Although the Apple Developer website provides a long and detailed guide for successful App Store submission, there are still many gray areas that result in rejection from the App Store. Rejection from the App Store is a major source of frustration for developers and clients alike, especially since Apple isn’t always very clear about all the reasons for rejection. If there are four or five reasons why an app wasn’t accepted, they usually will only disclose the first red flag that was found in the app. Once this issue is remedied and the app is resubmitted, reason number two will cause rejection again – and so it continues. There is a great deal of supplemental information available on the web that can be used to ensure an application will be accepted, but the main issue is that not all of this information is reliable. Thus, I have compiled an unofficial list of surprising occurrences that can cause rejection. Obviously the best advice is to read the entirety of Apple’s Developer Guidelines and make sure that your app’s functionality or UI doesn’t reside in any of the grey areas, but I recommend that you also avoid all on the following list:
Long load time – App users have a very short attention span when it comes to loading time. Optimize performance as much as possible to ensure a great user experience for your customers and you will also minimize your chance of displeasing the Apple review team.
Content that is created for a limited audience – This is a very broad recommendation, and it may confuse many. Obviously your application is going to have a target audience, but what Apple is more concerned about is making this audience too minute. For example, say you run a small country club and want to create an app that shows the available tea times for your club’s golf course. This application only serves a very small group of people, so it doesn’t add much value to the greater audience of the App Store.
Payments outside of Tunes and 3rd party payment systems – In an effort streamline payments and increase security for their users, Apple is dedicated to keeping all credit card and payment information going through iTunes. If your application uses 3rd party payments or collects payment information to make in-app purchases, it will get rejected.
Vibration – Sustained vibration is annoying, and Apple knows it. For the most part, the only vibrations that are allowed are short, infrequent vibrations associated with notifications.
Mentioning rival platforms – In marketing text on the store and inside the application, avoid mentioning Android, Microsoft or any other Apple competitors.
Apple trademarks are sacred – Refer to Apple’s Guidelines for Using Apple Trademarks and Copyrights for direction on how to correctly use Apple’s trademarks. The most obvious one: don’t use any of Apple’s product names in your app title (ie. iPhone Banking App).
Icon and button styles – Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines provide a very clear basis for UI design in iOS applications. If your buttons and icon styles are too disparate from the Apple standard, rejection in imminent.
Offensive user generated content – Apple is very strict about app ratings and offensive content, unlike Google Play. It is important to make sure that the native content in your app is acceptable according to Apple’s rating system, but equally important to ensure that user generated content is also acceptable. If your app aggregates content from forums or blogs, be careful to avoid shady links and undesirable content.
Minimal functionality – There are almost a million apps out there, and many of them duplicate each other’s functionality and content. Make sure that your app is adding value to the store! Apple will deny your app if it doesn’t have much functionality or doesn’t provide a clear benefit to users.
Contests and giveaways – This one kind of ties into the previous; apps that exist only for a contest or a giveaway will be rejected. Apps are expected to provide long-term value to users and those that are made to be functional for the short duration of a contest are in violation of this rule.
“Beta” or demo apps – Version numbers that indicate an unfinished state (such as 0.9) or app names that contain “beta” or “demo” will be rejected. Apple wants your polished, finished product! Don’t give them the teaser.
Private APIs – Finally, utilizing private API access will warrant rejection from the store.
As I said before, there are many contesting views on what will and will not prompt Apple to reject an app from the App Store. The best advice is to go straight to the source and always review the official literature as much as possible. Do you have any additions to this list? Let us know in the comments below! Have more questions about iOS apps and the App Store Guidelines? Contact our team today.