store information. We are exploring all angles to get our update through the app store, and to you.
We know the need is still there, just as much as ever, so we’ve developed a way to make the web-app more easily accessible. Simply click this link from your mobile device and follow the prompts to add to your home screen 🙂
Thank you so much for all of your continued patience and support!