With over 1 million apps now on the app store, entering such a crowded market is no mean feat. Every day more and more applications are being pushed onto the congested mound of existing ones, and in all this it can be difficult to get the attention your app needs amongst the mass of competitors all competing for the customer’s time and money.
On top of this hurdle, there is also the task of passing Apple’s rigorous 114 standard regulations on how the app should work, look, and reflect the company’s image.
It’s clear that even making it onto the App Store is a labor in itself, so we’ve compiled a list of tips that will help traverse the minefield of guidelines that lie between developers and a space on the Apple App store.
You haven’t tested it enough.
Apple comes second to none in their thorough testing of applications, this applies even more so if the app if it is intended for customers to pay for it, and the higher the price the more scrutiny the app in question will face. So make sure the crinkles in your end produce are ironed out with an iron fist, any bugs and glitches and your app may be rejected.
Messing with standard functionality
Apple will outright reject your app if it changes the functions associated with physical buttons of the device, so anything that, say, turns your lock button into a torch will not go down smoothly with moderators.
It’s a copycat or just not worthwhile
We’ve all seen the numerous copies and imitations of apps such as Flappy Bird, and Apple has too, so much so that they will reject copies of existing applications if there are already too many of the same. So think twice before going to the trouble of remodeling the latest mobile craze as Apple may not feel it is welcome on their market, along with the 15 other versions of itself.
“We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don’t need any more Fart apps. If your app doesn’t do something useful or provide some form of lasting entertainment, it may not be accepted.” Quoted from the Apple developer guidelines this rule is very self explanatory; make an app that the customer will not regret downloading and using, make it entertaining or useful.
Using your own payment system for content or functionality
If your software uses in-app purchases to unlock functionality or allow the user to download digital content, transactions must go through the official Apple in-app purchasing system. Apple will reject an app that uses any other method to ensure that money is securely transferred via the Apple marketplace.
Website or Application?
If your app is based on a website, or a mobile version of such, make sure that what you are uploading is in fact an app rather than simply a website in an app package. Give it an interface that is built for mobile, preferably using native code, and more importantly easier to use than if users were to simply access the website on their phone.
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It’s too complicated, clunky or slow
Apps are designed (especially if they function as utilities) as convenient and readily accessible entertainments or services; make them such. A customer will most likely not want to go through a hundred screen to achieve what they want of the app you are making. Ensure navigation and function are made as simple and intuitive as possible, if done correctly apps will be more enjoyable and leave the user satisfied with their download.
If you are entering the Apple App Store, then it is expected that your app runs fluidly with the operating system it is being installed onto. You wouldn’t expect to open your fridge and see the shelves lined with tinsel, and the concept is similar on the mobile platform; customers prefer a more consistent and sleek transition from their home screen to your app. Make the journey in between the two feel as natural and smooth as possible.
Customers do not want to be waiting years for their apps to open, load content or navigate between screens. It doesn’t matter how stunning the app looks, or how entertaining it is if a customer is unable to get past the loading icon; optimisation is key in making sure your app is responsive, snappy and enjoyable to use.
Your app doesn’t respect Apple’s guidelines
No other cause of app rejection is as common as violation of Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines, make sure before even designing an app that you are up to speed with these rules. Many of them are common sense, such as text being large enough to be read, however some cover technical or design matters that are definitely worth looking over rather than overlooking, a violation could very well cause Apple to reject you app.
Using Apple’s name in vain
This includes trademarks, app names and content in your software. Doing so is likely to conflict with their content regulations and have your app rejected, common culprits of this are iPhone-like icons and Polaroid-like image frames, steer clear of these things if you are putting them into your app without permission.
It doesn’t work offline and you’re not informing the user
If your app requires use of the internet, it will need to detect when network is unavailable and provide some sort of notification to the user, most commonly in a pop up message. Make sure this is included and able to be easily seen, if not a fault with connection might be confused with a fault of the program itself.
Your description is not accurate
Lastly, after building an app, spend time proof-reading your app description for iTunes, this description is the primary source of information the Apple reviewer will have on your app.
Make sure it is as to the point and accurate as possible, avoid ambiguity and generic sentences. Additionally, and this is one of the most common reasons for app rejection, make sure you are not advertising your app as something it is not; make sure you aren’t misleading your market as Apple will most definitely not allow your app forward for consumption if it claims to be something it is not. So to avoid a big red “Doesn’t Work As Advertised” on your rejection email, make sure your description is reliable and exact as possible.