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Developers now can use private API for screen capture on iPhone, says Apple

Joachim Bean

As Apple seems to be lightening up and accepting more applications using private APIs (including Ustream and others that stream video from the iPhone 3G), word comes that the review team is now officially allowing the UIGetScreenImage() function to be used in applications distributed in the App Store.

An Apple forum moderator stated in the developer forums:

"After carefully considering the issue, Apple is now allowing applications to use the function UIGetScreenImage() to programmatically capture the current screen contents." The function prototype is as follows:

CGImageRef UIGetScreenImage();
Apple also states "that a future release of iPhone OS may provide a public API equivalent of this functionality." It's also noted that "At such time, all applications using UIGetScreenImage() will be required to adopt the public API."

This function, which is a part of the Core Graphics framework, allows an application access to what's being currently being displayed on the screen. It's useful for things like capturing a screen shot, as our own Erica Sadun's BETAkit does to allow developers to send screen shots to a developer. It also allows streaming video from the iPhone camera, as an application like this captures what's being displayed on the screen from the camera, and records it or sends it somewhere.

What other features devs are hoping to see opened up? There's things like general calendar access, Core Surface, and XMPP and app-settable timers that developers would like to take advantage of in their SDK apps.

I hope this is a sign of what's to come for the iPhone SDK, and that we'll see more things like this opened up soon for App Store distribution.

[via the Apple Developer Forums, dev membership required]

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