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Clear to-do app going free as developer attempts to reverse controversy (update)

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In a drastic move aimed to roll back the clock on what the developer says was a "huge mistake," Realmac Software is making its popular, minimalist to-do list app Clear free for the first time. The app will also be updated with full iPad support; Realmac released a universal iPhone and iPad app called Clear+ last year, pulling the original version from the App Store. While the company later restored the iPhone-only app, it now says that their concurrent existence is causing customer confusion, and plans to move all Clear+ customers back to Clear.

To do this, Realmac will make Clear free for two 24-hour periods in the coming weeks, since Apple doesn't provide a way to move users between apps. The episode highlights how the App Store's restrictions can cause headaches for developers in multiple ways — Clear+ existed in the first place because there is no way to offer upgrade pricing to existing users, meaning developers often have to choose between updating their software for free or charging everyone the same price for a new version of an app.

"We know this is risky."

With this latest move, Realmac is sacrificing potential sales in order to ensure its users are on the same page. "We know this is risky — we rely on the income from Clear to run our small, independent company," says founder Dan Counsell. "Whilst this was by no means an easy decision for us to make, we simply want to do the right thing for you, our customers."

If you already own Clear, you're set: your version of the app is what Realmac will continue to support in the future, including updates for iPad compatibility and reminders functionality. If you don't have the original Clear, you can sign up to be notified when it goes free.

Update: Clear for iOS is, as of the morning of February 27th, free for the next 24 hours. Realmac hasn't made clear which date it has chosen for the second period of time in which Clear will be free, but it should be in the coming weeks.