In today’s Apple news the company has finally dropped the popular Calculator% app from the App Store. This comes only a few days after the Durham police department warned parents to guard against this type of app.
Teenagers reportedly loved Calculator%, which on the surface was a full-featured and totally legitimate calculator app for iPad and iPhone. The truth is it was not actually designed for calculations of any sort, but rather to allow the user to hide videos and pictures behind a ‘firewall’ which is protected by a password.
Business Insider reported: “The Calculator% app [was] marketed on the App Store with pictures of women in bikinis, hardly disguising its purpose to hide photos that are perhaps intimate in nature.”
Although it was removed, users who have already downloaded the app have to enter a ‘secret code’ which would then grant them access to a ‘secret vault’ of videos and images.
Digital Mind Co. developed similar apps for Android, and they were also removed.
Apple also removed similar apps such as Piano Pass and Calculator App Lock, which required users to play a ‘secret tune’ if they wanted access to their images. Some of these imitations, including Calculator Vault and Calculator+, are still available for Android devices.
Calculator% started making headlines in 2015, when Alabama District Attorney Pamela Casey posted a video on her Facebook page to warn parents about this particular app which subsequently went viral.
More recently, the Durham police department’s investigation led to Apple finally deciding to remove the app. The details of this case remain confidential, but the department did issue a statement in which it said: “The Calculator app is essentially a secret photo album that children can use to hide photos or videos from their parents. The photos are hidden from view behind an icon that looks like a calculator.”