Over time, Apple has received a lot of criticism about how it runs the App store, by angry developers who say its application review is nothing but transparent, and that rejections occur without clear reasoning.
So when the new App store review guidelines, written in a rather unusual y casual style for a document, were released-it came as a relief to a lot of developers who had long been awaiting the rules of what is and isn’t allowed in the App Store.
It gives developers some clear “don’ts” as well as a few “do’s” to keep in mind. There are common-sense bars on objectionable material, hate speech and gambling. A fun read, it includes phrases such as:
“We don’t need any more Fart apps”
“We will reject Apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, “I’ll know it when I see it”. And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.”
“If you want to criticize a religion, write a book”
Clause 8.5 states that developers would be allowed to use third-party tools to create applications for its iOS mobile operating system, something which had been banned earlier. To put it simply, any app that was not originally written in the C programming language was to be banned. This change means that applications written for other types of mobile phones, including those that use Adobe’s Flash technology, can now be easily converted. A lot of tools that do not use traditional programming languages, like the Lua scripting language used by many game developers can now be incorporated.
The new terms ensure that Apple’s developers have the choice of a variety of advertising solutions, allowing outside companies as well, that would enable them to earn money and fund their apps.
An intriguing announcement was the creation of a ‘Review Board’ to act as an appeal court for app rejections. So developers will get a chance to have their grievances considered.
New reasons to reject apps may come along in the future, making the document a ‘living’ one, subject to changes in standards.
Some other interesting rules are:
3.10 Developers who attempt to manipulate or cheat the user reviews or chart ranking in the App Store with fake or paid reviews, or any other inappropriate methods will be removed from the iOS Developer Program […]
10.5 Apps that alter the functions of standard switches, such as the Volume Up/Down and Ring/Silent switches, will be rejected.
11.11 In general, the more expensive your app, the more thoroughly we will review it […]
However, the App store Review Guidelines is still fairly vague, which gives Apple leeway to cite clauses for rejecting applications.
Nevertheless, the existence of this document is a very welcome change, giving developers clarity on what is expected of them, and it will go a long way in answering much of the criticism regarding prior controversial App store rejections.