Why you shouldn’t give up if your iOS app was rejected by Apple
Are you developing an iOS app? Or are you responsible for iOS app distribution? Then this post is for you!
Every iOS developer knows that each iOS application should pass a review before it appears in the App Store. Apple reviews every app based on a set of technical, content, and design criterion. And it ensures that apps on the App Store are reliable and perform as expected. If you are looking for the way to trick the review process you can stop reading here.
The most important document you should investigate is the iOS App Review Guideline.
I strongly recommend you to look through the guideline even before you start thinking of the app you want to have in the App Store. Nevertheless, it contains a huge list of what not to do. The main goal is to make Apple store cleaner and better. Sometimes, Apple seems to have a plan to reject a particular amount of applications per month like when the Russian road police fines a particular amount of drivers.
Half of my applications submitted for a review haven’t passed the verification on the first try. And the reasons are very different. Some of them haven’t met Apple requirements but some have corresponded to the guideline but have been rejected due to some other reasons.
Here are three cases from my own experience when my apps were rejected by Apple:
Case #1. Twin apps.
We made an app for events, such as a company conference or the wedding of the Prince of England. The app contained the schedule and informed users about event features. The user had to register before entering the app.
There were a lot of similar iOS applications in the App Store: 1 app for 1 event. All of them were using the same service. It meant that if a user had registered with his e-mail in the first event he couldn’t register the same e-mail in the next one. So we uploaded the first app for a review. Let’s call it «MobileConference July 2013». It passed verification successfully.
A month later we uploaded another event app. Let’s call it «MobileConference August 2013».
In a while the reject came with the reason:
«Hey guys! Thanks for spending time on your iOS application! We have to reject your app. Users can’t use it because it is not possible to pass registration»
And a reviewer attached the screenshot: «This mail has already been taken. Please use another one».
For us it was obvious — the same reviewer was checking both apps. He used his e-mail in the first app and used the same in the second one. He seemed not to be able to believe how his e-mail could have been already taken. We sent our reply to the reviewer and in a day the app became available in the App Store.
Case #2. Let’s clear the misunderstanding!
It was an iOS application for a Time Report system. It allowed a user to log in and fill the time spent on a particular task. The Apple reviewer decided that the application could only be used inside our firm and rejected the app because it had to be distributed through Enterprise license.
«Hey guys! Thanks for spending time on your iOS application! But this one will have go through Enterpise license as in-house application».
We replied them with an explanation that this didn’t work this way and the app could be used by anyone. And it could be used by any firm, not only our own.
In a day the app became available in App Store.
If you upload an iOS application which is part of a service, most likely Apple will ask the questions below. And if you provide them with the first upload it can save your time.
1. How does the user acquire login credentials to your app?
2. Is the service free?
3. If accounts are free is there an option to upgrade to a paid account in any way?
4. Is this an existing service? If yes, where?
5. Is the service on iOS only or multiple platforms? If multiple platforms, which ones?
6. Is the app an indispensable part of the service or does it work without the iOS app?
Case #3. Lucky we are!
It was an iOS app called Work Reporter. A user should do some work and report it in the app. We finished the application and uploaded it to App Store. The reject came:
«Hey guys! Thanks for spending time on your iOS application! The Support URL you provided leads users to the web-page with subscriptions and prices for them. According to the iOS App Review Guideline there shouldn’t be any other way of subscription than In-App Purchase mechanism».
We checked that Support URL and didn’t find any note about subscriptions. We wrote to Apple that we had removed all lines which could point the users to buy a product, though we didn’t do anything actually. And in a day the app became available in App Store.
In Apples developer section you can always officially:
– request an expedited app review. From my experience if you’ve done that, the app should pass review during 3-4 days. When you ask to speed the review up, too often, Apple can decline your request. So use it when you really need it.
– appeal an app rejection.
– get clarification on an app rejection.
– get the status of application.
This link could be useful, too. There you can find all information about the app review.
The main conclusion is that the reviewers are just humans and can make mistakes like anyone else. And I’m sure they will understand your problem and desire if you describe it. If your app has been rejected don’t give up! Tell them why the App Store needs your app. Be nice and clear. Most likely they’ll help you!
Good Luck in the Review process!