Apple’s top 10 reasons for rejecting apps: Have you hit any of these?

Any iOS developer will tell you that the Apple App Store review process is full of mystery. Luckily, Apple has finally given developers some clues into why their app was not approved. In a post on developers.apple.com, Apple outlined and explained the top 10 reasons why they reject apps from the App Store. Below are all 10, ranked from the most obvious to the strangely vague:

1. Crashes & Bugs

This one makes is easy. An App Store full of buggy apps would reflect badly on the App Store and upset users. Make sure to test thoroughly before submitting your app for review.

2. Broken Links

Another easy one. Any links in your app, including support links, ‘contact-us’ links, and privacy policies, must be up-to-date, completely functional, and direct the user where they are supposed to go.

3. Incomplete Information

If your app requires specific user information in order to function, make sure to include this information in a demo for the App Review.

For example, if your app requires a sign in, create a demo account so the reviewers can access your features. If your app requires the user to configure specific details (like time, date, location, etc…), have the preset on the demo account beforehand. Provide a demo video for any advanced features, and ensure that your contact information is up-to-date.

4. Placeholder Content

Before submitting your app for review, make sure you have added information to all of the required fields. This includes the app title, app description, app icon, and screenshots. For a complete checklist, click here.

5. Repeated Submission of Similar Apps

Take a look at all of your apps. Are they all pretty much the same app with a few different features? Try and figure out a way to combine those apps into one. Apple discourages the submission of multiple, similar apps because it clogs up Apple’s review process.

6. Inaccurate Descriptions

All app descriptions, titles, icons, and screenshots should accurately reflect your app’s user experience, user interface, and functionality. Misleading information will lead Apple to reject your app

7. Web clippings, content aggregators, or link collections

Apple wants its apps to be native to iOS. So, if your app is simply a duplicate of a mobile or desktop website, they will reject your app. Your app should not need to rely solely on the mobile web to work properly.

8. Advertisements

Any advertisements or hosted third-party advertisements must use Apple’s IDFA (Advertising Identifier). If your app does not use advertisements, you do not need to include the IDFA; if you do, you app could be rejected. Similarly, if your app uses ads but does not have the IDFA, it will also be rejected. (FYI, StartApp’s iOS SDK does use and comply with Apple’s IDFA)

9. Substandard User Interface

This one is a bit more subjective as to what a ‘substandard’ user interface is. One can assume that Apple prefers apps that reflect the design standards and guidelines that they set down for developers. You can look over those guidelines here.

10. Misleading Users

This one kind of falls under the “Inaccurate Descriptions” rule. Simply put, don’t advertise your app to be something it is not in order to trick users into downloading your app. The App Review team can sense click-bait (or, download-bait in this case) when they see it.

Not Enough Lasting Value

And here is the vaguest reason Apple gives for rejecting apps. If your app doesn’t offer enough functionality, content, or serves only a niche market, Apple says it may not approve your app. Their advice? Take a look around your app category and see how you can improve upon your competition.

While it’s a step in the right direction for Apple to be giving insight into their review process, a majority of developers still face a lot of uncertainty when finally submitting their app for review. Hopefully this list will give you some insight into how your app will fit into Apple’s vision for the App Store, but in the meantime, good luck!

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