As you may or may not know, Apple has a very strict set of guidelines when reviewing an iOS app, but don’t worry! Below are some tips and best practices to increase the chances of your app being approved.
If you would like to review Apple’s review guidelines in full (highly recommended) you can find them at the following URL:
To better correspond with Apple’s review guidelines, the items below match the 5 main sections directly from Apple’s guidelines. Again, it is highly recommend that you review their guidelines in full via the URL provided above.
Before You Submit
To help your app approval go as smoothly as possible, review the common missteps listed below that can slow down the review process or trigger a rejection. This doesn’t replace Apple’s guidelines or guarantee approval, but making sure you can check every item on the list is a good start.
When people install an app from the App Store, they want to feel confident that it’s safe to do so—that the app doesn’t contain upsetting or offensive content, won’t damage their device, and isn’t likely to cause physical harm from its use.
People need to know how to reach you with questions and support issues. Make sure your Support URL includes an easy way to reach you. Failure to include accurate and up-to-date contact information not only frustrates customers, but may violate the law in some countries.
Submissions to Apple should be final versions; placeholder text, empty websites, and other temporary content should be removed before you submit your app for publishing. Make sure your app has been tested on-device for stability before you submit it, and include demo account info (and turn on your back-end service!) if your app includes a login. If you offer in-app purchases in your app, make sure they are complete, up-to-date, and visible to the reviewer.
There are many ways to monetize your app on the App Store. If Apple can’t understand how your app works or your in-app purchases aren’t immediately obvious, it will delay your review and may trigger a rejection. And while pricing is up to you, Apple won’t distribute apps and in-app purchase items that are clear rip-offs. Apple will reject expensive apps that try to cheat users with irrationally high prices.
If Apple has found that you have attempted to manipulate reviews, inflate your chart rankings with paid, incentivized, filtered, or fake feedback, or engage with third party services to do so on your behalf, Apple will take steps to preserve the integrity of the App Store, which may include expelling you from the Developer Program.
Apple customers place a high value on products that are simple, refined, innovative, and easy to use. Coming up with a great design is up to you, and remember, that even after your app has been approved, you should update your app regularly to ensure it remains engaging to new and existing customers. Apps that offer a degraded experience may be removed from the App Store at any time.
Make sure your app only includes content that you created or that you have a license to use. Your app may be rejected, or if previously approved, removed from the App Store if you’ve stepped over the line and used content without permission.
While it may be ideal to have the Requires Login feature enabled for your Home Page, it is not allowed by Apple. All users, regardless of if they have logged into your app, must be able to view content. Users must only be forced to login when accessing account specific features. For example, the Loyalty or Social Wall plugins. Users can see the content in these plugins, but in order for them to post/comment on a Social Wall, or redeem points in the Loyalty plugin, they must first login.
When using the Web View plugin, it’s important to know how many is too many. Generally speaking, your app should not contain more than 2-3 Web View plugins. If your app has more than this, the chances increase that Apple will view your app as not providing a significant difference from a user simply using Safari to view the content, and could potentially end in a rejection of your app.
If you wish to include a link to a donations page, or a website that contains donation taking capabilities, the Web View must be set to the “Device's default external browser” option so that the URL opens in Safari on iOS devices.
While Apple has no issue with the Social Wall as a whole, it’s best to make at least 1 or more posts before submitting your app. This allows Apple to see the functionality/purpose of the plugin, which increases the ‘native functionality’ that Apple is looking for in your app.
Store Description - When filling out the description that will display on the App Store, it’s best to stay focused on the following questions:
- Who is the target audience?
- What is the app's main purpose?
- What features does the app include to accomplish its purpose?
Try to avoid using ‘about us’ type of information in your app’s description, as that comes across as ‘marketing/advertisement’ material. Apple does not allow apps whose main purpose is to market or the advertise your company/organization, so if your app’s description is simply information about your company/organization, it may be rejected.
Support URL - Make sure this is a valid URL to a website for your company/organization. Apple no longer accepts email address’ for this item, so it must be a valid URL. This URL will display on the iTunes/App Store, and should contain contact information for users who have any questions about your app.