Apple updates developer rules ahead of iOS 8 launch

Cupertino-based technology giant Apple has updated its rules for developers ahead of iOS 8's public launch which is expected next week. An event is scheduled for September 9 where brand-new iPhones on which to tout the vastly improved OS are also expected.

The official App Store Review Guidelines provides developers with guidance on meeting the requirements for iOS 8 applications to prevent Apple's infamous rejections. Below we will include the full list of all the reasons apps could be subject to being refused - but we will first go over some of the important highlights in more detail:

“Apps using the HealthKit framework that store users’ health information in iCloud will be rejected.”

This is perhaps the first change we should focus on considering the iCloud scandal this week which has resulted in the leak of celebrity photos which were intended to remain private.

With iOS 8, Apple is introducing 'HealthKit' which is a system-wide place for users and apps to store and update health information about the owner. This, like photos, can be potentially sensitive. In order to better secure this information, Apple will be rejecting apps which store health information (via HealthKit) in the iCloud.

"Apps that share user data acquired via the HealthKit API with third parties without user consent will be rejected.”

For HealthKit to be the powerful, all-in-one health monitoring solution it aspires to be, specialist apps need to be able to share information between each other through the new app "extensions" feature which works similar to Android.

Once again, due to this being sensitive information, any apps which are found to share user data to third parties - whether on or off device - without consent will be rejected. Runtastic may have to ask its users for permission to sync with MyFitnessPal again, for example.

“Apps that provide diagnoses, treatment advice, or control hardware designed to diagnose or treat medical conditions that do not provide written regulatory approval upon request will be rejected.”

To prevent apps creating misdiagnosis or suggesting potentially dangerous advice when it comes to treatment or fitness training - applications which provide such must be able to supply written regulatory approval upon request.

This allows Apple to skate around the FDA’s regulatory guidelines for mobile health applications.

"Apps using the HealthKit framework must provide a privacy policy or they will be rejected.”

Submitted applications must include a user-facing privacy policy which clearly shows how the user's data will be used and protected.

“Apps must not use data gathered from the HomeKit APIs for advertising or other use-based data mining.”

In a similar respect to apps shouldn't share user data with third parties without user consent, apps must not gather data for advertising or data-mining uses - full stop.

"Apps offering Keyboard extensions may only collect user activity to enhance the functionality of their keyboard extension on the iOS device or they may be rejected."

Starting with iOS 8, Apple is bringing the Android-like ability to support third party keyboards to their own OS. Like their Android counterparts, some of these keyboards will require the collection of user data to get a better understanding of how words are used.

This is acceptable under Apple's new rules, but user data can only be collected for these reasons.

Other new guidelines:

Extensions

Apps hosting extensions must comply with the App Extension Programming Guide.

25.2

Apps hosting extensions must provide some functionality (help screens, additional settings) or they will be rejected.

25.3

Apps hosting extensions that include marketing, advertising, or in-app purchases in their extension view will be rejected.

25.4

Keyboard extensions must provide a method for progressing to the next keyboard.

25.5

Keyboard extensions must remain functional with no network access or they will be rejected.

25.6

Keyboard extensions must provide Number and Decimal keyboard types as described in the App Extension Programming Guide or they will be rejected.

25.7

Apps offering Keyboard extensions must have a primary category of Utilities and a privacy policy or they will be rejected.

25.8

Apps offering Keyboard extensions may only collect user activity to enhance the functionality of their keyboard extension on the iOS device or they may be rejected.

HomeKit

26.1

Apps using the HomeKit framework must have a primary purpose of providing home automation services.

26.2

Apps using the HomeKit framework must indicate this usage in their marketing text and they must provide a privacy policy or they will be rejected.

26.3

Apps must not use data gathered from the HomeKit APIs for advertising or other use-based data mining.

26.4

Apps using data gathered from the HomeKit API for purposes other than improving the user experience or hardware/software performance in providing home automation functionality will be rejected.

HealthKit

27.1

Apps using the HealthKit framework must comply with applicable law for each Territory in which the App is made available, as well as Sections 3.3.28 and 3.39 of the iOS Developer Program License Agreement.

27.2

Apps that write false or inaccurate data into HealthKit will be rejected.

27.3

Apps using the HealthKit framework that store users’ health information in iCloud will be rejected.

27.4

Apps may not use user data gathered from the HealthKit API for advertising or other use-based data mining purposes other than improving health, medical, and fitness management, or for the purpose of medical research.

27.5

Apps that share user data acquired via the HealthKit API with third parties without user consent will be rejected.

27.6

Apps using the HealthKit framework must indicate integration with the Health app in their marketing text and must clearly identify the HealthKit functionality in the app’s user interface.

27.7

Apps using the HealthKit framework must provide a privacy policy or they will be rejected.

27.8

Apps that provide diagnoses, treatment advice, or control hardware designed to diagnose or treat medical conditions that do not provide written regulatory approval upon request will be rejected.

TestFlight

28.1

Apps may only use TestFlight to beta test apps intended for public distribution and must comply with the full App Review Guidelines.

28.2

Apps using TestFlight must be submitted for review whenever a build contains material changes to content or functionality.

28.3

Apps using TestFlight may not be distributed to testers in exchange for compensation of any kind.

Do you agree with Apple's new rules on developing for iOS 8? Let us know in the comments.

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MobileAPPtelligence
5 Sep 2014, 4:24 p.m.

This will definitely let developers put more focus on native apps rather than cross platform apps development. http://www.mobileapptelligence.com/cross-platform-appdevelopment.html
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