Apple kills photo-hiding ‘calculator’ app amid police investigation

“Apple has removed the popular app, Calculator%, from its iOS App Store, just days after officials with the Durham, United Kingdom Police Department issued a warning that parents should be vigilant about apps just like it,” MacTrast reports.

“Calculator% — which was wildly popular among teenagers — appeared as if it were a legitimate, full-featured calculator app for iPhone and iPad,” MacTrast reports. “While it didn’t allow users to actually carry out mathematical calculations, the app was designed to allow hiding of sensitive photos and videos behind a passcode-protected ‘firewall’ that only the user would have had access to.”

“Though it’s no longer available, users who previously downloaded the app would be asked to ‘input a secret code into the calculator,’ which would allegedly open ‘a secret vault of images and video concealed to anyone without access,'” MacTrast reports. “‘Apple appears to have removed imitations as well, such as Calculator App Lock and Piano Pass, which asks users to play a secret tune to unlock their images,’ according to Business Insider.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple makes sharing photos and videos very easy; too easy in some cases, depending on the contents of the photographs and videos.

As we wrote back in August: We’re hoping Apple will just allow us to truly hide and password protect photos and videos right in the Photos app, or even in the camera app (via, for example, a lock/unlock icon in the Camera app where “locked” signifies that you’re currently shooting password-protected photo/video that will not be shared via My Photo Stream and that will be locked in iCloud Photo Library).

New Nude app is a photo vault that uses AI to hide your sensitive photos – October 17, 2017
How to make sure you remove photos from iCloud Photo Library – October 10, 2017
How to hide photos and videos on your iPhone in a locked and private album – August 24, 2017
Second ‘Fappening’ hacker who targeted celebrity Apple accounts sentenced to 9 months in prison – January 26, 2017
36-year-old man to plead guilty to iCloud ‘Fappening’ celebrity nude photo theft – March 15, 2016
‘Fappening’ celebrity nude leak suspect alleged to have hacked 572 iCloud accounts – June 10, 2015
iCloud accounts at risk after hacker releases tool allowing access to any login – January 2, 2015
Jennifer Lawrence calls nude photo hacking a ‘sex crime’ – October 7, 2014
Apple’s iCloud security nightmare gets worse as more nude celebrity pics leak – September 21, 2014
Since the celebrity nude iCloud hacks, one third of Americans have improved their online security – September 8, 2014
Apple denies iCloud breach – September 3, 2014
How easy is it to crack into an Apple iCloud account? We tried to find out – September 3, 2014
Celeb nudes: Comprehensive review of forum posts reveals no mention of ‘Find My iPhone’ brute force technique – September 2, 2014
Apple’s iCloud is secure; weak passwords and gullible users are not – September 2, 2014
Apple: No iCloud breach in celebrity nude photos leak – September 2, 2014
FBI, Apple investigating alleged iCloud hack of celebrity nude, sex photos and videos – September 2, 2014
Celebrity or not, Apple isn’t responsible for your nude photos – September 2, 2014
Apple ‘actively investigating’ Jennifer Lawrence, other nude celebrity photos hack – September 1, 2014


  1. I’m curious to know what provision of the App Store’s terms an app that allows a user to add additional security to pictures or video breaks? Is it wrong to put an additional level of security on your images or video, other than what iOS provides?

    1. It is Apple’s puritan attack on what they ASSUME people are protecting. Porn pics and vids. Because APPLE KNOWS BEST NOW, you freedom loving morons. (Those would be the words out of the sex police working at Apple on the App store)

    2. These apps are marketed to CHILDREN! What part of “It’s a bad idea to encourage kids to hide things from their parents” is hard to understand?

      What kind of photos do you think a kid might want to keep his parents from seeing?

        1. Quote on Google’s latest plan to get everyone using an unencrypted messaging system “Google builds an insecure messaging system controlled by carriers who are in bed with governments everywhere at exactly the time when world publics are more worried about data collection and theft than ever.”

          You joke about it but Google is TRYING TO DO IT.

          But Apple removing an app because the name and icon don’t match the core functionality is the problem ooookaaayyy. You can still get iOS apps that store your photos securely. They have names like photo vault and secret photo vault and keep safe. The names and icons match the core functionality of the app. As they should.

          Meanwhile Google is trying to TAKE AWAY ENCRYPTION ON MESSAGING. You might want to get your priorities in order.

          1. Didn’t Apple just ban an encryption App? Isn’t that the topic of the post?
            And my answer to TxUser was in regard to his support for the ban.

            What I do know, is Android allows me to shop from multiple stores and even side load. It has a built in jailbreak.
            Other than that, I have no reason to defend Google. I don’t do the fan thing.

            1. Apple banned a handful of apps like this that tried to hide or mismatch the name and icon with the core functionality of the app. Similar apps that didn’t violate that rule are still in the app store. Do I have to explain why apps with names and icons that don’t match their core functionality are a bad idea?

              Meanwhile Google is working to take encryption away from messaging completely and you haven’t said a peep. Now’s your chance. Do you condemn Google’s actions or not? Ten bucks says you’ll just deflect again.

      1. If you’re worried about your kids using an app like this, perhaps the kids are not mature enough to have the ability to add their own apps to their iDevices. A better solution, rather than banning apps like these, is to set up a Family group and not allow your kids the ability to add apps on their own. You know, since you can’t trust your kids to not try and hide something, why would you trust them to install any old app?

      2. Get a grip on reality they are popular amoung teenagers, not marketed to children. Huge difference. Teenagers are not children!
        And since when are women in bikinis used for children’s marketing?
        What’s the difference between having a passcode to lock the phone containing the images and having password protected app on the phone? Not much really, highlighting how idiotic and hypocritical this is.

  2. I agree with the MDN take that this should be baked into the Photos/Camera apps. Set a Locked mode to guard against accidental sharing; Unlock when you decide to do so.


  3. This is hypocrisy at its most idiotic. So it’s OK to password protect the phone and refuse law-enforcement agencies access to murderers phones. But it’s not OK to have a password-protected app on the phone to hide private photos.
    OK that makes sense.
    Hey while we’re at it let’s outlaw safes and locks. Who knows what evil deeds we might be hiding!?

    1. with other apps that have names like Photo Vault and Keep Safe and others. What Apple has banned here is a few apps where the name and icon don’t match the core functionality of the app. I shouldn’t have to explain why that’s dangerous (social engineering and malware).

      1. But I should have the right to knowingly install a deceptively named program to prevent others from knowing what I’m doing. I’m a free person and an adult, I do not want Apple as nanny, or at least to be able to get it elsewhere for my iOS device.

        Eff you very much!

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