One of the most common pieces of feedback that we receive is “Why does HappyFingers need me to press Send on the iPhone?” and ”Why doesn’t HappyFingers run in the background and send the SMS automatically?”. Originally this is exactly how we hoped HappyFingers would function. Unfortunately it simply cannot work this way and continue to be sold in the App Store.
iOS requires you to Press Send even when HappyFingers is used
iOS and App Store Constraints
Developing an app for the iPhone isn’t the same as developing for other platforms. There are many constraints and restrictions, some related to what is functionally possible and others that concern being able to have the application distributed in the App Store.
Although other platforms also have similar stores and rules, the API’s are generally less restrictive and the possibility exists for users to side-load applications that don’t adhere to store guidelines.
No iOS Application distributed in the App Store can send SMS using the built in sim card without first displaying the “Compose” screen
If you know of a way, or have found another app that does this please contact us!
But…other platforms can do it?!
Applications on the Android platform can request permission to send SMS when they are installed. This allows text messages to be sent without the user intervening. This combined with more generous multitasking support mean Android is a superior platform for sending SMS.
Airdroid and other Android apps can request permission to send SMS without user intervention
It’s also true that the Nokia PC Suite allows for this to happen.
The key to this is that it is not the App that enables this to happen, but whether the platform itself can support the function.
So why is iOS different?
We have to presume that it is for security reasons that applications cannot automatically send texts.
Imagine downloading a piece of malware that instead of stealing your information, or drained your battery, sent an SMS to every contact in your address book.
Although Apple would like to imagine that they can completely screen every application in the App Store for malware, the fact is with such a vast number of apps going through review every day; and a lack of access to their source code some malware will get through. This has been highlighted with applications that farmed contact lists (reference) without any permission from the user. Recent iOS changes have tightened restrictions on contact access.
SMS trojan apps such as RuFraud have the potential to cause havoc for victims; and the security features on iOS reduces this risk.
Various security packages exist already for Android operating systems that include SMS filtering, and Android 4.2 (JellyBean) will scan applications for rogues SMS sending ability.
What about Jailbreaking?
Would this allow the SMS to be sent without intervention? Yes.
Are we going to release a version for jailbroken phones? No, not at this stage.
In an ideal world…
What we would like to be able to do is make a declaration to Apple about our usage of SMS and therefore be able to send automatically; with a user prompt similar to notifications. We would also require other rule changes to multitasking so that we could run in the background.
In the real world…
We currently cannot get around the restriction. The easiest way to use HappyFingers is to ensure you enable push notifications in the settings menu. This means that whenever you try to do something from your PC the phone is notified. If you don’t have a passcode, or have set a passcode delay (which we recommend if you use a passcode), then a simple swipe will unlock the phone, start HappyFingers and commence your desired action. In the case of the SMS you can send it with just two touches. In the case of dialing you can dial with one swipe.
One swipe will display the "Compose Message" screen
This is easily the most common query and criticism about HappyFingers; and understandably so. Unfortunately factors beyond our control prevent us from being able to achieve the desired behavior and we have to work within various limitations to do the best we can. Our aim is provide enhancements when using your iPhone whilst sitting at your desktop. Pasting an address directly from a document on your PC into an SMS with HappyFingers, or typing a long message is still much easier – even if you have to press Send!