Quick thought on sandboxing

Many people dislike Apple’s tight control over the hardware software integration because there’s very little work around in most cases. Many people make a somewhat legitimate case that software should be allowed to tweak as per individual choices, like placing an App icon at the bottom of blank screen of an iOS device. But what Apple choses to do is to think that they’re the ones creating platform and hence it should be in the best interest of the people who build it (Apple themselves), developers and consumers alike. Therefore, there is app sandboxing in Apple’s operating systems. In simple terms, sandboxing guidelines set the extent to which inter-app communication is allowed in iOS App Store and Mac App Store (let’s ignore tvOS and watchOS for the time being). These guidelines are way stringent when compared to Android or any other platform.
I am thinking about sandboxing because, today I played with an Android phone that belongs to one of my colleagues who has a One Plus X. Even though I do not fully immerse myself into Google’s ecosystem, I like the reliability of Google services. I call them the best software company for masses. About eight months ago, Google launched Google Photos, to backup ‘every picture’ onto cloud storage without any upper cap on space with a quality limit of 16 megapixels. That sounds like a good idea, but my colleague had turned it off intentionally. Reason? It uploads every photo onto cloud, including images from Whatsapp or any other app in his phone. Then I spoke to another colleague of mine who told technical details – because there’s no sandboxing, all photos and videos from any app that is capable of handling media, come and sit in ‘Gallery’. Naturally, Google Photos is designed to back up the Gallery.

Quick comparison of the same on iOS. Whatsapp media can be set to download to Photos or can be turned off to stay only inside Whatsapp application. So even if a user turns off automatic media saving to Photos app on iOS one can still selectively save a few to Photos.app. And then Google Photos, it can continue to back-up the gallery, with unlimited un-throttled storage. Therefore, in Android, either users have to manage Google photos all the time to keep it clean or simply refuse to hit auto back-up (I hope Android has gotten better at background task handling since my last rant). As much as I hate to see apps going out of Mac App Store, I am also happy for ‘normal users’ who do not have to do something like this.