The first quarter of 2021 recorded over 2.2 million apps in the Apple store; reports Statista. Hundreds of iOS apps are developed and published to the Apple store daily but entering such a huge and crowded marketplace is an arduous task; if the iOS app guidelines are not followed correctly.
Apple has a very meticulous review process. No matter how amazing your app looks, if it does not abide by its guidelines, chances are certain that your iOS app would get rejected.
If your app has been rejected by Apple, don’t feel singled out. Developers often face this hassle while uploading the app to the app store. Following the Apple developer norms(which are comprehensive and well defined) should help you sail through.
In this article, I have compiled a list of 6 strong reasons that are possibly creating a hindrance in successfully launching your app to the app store or the ones that you need to look at thoroughly to avoid iOS app rejection.
1. Not Using Sign-in With Apple ID
Any app that uses third-party social login services such as Facebook login, Twitter Login, Google Sign-in, etc. is now required to offer the “Sign in with Apple” option equivalently. Apple announced the guideline on 19 September 2019 and made it compulsory for all the apps to include the Apple Sign-in option by April 2020. Their sign-in facility makes it easy for the users to sign in to your app using their Apple ID. It saves their time from filling out forms, verifying their email addresses, and setting up passwords. Speaking of security, the accounts are protected with two-factor authentication and Apple doesn’t track the user’s activity on your app. So make sure that you have included this option in your app to avoid app store rejection
Sign in with Apple option would not be required under the Apple developer program if-
- Your app exclusively uses your company’s own account setup and sign-in process.
- The app is related to education, business, or enterprise and requires users to sign in with the related accounts only.
- Your app belongs to a client or a third-party service.
- The app uses an identification system backed by the government.
For all others, it is now mandatory to allow users to sign in using Apple ID.
2. Crashes and Bugs
To prevent your iOS app from getting rejected, it is advised to thoroughly test it on devices running on the latest version before submitting it to the app store. Check if it contains any bugs and whether all the elements are functioning seamlessly across different iOS devices. Many times, the app is integrated with a third-party application, which could introduce some unwanted errors, and if the app is not thoroughly tested, it could lead to the app crashing while the functionality is still in use.
So, get it tested, and if there are some glitches, get them fixed before pushing the application on the app store. If during the sanity check, Apple figures out that you haven’t done a quality check and your app is not up to the mark in terms of stability, they would reject your submission outright.
3. Performance/UI Related Concerns
Apple expects your app to run smoothly, stand up to their expectations. The iOS team wants the app to deliver a rich user experience. If the app looks cluttered, takes time to load or the navigation isn’t user-friendly, it will hamper the mobile app user experience and this is enough for Apple to reject your app. The same goes for the User Interface. Lookup Apple’s DOs and DON’Ts in their UI design guide, some of which we have described below.
The UI should be optimized for all screen sizes. Apple standards do not allow users to zoom in/out or scroll on different screens to explore the content; particularly when native components of the application are used.
Another aspect is touch. iPhones have been created as an epitome in touchscreen tech. Apple expects that the touch feature in the design should not be cluttered and 44 pts X 44 pts gap should be there between touch targets. Similarly, the text should be visible with a minimum 11 point size and color combinations should ensure the text is legible.
Such guidelines are defined in detail and it would do well for an app developer to study them before starting with the app development process.
4. Incomplete/Inaccurate Metadata
Adding to the iOS app rejections is incomplete or inaccurate metadata. Apple has a very strong reason to reject your app if the information you have provided is insufficient or outdated. Provide the entire details needed to review your app before submitting it. If there are some features in your app that require signing in, provide valid demo login credentials. Attach a demo video if you need to explain something regarding hardware.
For example, for subscription-based models, Apple requires the username and password along with the contact information of the primary person responsible for the application so that if in case their team experiences any challenges or inconveniences, they can contact the concerned person. If such information is missing, Apple may reject your app.
5. Payment-Related Challenges
Using other payment gateways and not Apple’s default one risks your iOS app getting rejected. Apple developer program utilizes its in-app purchases, made by unlocking premium content or through subscription models. This is handled by their own payment gateway.
If the application has a subscription-based model, then every Apple developer should ensure that they utilize the in-app purchases provided by Apple. Now if you integrate any external payment gateway, that would not benefit the company. Using their default payment gateway is the ideal solution here. Follow the Apple Pay Identity guidelines for correctly using the Apple Pay branding and user interface elements. We have shared a small portion of it below.
For example, in the case of UI development, Apple has defined the kind of artwork to be utilized. The customer-facing interface is required to have an Apple pay mark with the correct width and aspect ratio across devices. The mark is provided by Apple and one should not endeavor to create one’s own. If these are missed, it would compel the Apple team to reject your iOS app.
6. App Outlook Related Concerns
If your app reflects that you have just repackaged your website and turned it into an app without making any significant changes, Apple would reject your app straight away. The content structure, UI, and features should go as per the layout of an app. Put simply, it should give an app-like feel and not the website. As per Apple, if your app isn’t unique, useful, or app-like, it doesn’t belong to their store. As simple as that!
It is also advised to submit your app to the relevant store. For example, if the app is based on songs and movie collections, it should be submitted to the iTunes store. Similarly, if your app is related to books or a game guide, submit it to the Apple Books store.
Apple isn’t biased. If someone’s app makes it into the Apple store and yours doesn’t, doesn’t mean they are against you. It simply means that the other app matched their guidelines perfectly and you lagged at some point.
Apple developer program’s guidelines are strict to ensure quality apps live in their space. That’s what makes their app store trustworthy. Imagine if they ease their guidelines! Tons of spamming and misleading apps would enter the app store. There would be junk all over and it would be difficult to filter out relevant and quality apps.
A ton of effort and investment goes into iOS mobile app development. So make sure you have tick-marked all the points highlighted under their guidelines before submitting your app for review. Though the guidelines are plenty, keep a strict check on the above-mentioned six points to prevent your iOS app rejection.