Apple is apparently beating a retreat from its much-scorned 'mission' to cure the 'gay community', according to reports on Wednesday. Apple's ‘gay cure app’, which has been on sale for more than a month is no longer available, though the company has not said if it has finally withdrawn the app in the face of rising protests from the gay community.

Apple waded into controversy after it approved an iPhone app created by Christian group Exodus which has been designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders. The app offered freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus.

Exodus International said it was offering a healing alternative for those with same-sex orientation. Our member ministries provide support for individuals who want to recover from homosexuality, as well as provide support for their family (parents, spouses, children, relatives) and friends, it said.

Exodus International says it is the world's largest worldwide ministry to those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction.

However, there have been vociferous protests from the gay community over Apple's stance that apparently portrays gays as someone to be healed. Others too protested, and asked the tech giant to steer clear of religious propaganda.

The detractors wrote a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, demanding that Apple withdraw the app. Apple doesn't allow racist or anti-Semitic apps in its app store, yet it gives the green light to an app targeting vulnerable LGBT youth with the message that their sexual orientation is a 'sin that will make your heart sick' and a 'counterfeit,' the missive, which was posted on change.org, said.

The app had got a 4+ rating from Apple, signifying that that Apple does not consider the material offensive. But protests swelled, with more than 146,000 people signing a petition asking Apple to withdraw the controversial app. The Guardian reported on Wednesday that the app was no longer available and that Apple was unavailable for comment.