Has your app been rejected by Apple? Are you pulling your hair out trying to figure out why?
You put a lot of time, effort and thought into the careful design of the perfect mobile app for your business. You checked all the boxes in the submission form, purchased your Apple Developer’s license and endured the long process of copying content and pasting pages, images and links. You triple checked your work before hitting the “submit” button.
You waited patiently for days, possibly weeks wondering if your app was approved. You keep checking your e-mail and the app store to see if its there for all the world to download.
Then, it finally happens. You hear from Apple, “Your app has been REJECTED.” “Wait… what… why… but I…” How did this happen?
Apple’s highly selective review process is aimed at ensuring all apps in the Apple Store are superior quality in terms of function, content and design.
Whether you are going to attempt the harrowing feat of an apple submission or you’ve hired a pro to do it, use what you learn below as a check list to ensure smooth sailing through the Apple approval process.
We have submitted hundreds of apps to the Apple Store and here are the most common reasons apps get rejected and what you can do to avoid rejection:
Reject Reason 1:
Boring or lack of interesting content & functionality
Apple Speak: “We found that the experience your app provides is not sufficiently different from a web browsing experience, as it would be by incorporating native iOS functionality…”
Translation: “Your app is boring. Unless your app is specifically designed to cure insomnia, your app has been rejected for putting people to sleep.”
The Fix: Is your app interactive or just full of information? If your app is primarily for information purposes, add some forms. You can use the Forms tool to create Questionnaires, Register to Win forms, Newsletter Sign-up and more. Also add a Promotions Button using the Coupons tool. Maybe you don’t offer Coupons in your business but you can use the Coupons Tools in unique, creative ways such as Promoting a Referral Program, Safe Driver Program, Warranty Program or any other special “promotional” types of benefits your company offers over your competition. Lastly, add a Product or Services Catalog to your app and links to your social media accounts.
Reject Reason 2: Design Flaws
Apple Speak: Apple and our customers place a high value on simple, refined, creative, well-thought-through interfaces.”
Translation: In the Fashion world, this could be called a Fashion-faux pas, in the technology world we call it a Design flaw. Apps need to be aesthetically pleasing and easy for consumers to figure out and use. The layout must be logical and make sense.
The Fix: At BrandgardenTech.com we’ve seen enough Design flaws to know that this is a real challenge for DIY’ers who want to build their own apps. We created templates with gorgeous backgrounds for many industries and you can Hire a Pro for an hour or two of Tech Time to design cool, custom icons or help you get your app looking more dynamic.
Reject Reason 3:
Using Trademarked, Copyrighted or Proprietary Information without Proper Credit or Permission
Apple Speak: “Use of 3rd party material (trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, otherwise proprietary content) requires a documented rights check which must be provided upon request.”
Translation: Don’t mess with Apple on the subject of copyrights, trademarks and proprietary information. They take this seriously. If you’re using other people’s words, images or anything else belonging to anyone other than you, you’d better have written permission that its OK to do so because they’ll check. Don’t use Google images for images on your app. There are many free and inexpensive stock photography options for you and remember, your own mobile device has a wicked good camera in it.
Reject Reason 4: Forgetting to Indicate the Inappropriate Content
Apple Speak: “Developers are responsible for assigning ratings to their apps.”
Translation: Your app contains mature content and you didn’t give any warning. This is like forgetting to rate a movie “R” therefore the general public thinks its a “G” rating.
The Fix: Apple thinks with the “G” rating so if you have any explicit content in the form of violence, weapons (violent or non-violent) sexual content or references to any adult-only products and services such as alcohol or smoking products or cosmetic surgery featuring before and after photos, be sure to give your app an adult-only rating. This also includes that you check your app for links to music, websites or You Tube Videos that may contain explicit content. Also know that if Apple feels your app is just overall too explicit and inappropriate they do have the right to just say “No thank-you.” If you are the author of steamy romance novels, a plastic surgeon or a doctor that specializes in men’s or women’s issues there are ways to create a professional app that represent your brand and your business in a manner that Apple will approve. You can always Hire a Pro to help you get your professional app built.
Reject Reason 5: Limit or Eliminate the Mention of Apple’s Competition
Apple Speak: “Apps for metadata that mention the name of any other mobile platform will be rejected.”
Translation: Do mention the words, “Google, Android, Samsung” in any content on your app? Apple is a little possessive when it comes to their brand and after all the process of submitting your app to Apple is basically asking them for approval to have your app available for the general public in their store. If you owned a store would you want your competitor’s brands to be for sale in it? Probably not.
The Fix: Delete all references to any of Apple’s direct competition.
Reject Reason 6: Looks Too Much Like Apple
Apple Speak: “Apps that appear confusingly similar to an existing Apple product, interface, or advertising theme will be rejected… It would be appropriate to make your apple icon distinctly different from the iOS behaviors interface.”
Translation: If you try to copy-cat the look of Apple, your app is going to be rejected faster than you can blink. They are extremely protective of their brand and have no tolerance for anything that looks remotely close to their brand.
The Fix: If your branding is similar to Apple’s have a look around their websites and look at official Apple brand mobile apps. Be sure your design. look and feel is uniquely and distinctly different from Apple’s. If you need help you can always Hire a Pro at BrandgardenTech.com for an hour or two of Tech Design work.
Reject Reason 7: Not Done
Apple Speak: “Your app or its metadata does not appear to include final content. Your app does not provide sufficient information about the app content and its features.”
Translation: Apple believes in releasing clean, professional finished products to the marketplace. If you use the words, “demo,” “beta” or “test” its like raising a red flag high up the flag pole. Apple themselves typically only release beta tests of software and apps to their approved and accredited Apple developer market. The final is always cleaned and polished before it hits the Apple store for mass market.
The Fix: Nix all three red flag words: beta, test and demo and complete your app before submitting it for approval. Make sure all of your live links work, the click to call, click to e-mail buttons work and your app has the look and feel of a valuable final produce ready for release to the world.
While these are the top 7 reasons for app rejection there are a host of other reasons Apple might reject your App. These can include things like broken links, icon or button shape and size, or the fact the fact that your app looks too much like another app already in the app store. Apple maintains what is called a “Living Contract” which means that at any minute the day they can change the rules and they sometimes do. If they have a large number of apps being submitted with round buttons in the morning, in the afternoon they may decide they are not approving any apps with round buttons for a while so you have to change your buttons to square-round. Yes, this is a real-life example.
Apple works hard to keep the standards high for apps. Its a privilege to have an app and to have it available in the App Store for all the world to download. Build an app that is useful to others, that looks good and is interactive and engaging and you should enjoy smooth sailing through the apple approval process, whether you’re submitting or you’ve hired a pro to do it for you.