In the process of putting your app on the app store, you must first go through the app store’s review. Here we combine the relevant data taken from the official website to summarize the reasons for rejection of apps in the past 30 days, from various factors that will cause your app to be rejected, and their respective proportions in the total rejections. Let's take a look at the issues that need to be focused on.
1. Performance: App Completeness
According to App Store regulations, the App must be complete when submitting an application. The App Store will reject incomplete app packages and binary files that may crash or have obvious technical problems.
In the past 30 days, the number of applications rejected due to the element of App completion accounted for 34.83% of the total number of rejected applications, which is the most important reason for rejection.
App completion rules include:
1) The application submitted to App Review (including the app available for reservation) should be the final version of the app, and should contain all necessary metadata and a valid URL;
2) All placeholder text, blank websites and other temporary content should be removed before submission;
3) Before submitting the app, please be sure to test the app’s errors and stability on your device; if your app needs to log in, please provide demo account information (and open your background service);
4) If you provide in-app purchases in the app, please make sure that the reviewers can see the content, and make sure that the content is in a complete and up-to-date state, otherwise, please explain the relevant reasons in the review notes;
5) Don't treat App Review as a software testing service.
2. Performance: Accurate Metadata
Whether accurate metadata is provided or not accounted for 21.80% of the rejection reasons in the past 30 days, which is also one of the very important factors in the rejection reasons. From a customer experience perspective, you need to make sure that customers know what they will get when they download or purchase your app through the metadata of the app.
Optimize metadata such as app description, screenshots, and previews so that relevant information in these parts can accurately reflect the app’s core functional experience. When your application is constantly updated, you need to update the relevant description of your metadata in a timely manner so that users can understand the latest feature experience corresponding to the new version in time.
Regarding the relevant rules and regulations and precautions of App metadata, you can check our related guides as: What About the App Metadata Specification and How It Affect the App Store Review?
3. Legal: Privacy-Data Collection and Storage
Regarding the compliance of data collection and storage processing, privacy policies and the security of user data, these are becoming more and more important in application stores. Apps that were rejected due to this reason in the past 30 days accounted for 10.19% of the total rejections, ranking in the top 3 of all rejected reasons, and it is also one of the very important factors.
The relevant regulations on the security and privacy protection of data collection and storage are as follows:
Confirm that any third parties that share user data with the app (in compliance with these guidelines) (for example, analytics tools, advertising networks, and third-party SDKs, and any parent company, subsidiary, or other related entities that can access user data) will provide privacy with the app The same or equivalent user data protection measures described in the policies and those required by these guidelines.
Explain the data retention/deletion policy and explain how users can withdraw consent and/or request deletion of user data.
2) Permission: If the app collects user data or usage data, the user's consent must be obtained, and the customer must be able to revoke the permission at any time through a simple process.
You need to clearly and completely explain your use of the data in the usage statement. If the app collects data based on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") or similar regulations for legitimate rights and interests without prior consent, it must comply with all the provisions of such laws.
3) Minimization of data: Only request access to data related to the core functions of the app, and only collect and use data required to complete related tasks. Do not request full access to protected resources such as "Photos" or "Contacts."
4) Access authority: App must respect the user's authority settings, and must not manipulate, deceive or force users to agree to unnecessary data access. For example, apps that can post photos to social networks must not require microphone access before allowing users to upload photos.
5) Account login: If the app does not contain important account-based functions, please allow the user to use it without logging in. Apps must not require users to provide personal information for normal use, unless the personal information is directly related to the core functions of the app or when required by law. Retrieving basic profile information, sharing on social networks, or inviting friends to use the app are not considered core app functions.
The app must also include a mechanism for revoking social network credentials and a mechanism for disabling data access between the app and the social network from within the app.
Apps cannot store social network credentials or tokens outside the device, and can only use such credentials or tokens to connect directly to social networks from the app itself during the app's use.
6) If the app developed by the developer attempts to secretly collect user passwords or other user private data, the developer will be removed from the Apple Developer Program.
7) SafariViewController must be used to display information to the user in a prominent position; this controller must not be hidden, nor can it be obscured by other views or layers. In addition, without the user’s knowledge and consent, the app may not privately use the Safari browser ViewController to track the user.
8) Apps that compile personal information cannot be published in the App Store if their source does not have the user's explicit consent or is not directly derived from the user (even if it is a public database).
9) Apps that provide services or require sensitive user information in areas subject to strict supervision (such as banking and financial services, medical care, and air travel) should be submitted by legal entities that provide corresponding services, not by individual developers.
