Apple Rejections – 5 Steps to Guarantee Your App Gets Approved

Worried Apple will reject YOUR app?
If you’re hearing whispers that Apple’s new Review Guidelines make it IMPOSSIBLE to get an app approved…
Don’t panic.  They’re simply not true.
Today’s developer forecast is 🌞 with a good chance of 💰💰💰
What Apple IS doing, is cleaning house and rejecting apps that don’t meet their standards.

“The App Store has enough fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra apps already. Spamming the store may lead to your removal from the Developer Program.” – Apple

Apple is saying “enough is enough.”
Keep reading to learn what “App Spam” is all about, how to handle rejections, and the 5 steps to guarantee your app gets approved.

What is “App Spam?”

The rejection that has app developers blowing gaskets is Guideline 4.3 – Design: Spam.  Meaning, the app submitted is not good enough for Apple’s standards.
Apple’s definition of Spam is:

  1. Apps that are not particularly useful, unique, or “app-like.”
  2. Publishing multiple versions of an app within similar themes.
  3. Piling on a category that is already saturated.

If you’re planning on publishing 20 dog breed emoji apps or developing another Egypt/Vegas Casino app, expect a Rejected notice in your Inbox.
Below are answers to frequently talked about Spam Rumors:

* Apple has banned the use of App Templates *

FALSE:  Apple is NOT using AI software to sweep for App Templates.  In fact, templates are allowed and recommended for app developers.

Use app templates as the foundation of your project and build ‘on top’ of templates whenever possible to create a unique and custom experience for the user.

* Apple will not approve skins *

TRUE: The skin era is over.  If you’re looking to make easy money with apps, skinning is not going to work.

* You cannot publish multiple emoji apps *

FALSE:  You can publish multiple emoji apps.  Just don’t publish multiple emoji apps of a similar theme. For example, if you want to create an emoji network of dog breeds – Apple will recommend you submit a single app and provide the variations using in-app purchases.

For more info on Apple’s Emoji/Sticker Guidelines, visit (Section 4.4: Extensions): https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/#design

5 Steps to Guarantee Your App Gets Approved

Step 1: Follow Apple’s Review Guidelines
Apple does have A LOT of guidelines, but they’re mostly no-brainers and easy to follow.
Research the exact guidelines App Reviewers use before submitting your app: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/
Step 2: Be the First & Provide Value
The easiest way to get your app approved is to submit unique and quality products that serve a specific need to improve the lives of mobile users.
Do your research and strive to be the first to publish a unique feature or concept.
Step 3: Go Above What is Required
Apple rewards developers who go above the minimal requirements needed to submit an app.  Use the development and marketing options Apple makes available whenever possible.
Although Apple only requires 1 screenshot, we are allowed to submit 5.
You only need to include a few words in your app’s description, but Apple allows for 4000 characters.
Promotional text, video previews, and marketing URLs are ALL optional.
But the more you show Apple you have invested in the project, the more likely your app will be approved.
Step 4: Monitor your Submission Volume & Frequency
Stick to quality over quantity.
Apple does monitor the amount of apps and how often you submit.  Developers using app builders and submitting multiple apps in a short timespan are risking getting rejected.
Step 5: Include Review Notes that Support All the Above
Add as much information about your app as possible for the review process. Include information needed to test your app, such as app-specific settings.
In many cases, I will even include an attachment video of how to use an app.

Handling Rejections (and the 4Rs)

Rejections DO happen.
In most cases, developers simply forget to include a vital piece of information or fully test their app.

The #1 rejection Apple Developers see is Guideline 2.1 – Performance: App Completeness.  Meaning, the app submitted is incomplete or does not work.

In fact, 25% of all app rejections are due to Guideline 2.1.
(C’mon guys!)
It’s also not uncommon for Apple to make an error.  Apple employees human reviewers which sometimes leads to human error.
Lucky for us, we can write the resolution center, file a dispute, and even call Apple directly.
If you get a rejection, follow the 4Rs:

  • Research
  • Reply
  • Resubmit
  • Reach-out

My favorite “Reach-out” method is to contact Apple by phone.  Apple offers worldwide developer support and they’re very responsive (you’re not going to be put on hold for hours).
You can give them a ring here: https://developer.apple.com/contact/phone/
While not perfect, Apple is doing a great job reviewing apps and I for one am thankful they are improving their review efforts to make room for better apps.

In closing…

Thank you Apple!
Thank you for the opportunity to move to San Francisco and learn a new up-and-coming industry.
Thank you for the ability to support myself while traveling abroad for over 8 months!
Thank you for connecting me with thousands of new friends around the world.
And thank you for consistently testing my limits so I deliver the BEST app experience and service to the mobile community.
I’m up for the challenge and ready to step-up my game!
 
Best wishes and happy reviews,
-Mark
 
PS: If you have questions or comments about Apple’s new Review Guidelines or app rejections in general…drop a comment below and we’ll be sure to answer!
 

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