Apple’s app assessment procedure underscores the asymmetry amongst the world’s most useful business and little app developers, in particular these functioning solo. When Alin Panaitiu received a rejection notice this year for his app that compiled a list of music festivals in Romania, he was told only that it will have to build a “lasting experience” to qualify for the App Store. After a frustrating month of speculative modifications and repeated rejections with boilerplate responses, he appealed for support on social media.
A handful of days just after Panaitiu’s post gained traction, his app was authorized with no explanation. The app was intended to fund his brother’s initial year of college, but by the time it appeared on the App Store, the summer season festival season had ended. Panaitiu listed it for cost-free.
The appeals procedure can save an app just after it has been rejected, but developers say the most frustrating and time-consuming elements of Apple’s procedure seem unchanged. An app can be bogged down by weeks or months of written exchanges with reviewers through Apple’s App Store Connect site prior to it is formally rejected.
In 2020, Ben Fry saw his business Fathom’s Covid tracker app for institutions rejected for providing health-related advice—a function completely absent from the service. He turned to the appeals procedure just after many exchanges with Apple and the app was later authorized with no modifications. Another of Fry’s apps was shot down for not offering adequate utility, only to be accepted just after an appeal for getting “well-designed.”
Fry says his business now actively avoids the App Store and produces net apps alternatively. “Every experience I’ve had with submitting an app has been a nightmare,” Fry says. “Apple’s involvement is personally frustrating and a huge professional liability.”
Nelson, the London developer, was told that his app breached a guideline aimed at stopping copycats. After he appealed the rejection, a reviewer on the telephone refused to inform Nelson which app he was allegedly copying or what optionsSponsored Product he necessary to drop or transform. Nelson resorted to a brute force method, systematically updating almost just about every aspect of his game till Apple authorized it.
Former members of the App Review group told WIRED that app rejections are vague due to the fact Apple’s app suggestions are vague and the company’s functioning circumstances do not enable or need them to be interpreted regularly.
“We will reject apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line,” the suggestions say. “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.” Fry and Panaitiu’s apps each fell foul of the guidelines’ hazy demand that apps give “some sort of lasting entertainment value or adequate utility.”
In 2020, the former head of the App Store, Phillip Shoemaker, told US lawmakers that Apple’s developer guidelines have been “arbitrary” and utilized against competitors. In a deposition in the Epic lawsuit, Shoemaker mentioned that the qualifications necessary to get hired as an app reviewer have been that a particular person “could breathe [and] could think.”