4. Business: Payments-In-App Purchase
The compliance of the operation of in-app purchase items is also a key concern of the app store. Ensure the safety of users' personal funds when using apps downloaded from the store. In the past 30 days of application store application rejection data, the number of applications rejected for this reason accounted for 5.69% of the total rejected applications.
The relevant regulations and rules regarding in-app purchase items are as follows:
1) If you want to unlock paid features or functions in the app (unlocking methods include: subscription, in-game currency, game levels, access to premium content, or unlocking the full version, etc.), you must use in-app purchases.
Do not use your own mechanisms to unlock content or functions, such as license keys, augmented reality tags, QR codes, etc. Do not guide customers to jump out of the App to make purchases through external links in the metadata content.
2) You can provide in-app purchase currency for customers to "reward" digital content providers in the app. However, all points and game currency purchased must not expire.
You must specify the correct purchaseable type, otherwise the app will be rejected.
3) Users can be allowed to give the purchased items to others. However, if a gift is to be refunded, it can only be returned to the original purchaser.
4) Apps that provide a "trophy box" or other random virtual item purchase mechanism must disclose to the customer the probability of obtaining each type of item before the customer purchases.
5) Non-subscription apps can provide a time-based free trial period before providing the full unlock option. The method is to set up a non-consumable IAP item in "Price Level 0" and name it according to the naming convention "XX days trial".
Before starting the trial, you must clearly indicate the length of the trial period, the content or services that can no longer be accessed after the trial period ends, and any subsequent fees that users need to pay to obtain the full functionality.
5. Performance: Software Requirements
For applications that want to be launched into the application store, whether they can be integrated into the entire application store environment, adaptability issues such as code, framework, and interface adaptation will also affect whether your application can be accepted by the application store. According to the statistics of rejected audits in the past 30 days, the number of rejected applications based on software requirements accounted for 5.21% of the total rejected, which is also one of the influencing factors that cannot be ignored.
The details of the software requirements are as follows:
1) Make sure that your App can only use public APIs and must run on the currently released OS. When the operating system of Apple or Google is updated, you must update your app in time to ensure that the function, framework or technology of the application is compatible with the latest operating system.
2) Your App must be completely packaged. You must not read or write data outside the specified container, and you must not download, install, or execute code that introduces or changes app features or functions, including other apps.
3) If the virus, file, computer code or program transmitted by your app will negatively affect the normal operation of the operating system or cause its interruption, then your app will be rejected.
More detailed rules you can read our relevant blog.
6. Design: Spam
Now there are massive resources in the application store, which can meet the various needs of users. Provide visitors with a good experience, ensure that your app contains some exclusive features that are different from those of your peers, and avoid uploading multiple vests in your app. In the judgment of whether it is a duplicate app, there are relatively many reasons for rejection in the past 30 days, because the number of rejected apps accounted for 3.79% of the total rejected.
The rules for determining whether it is a duplicate app involve:
1) Create multiple suit IDs for the same app;
If your app intends to provide different versions for specific locations, sports teams, universities, etc., please consider submitting only one app and using in-app purchases to provide different functions.
2) Avoid continuing to develop in categories that already have a large number of similar apps;
For example, there are already too many apps that simulate hiccup sounds on the App Store, as well as apps such as flashlights and fortune-telling. Unless your app will provide a unique, high-quality experience, it will be difficult to pass a review.
Developers who upload a large number of apps of similar versions will be delisted from the Apple Developer Program.
7. Safety: User Generated Content
For apps that contain user-generated content, there are specific problems that need to be resolved, such as intellectual property infringement, anonymous bullying, etc.
In order to prevent users from being disturbed by useless information and ensure the quality of user experience, apps containing user-generated content or social network services must pay attention to the following details:
Use corresponding methods to filter offensive content to prevent these content from being published in the app;
Develop a mechanism to report offensive content and respond in a timely manner when problems arise;
If users post offensive content, they can be disqualified from using the service;
Publish contact information so that users can contact you.
If the user-generated content or services contained in the app are ultimately mainly used for pornography, Chatroulette (random video chat) experience, objectification of someone in real life (such as "sexy or not" voting), personal threats or bullying , These apps are not suitable to appear in the App Store, and they may be removed without notice. If the user-generated content contained in the app comes from a web-based service, and the content is hidden by default (only displayed when the user opens it through your website), you can display the accidental "NSFW (public place Not suitable)" content.
