Apple and application sandboxing

The biggest revolution for Mac applications is coming soon. Apple is going to force developers to implement sandboxing in their applications, before the end of March 2012. At least for applications available on the Mac App Store.

Sandboxing is a great concept for end-user, as it improves security: a sandboxed application does not have any access to your system, except for some particular and limited tasks. Thus, the application don’t see your filesystem, but only its « sandbox » (also called « container »). iOS already implements this concept, which main limitation is the impossibility for an application to read or write file in another application container.

However, what is good for a mobile phone is not always good for a computer! On Mac OS X, many applications need a wide access to your system, such as our application TrashMe (we’re looking and deleting files in you Library folder, which is forbidden for a sandboxed app). We don’t have any guarantee that our app will be compatible with future Mac App Store rules. Previous deadline was November 2011, but there were too many bugs with sandboxing and Apple decided to define a new deadline.

We’re working hard on improving our applications and testing sandboxing (and a new project is coming soon). We’ll keep you informed.

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