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Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 10:32 am PT (01:32 pm ET)

iOS 7 Control Center-like Android app draws complaints from Apple, but returns to Google Play

Google recently pulled an app from its Play store due to its reproduction of copyrighted elements of Apple's Control Center, but the app has since returned, again giving Android users a taste of the look and feel of the feature from iOS 7.



Control Center Control Center debuted earlier in July on Google's Play Store, with some Apple fans noting its unabashed similarity to the Control Center function in Apple's iOS 7. The Android app reproduces almost completely the look, feel, and functionality of Apple's forthcoming iOS feature, and even adds the ability to customize which features should be easily accessible.

The Android version of Control Center included the same swipe-up-from-bottom gesture that activates the iOS 7 version. Once activated, the app allowed users to control their Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, display brightness, and ringer volume settings, as well as airplane mode and several others.

Apple has not taken the imitation as flattery, though, and the iPhone maker sent notice to Google that the Android Control Center app did indeed infringe on aspects of Apple's iOS software. Google subsequently pulled the Control Center app from the Play Store, informing the app's developer of the decision via an email, which is reproduced in part below:

Location_of_copyrighted_work: The application “Control Center”, which is available at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.easyandroid.hi.controls, copies, without authorization, the “Control Center” feature of Apple’s iOS 7. Apple owns the copyright in its iOS software and each of the features thereof. The aforementioned application infringes Apple Inc.’s (“Apple”) copyright rights in the iOS 7 software.

Represented_copyright_holder: Apple Inc. (via BGR)


Since the initial version was pulled, though, the developer has posted yet another version that presumably removes whatever Apple said to be the offending material.



The functionality of Control Center, while novel for Apple's platform, is not new within the Android mobile segment. It is, in fact, similar in function to the persistent control menu available on Samsung Galaxy devices running that company's TouchWiz user interface. That feature has users swipe down from the top of the screen, whereupon they can access music, Bluetooth, screen rotation, and other controls. Samsung's version, though, is not accessible in all apps; full-screen games, for instance, do not show the pull-down bar for access. Apple's Control Center, though, appears accessible across all apps with the same swipe-up gesture.

The easy settings access Google introduced with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean also largely anticipates the functionality of Control Center, with quick access to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other settings, as well as music and screen brightness control. That feature, though, also lacks the universal gesture present in Apple's implementation.

Neither the developer's discussion of the copyright notice nor the subsequent reporting on the issue have detailed what exactly Apple found sufficient to issue a takedown notice. The Android app appeared to reproduce virtually every visual aspect of Apple's Control Center, though, so the actual visual presentation of the app may be at the center of the copyright issue, as opposed to any functionality.