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7 Tips to Follow to Prevent Apple Rejecting Your App

Written by on Monday, September 8th 2014

7 Tips to Follow to Prevent Apple Rejecting Your App
It's now extremely easy to build an app! Since there are now many app builders, online tutorials and lessons to learn how to program, more and more people decide to launch themselves into the adventure of app building, in hopes that their project will become popular and repay them with monetary profits.

While Google has very few requirements you must meet to publish on the Google Play Store, because it reviews your app after it has been published, Apple has a very strict, zero tolerance policy.
The goal of this policy is to protect the end users by not allowing bad quality apps that can be full of bugs or that are not user friendly into the store. But is this goal achieved efficiently?

My job brings me to work with a great variety of apps, with different content, design and user experience. I have sent many apps to Apple to be reviewed and I honestly have to say that I still do not understand the logic behind their decisions.
After all... Whoever has never downloaded a completely useless or horrible app the App Store raise your hand!

What I do see is that many app are rejected because the name of an external platform comes up in a video or article etc... Or they say the content targets an audience that is too small.

How to avoid a rejection

In addition to having zero tolerance, Apple also takes relatively long to review an app, so, to protect yourself and ensure that all runs smoothly, follow these precautions listed below:

1. Get to work well in advance (especially if you have to respect an important deadline) by opening an Apple Developer Acount, this operation can take up to 24 hours if it's a personal account, and even longer if it's for a company.

Both this year and in 2013 we had the pleasure to meet one the most important representatives of Apple at the MWC. When speaking about the how much time it takes them to revise an app, he explained that the app is reviewed by an organic team and you are guaranteed a response within 7 to 20 days.
Lately Apple has managed to decrease the waiting time by quite a bit, you rarely wait over 7 days.

All this to say you mustn't wait till the day you need the app to be published to submit it! If you want to publish it on a specific day you can also send it even one month ahead and choose the option to publish it on a specific date.

2. Read the App Store Review Guidelines  carefully. It may not be the most interesting thing to read, but it's a medicine and therefore, it must be swallowed. You will learn for example that it is strictly forbidden to insert logos or trademarks from Apple or any third parties; that it's forbidden to refer to other people without their authorization and that you may use localization options only if they are strictly necessary to the function of the app, etc.

3. Pay attention to the design and user experience, it is no less important than content. Ask a friend to test your app and let you know what he thinks, how easy it was to browse through it and whatnot. You will immediately find out if your app is intuitive or if it needs some adjustments.

4. Test the Ad Hoc version multiple times, this is an exact copy of the app you will send to the store, it allows you to discover little bugs before apple does.

5. Fill out all the metadata correctly on iTunes Connect; Put the right tags and images, choose the appropriate rating (If your app includes content that is for adults only, such as sex or alcohol, remember to mention this, otherwise it will be rejected), make sure that the URLs work correctly. Everything must be clear and transparent for the final user.

7 Tips to Follow to Prevent Apple Rejecting Your App

6. Make sure to check the right boxes regarding the Advertising Identifier and third party content. If you are a GoodBarber user you will find a detailed online help that will guide you through this process.

When you are presenting your app, you will be asked if your application uses the Advertising Identifier (IDFA) to display ads. If you indicate that you use this device but you do not have any ads in the app or they are not displayed correctly, it will be rejected. When you are testing your iOS app make sure that all the ads function properly.
Also, if you state that your app does not use IDFA when in reality it does, the status "Invalid Binary" will be assigned to your app and it will be rejected.
You will also be asked if your app displayes third party content, this includes even a simple link to a website. We therefore advise you to always answer "Yes" to this question.

7. GoodBarber gives you a list of mandatory and advised steps to complete before submitting your app. I have attached a screenshot below so that even if you are not a GoodBarber user, you can use this guideline as a starting point. 

If you follow all these steps, with 99% probability your app will be accepted... It won't hurt to cross your fingers as well ;)
7 Tips to Follow to Prevent Apple Rejecting Your App

Why does Apple reject?

Most of the apps developed in the early stages of this technology have certainly generated lots of work for the review team in Cupertino. Mabye this is the reason why you can even find this article on their website: Common App Rejections  which contains a list of all the main reasons why apps were rejected in the last week of August 2014, for 14% the rejection was attributed to a lack of information, for 8% it's because of bugs...
7 Tips to Follow to Prevent Apple Rejecting Your App

So, on one hand we have apple who seems to have lost it's patience because of the stream of incoming apps that are not "up to it's level", on the other hand we have people paying the 99$ yearly fee, just to see their app rejected for the smallest, seemingly unimportant details.

Who will give in? Will the parts reach an agreement?... who knows!

Apple is definitely too demanding in many aspects, but this policy allows it to have complete control over the apps in the App Store and it forces developers to do their best when creating an app.

I'm a huge fan of apple products, but still, sometimes when I think about their old motto about breaking the status quo... I have to say I'm a bit disappointed lately.

«Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.»
― Apple Inc.



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