App Store Review Guidelines
Short intro in the App Store review guidelines
Yes, Apple will review your app and take a real close look at your app. Yes, it is true, your app can be rejected.
In many ways, an app from AppMachine will keep you from doing the wrong things. There are a lot of requirements in Apple's Guidelines that are automatically filled in by AppMachine. So you can't go wrong there. But there are still things that you, as an app maker, can do wrong. So be prepared and read the following, because it can save you annoyances. Below is a long list of things that Apple thinks are important to make sure the apps in their app store are informative, useful and a useful for a larger group of users. Scroll through them, you will probably agree with Apple on these guidelines, it's all about being nice, decent and honest. Who doesn't want that?
As a Developer, you can access these Guidelines directly in App Store Connect. As Apple emphasizes, this is a 'living document'. So for the latest version of the Guidelines, check out the original in iTunes Connect.
Here are some basics that you have to keep in mind:
- Use your common sense. Yes, there can be sex in an app, but Apple wants to protect kids that install apps, so you know there are limits (so no porn). No, don't try to cheat the system (quote: "for example, by trying to trick the review process, steal data from users, copy another developer's work, or manipulate the ratings"). Your apps can be removed from the store and you can even be expelled from the developer program.
- Your app should add something to the App Store. Don't try to be a copycat, your app will be rejected.
- Apple has standards of aesthetics - if your app doesn't live up to these standards, it will be rejected. So your app has to look good.
On to the functionality of the app. What can it do and what isn't allowed?
- First, you must be honest about what your app can do; quote: "Apps that do not perform as advertised by the developer will be rejected."
- Then, the app must be complete: "Apps that are "beta", "demo", "trial", or "test" versions will be rejected."
- As mentioned before, your app should add something to the Store. Don't submit something that's already there: "particularly if there are many of them, such as fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra Apps."
- Your app must be useful: "Apps that [..] are simply web sites bundled as Apps, or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected."
- Your app should be intended for a bigger set of users. An app can be rejected because it is "only intended for a very limited, or niche, set of users - the App Store is not the correct forum for personal apps, portfolio and photo galleries. (..) The App Store was designed for a broad consumer market so apps that appeal to only a small portion of that market affect the overall App Store experience for the broader market. However, your app is appropriate for only a select, or niche, group of users. While it may be useful or provide value to that group, it is too specific to be appropriate for the App Store."
- Your app can't be just for marketing purposes: "Apps that are primarily marketing materials or advertisements will be rejected."
- Apps can't encourage unhealthy lifestyles: "Apps that encourage excessive consumption of alcohol or illegal substances, or encourage minors to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes, will be rejected."
- Don't spam: "Developers "spamming" the App Store with many versions of similar Apps will be removed from the iOS Developer Program."
- Don't make an app around one movie, song, or book: "Apps that are simply a song or movie should be submitted to the iTunes store. Apps that are simply a book should be submitted to the iBookstore."
- Don't mention other apps: "Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected."
- Don't mention another mobile platform in the app like the name "Google Play Store" or "Android", or in information regarding the app.
- Your app should be complete, and so should be the metadata: "Apps with placeholder text will be rejected."
- The description of the app should be relevant: "Apps with descriptions not relevant to the application content and functionality will be rejected."
- App icons and screenshots should adhere to the 4+ age rating.
- Upload screenshots made from an iphone device, not from a Android phone.
- Category and Genre selections should be appropriate for the App content.
- Ratings and keywords should be appropriate.
- Don't try to cheat the system, like the user reviews or the chart ranking. You can be removed from the iOS Developer Program.
Don't abuse Push Notifications; "Apps that use Push Notifications to send unsolicited messages, or for the purpose of phishing or spamming will be rejected."
- Be sure you spell Apple product names in your app correctly ('iPhone' instead of 'Iphone', 'iTunes' instead of 'iTunz'). Your app will otherwise be rejected.
The interface of your app should be "very good": "If your user interface is complex or less than very good, it may be rejected."
You can not sell any digital products from within your app. The app can not even link to a website for purchases or subscriptions. Apps with a, quote: " "buy" button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected."
- Apps may not scrape information from Apple sites "(for example from apple.com, iTunes Store, App Store, iTunes Connect, Apple Developer Programs, etc).".
- An app should have it's own functionality and information: "Apps that are simply web clippings, content aggregators, or a collection of links, may be rejected."
- Be polite: "Any App that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harms way will be rejected."
- Unless its your profession to comment society: "Professional political satirists and humorists are exempt from the ban on offensive or mean-spirited commentary."
- Be careful with violence: "Apps portraying realistic images of people or animals being killed or maimed, shot, stabbed, tortured or injured will be rejected."
- "Apps that depict violence or abuse of children will be rejected"
- Be nice: "Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected"
- "Apps that are primarily designed to upset or disgust users will be rejected.
- Apps can not contain pornographic material, as is defined by Webster's Dictionary: "explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings".
- Users should refrain from pornographic material too: "Apps that contain user generated content that is frequently pornographic (ex "Chat Roulette" Apps) will be rejected."
- Be nice about religions too: "Apps containing references or commentary about a religious, cultural or ethnic group that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited or likely to expose the targeted group to harm or violence will be rejected."
- Religious text should be accurate and not misleading, and commentary "should be educational or informative rather than inflammatory."
- It might be obvious, but your app should stick to the law: "It is the developer's obligation to understand and conform to all local laws."
- Your app should not pretend to be what it is not: "Apps that contain false, fraudulent or misleading representations or use names or icons similar to other Apps will be rejected."
- Apps should not incite illegal behaviour: "Apps that solicit, promote, or encourage criminal or clearly reckless behavior will be rejected, Apps that enable illegal file sharing will be rejected, Apps that are designed for use as illegal gambling aids, including card counters, will be rejected"
So yes, it's a long list, but they all make sense. It's important for you to make sure you are compliant to these guidelines. It would be a shame if you spend a lot of time in building your app to have Apple reject your app because one of these rules.