Why is your app getting rejected? Apple reveals the reasons apps don't make the cut

Why is your app getting rejected? Apple reveals the reasons apps don't make the cut

Summary: Apple has released a list of the most common reasons its rejects apps, with simple form filling omissions and errors coming in at number one.

TOPICS: Mobility, Apple, Apps, iOS
2014-09-02 12.18.39 pm
Apple's Top 10 reasons for rejecting apps. Image credit: Apple

Apple has published a list of the top 10 reasons why it rejects apps from the App Store, in order to help developers prepare for its tough review process.

As Microsoft knows, keeping an app store clear of misleading or half-baked apps isn't easy. To clean up its young Windows Microsoft Store, the company this week gave removed 1,500 misleading apps that didn't comply with its current policies. 

While Microsoft has perhaps been too lax in the past, Apple has gained a reputation for being tough — being at times overly picky and vague about its reasons for rejecting apps, with some decisions giving rise to the occasional conspiracy theory that Apple rejects apps to protect its payments turf or steals features from apps it's barred from the store

Apple has now shed some light on reasons for common app rejections with the list, to be updated monthly. According to the company, it's meant to help developers prepare before submitting their creations to Apple for review. The list also highlights the lengths Apple goes to curate its store.

While it might help clear up some the small things developers forget before submitting, there are loads of reasons why Apple rejects apps, some clear and others not so transparent.

For example, the top reason for apps rejected in the week prior to 28 August was "more information needed". While it's a fairly vague reason, Apple notes in its "incomplete information" guidance that developers need to provide a valid demo account username and password if their app has features that require signing in. Other items under the list include providing up-to-date contact information.

The second most common reason for rejection was "apps that exhibit bugs", followed by apps that don't comply with Developer Program License Agreement — the one Apple updated recently to prevent HealthKit app developers from selling user's health information to ad networks and data companies. The fourth reason was apps with overly "complex or a less than very good" user interface. Together, the top four accounted for 36 percent of rejections.

Some of the main issues that may be familiar from Microsoft's recent tackling of its Windows Phone Store and Microsoft Store come in after that.

Five percent of rejections were for "apps with names, descriptions, or screenshots not relevant to the App content and functionality" and five percent for "apps that contain false, fraudulent or misleading representations or use names or icons similar to other apps will be rejected".

And while Google has set a pattern of releasing products that can seem to be indefinitely in beta, Apple rejects any apps that are beta, trial, or test versions.

The top 10 reasons account for 58 percent of rejections, while "other" reasons each at less than two percent make up the remainder.

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Topics: Mobility, Apple, Apps, iOS

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Why not blend some strategies here...

    Why not blend some strategies here for the best of all worlds?: Let anyone post their applications in a free market, but only put a stamp of approval on those applications that pass the stringent standards.

    Perhaps also add an "Are you sure you want to install this unvalidated app?" warning when installing unvalidated apps.

    This is similar to the Microsoft "Designed For Windows" Logo program, but with a few additional validations and clarity to the user. With this strategy, one can sell in the marketplace easily, and the consumer can decide and filter their searches and installations based on their own criteria.
    • I like how it already is

      I think Apple has demonstrated that the curated model is best, which is why others have gone with it as well.
  • Cold, hard cash

    The reason they keep an iron grip is quite simple. No money, no honey.

    Apple work actively to keep you locked-in to their ecosystem, limiting the functionality of their devices and, ultimately, your possibilities. From the rather awful audio quality of the iPods to the antenna problems in their phones (which they knew about, but were more concerned with a pretty box) to the missing features, meaning they are ALWAYS years behind Android. But the Sheeple suck it up and love them for it. That's a great business!

    I just read an article over at Time.com entitled: "5 Awesome Things Apple’s New iPhone 6 Is Rumored to Have"

    They include:
    1. A Model With a Bigger Screen (5.5 and 4.7 in)
    2. NFC
    3. Mobile Payments (which requires NFC)

    Android have had these capabilities for YEARS. But the Sheeple will say "awesome" and "revolutionary" and get all starry-eyed over old technology re-packaged by Apple.

    That's Apple's business model and it works. And they will continue to keep a tight control to maintain that stream of $$$heep coming through the doors.
  • I like it!

    You put out trash, you don't get on the Apple store. None of the "rules" look unreasonable, nor do they stop your creativity. If your code works great, you get into the store. LEARN TO CODE! Of course, if you are a Malware writer and try to sneak through with incomplete contact info, you'll get caught. If you make the iPhone crash every time it gets a call, you don't get in. Your software has a major problem, Apple can yank it, everywhere, right now. I LIKE THIS!
    Tony Burzio
  • The day after Home Depot gets hacked...

    Does ANYONE think letting 3rd party unregulated developers access to near field data for payment processing is a good idea?
    Tony Burzio
  • I don't buy the curated market argument...

    It doesn't prevent subpar apps from getting approved, ex.

    Scrooge Mc Duck
  • It is subjective: What one reviewer accepts, another will reject

    A friend of mine had an app on the iTunes Store for years. He submitted an update, but it was rejected; not for what was in the updated part but for something that had been in the app since day one! Several previous reviewers had accepted that part, but he got one reviewer who didn't like it! IIRC, the app was approved after an appeal to more level-headed reviewers on the next tier.