8. Business: Payments-Subscriptions
No matter which category it belongs to on the App Store, apps can provide auto-renewable in-app purchase subscriptions. When integrating auto-renewable subscriptions within the app, be sure to follow the guidelines below.
1) Permitted use: If you provide an auto-renewable subscription, you must provide customers with continuous value, the subscription period must last at least seven days, and be accessible on all users' devices. Examples of suitable subscriptions include, but are not limited to: new game levels; serialized content; multi-player support; continuous provision of substantially updated apps; access to large collections or continuous updates of media content; software as a service (SAAS); and cloud service support.
Subscriptions can be provided with a single point of service. For example, you can provide subscriptions for the entire movie library, as well as individual movie purchases or rentals.
You can provide a single subscription and include your own different apps and services. Games provided by streaming game service subscription must be downloaded directly from the App Store. The game must avoid repeated payments by subscribers and should not harm the interests of non-subscribers.
The subscription must apply to all user devices that can use the app.
Apps must not force users to rate or comment on the app, download other apps, or perform other similar operations before they can access the app’s functions, content, or use the app.
Like all apps, such service subscriptions should allow users to directly obtain paid-for items without performing additional tasks, such as posting on social media, uploading address books, and checking in a specific number of times within the app.
Subscriptions can include expendable points, gems, or in-game currency. You can also offer subscriptions that include discounts on expendable goods (such as premium memberships that can purchase gem packs at discounted prices).
If you want to change an existing app to a subscription-based business model, you must not detract from the main features that existing users have already paid for. For example, after introducing a subscription model for new customers, customers who have purchased "Full Game Unlock" should be able to continue to access the full version of the game.
Apps that support auto-renewal subscriptions can provide customers with a free trial period by providing relevant information specified in App Store Connect.
Apps that try to deceive users will be removed from the App Store. This includes apps that try to trick users into buying subscriptions through false information or involve "baiting" and fraudulent behaviors. These apps will be removed from the App Store, and you may be removed from the Apple Developer Program. Learn more about subscription free trial period.
Apps that provide automatic renewal of music and video subscriptions, with Apple’s prior approval, can also be included in a predefined package and provided with the cellular network data package provided in the cellular network operator’s app.
2) Upgrade and downgrade: Users should be able to get a seamless upgrade/downgrade experience, and there will be no accidental subscription to multiple different versions of the same content. Please review the best practices for managing subscription upgrade and downgrade options.
3) Subscription information: Before allowing customers to subscribe, you should clearly describe the specific benefits after payment. How many issues are there every month? How big is the cloud storage capacity? Which services can you access specifically? Be sure to clearly communicate the requirements described in the "Apple Developer Program License Agreement" under "Agreements, Taxation and Banking".
9. Legal: Gambling
The management of games, gambling, and lotteries is difficult and is one of the most regulated app categories on the App Store. This feature can only be included after fully verifying the legal requirements of all countries/regions where your app will be released, and it will take longer to prepare for the review process of this feature.
The relevant rules regarding games, gambling and lotteries are as follows:
1) Lucky draws and competitions must be sponsored by the app developer;
2) The official rules of the lottery, competition and lottery must be indicated in the app, and it must be clearly stated that Apple is not a sponsor, nor has it participated in the event in any form;
3) Apps may not purchase points or currency through in-app purchases for use in any kind of real money games; they may not sell lottery tickets or lottery tickets to users; they may not transfer funds within the app;
4) Apps that provide real money games (such as sports betting, poker, casino games, horse racing) or lottery must obtain the necessary licenses and approvals in the regions where the app is used, and can only be released in these regions. It must be provided for free in the Store. It is not allowed to publish illegal gambling aids, including card registers, on the App Store. Lottery apps must have remuneration, odds, and prizes.
10. Design: Sign in with Apple
If the app uses a third-party or social login service (for example, Facebook login, Google login, login via Twitter, login via LinkedIn, login via Amazon or WeChat) to set it up or verify the main user account of this app, then the app "Log in with Apple" must also be provided as an equivalent option. The user's primary account refers to the account established in the app for identification, login, and access to functions and related services.
In the following cases, the "Sign in with Apple" option is not required:
1) Your app only uses the company's own account settings and login system;
2) Your app is an education, enterprise or business app, requiring users to log in with an existing education or enterprise account;
3) Your app uses a government or industry-supported citizenship system or electronic ID card to authenticate users;
4) Your app is a client of a specific third-party service, and users need to log in directly with their email, social media or other third-party accounts to access the content.