Apple's top reasons for rejecting apps

Why did your app get ditched before hitting the store? You probably didn't give Apple enough information

Jane McCallion
2 Sep 2014

Apple has revealed its main reasons for rejecting apps from the App Store.

The move follows complaints from app developers, who see their products rejected with little explanation why - including an Android developer who recently made headlines after his privacy app was rejected by Google.

According to Apple, the most common reasons apps are rejected include instability and bugs, placeholder content, and incomplete information when it's submitted to the App Review Information section of iTunes Connect.

Indeed, "more information needed" was the top reason apps were rejected in the seven days ending 28 August, making up 14% of all rejections, while buggy behaviour came in second place, leading to 8% of rejections.

At the other end of the scale, 2% of apps were rejected for being "beta" or "demo" versions, and 3% were rejected for having an inappropriate age rating.

Substandard UI is another top reason apps get rejected, coming in fourth at 6%. "Apple and our customers place a high value on simple, refined, creative, well thought through interfaces. They take more work but are worth it," the company said.

"Apple sets a high bar. If your user interface is complex or less than very good, it may be rejected," it added.

UI do and don't

While it doesn't appear in last week's top ten rankings, the app not having enough long-lasting value is also a potential reason for rejection.

"If your app doesn’t offer much functionality or content, or only applies to a small niche market, it may not be approved," the company said.

Greater transparency

According to Cult of Mac, why some apps make it onto the App store and others don't has been "one of the great mysteries" of the platform.

While Apple hasn't given any reason for this new-found interest in transparency, the move does come one week ahead of the expected launch of iOS 8.

iOS 8 uses a new programming language, Swift, and Apple may have felt this is the opportune moment to be more open in what is required from an App Store app.

Two new iPhones and iPads, as well as possibly an "iWatch" are also expected to launch next week, which may in turn drive up interest from first-time developers.

Coincidentally, it's also days after Google came in for criticism for its own app approval policies, after removing a privacy-focused app developed by a company called Disconnect from the Play Store just before its official launch.

Google said it was because the app violated a policy that apps cannot interfere with each other's behaviour. However, the developers said Google's policies were so vague that it was impossible to be certain they were complied with.

Casey Oppenheim, Disconnect’s co-founder, told the Wall Street Journal: "It’s like a Kafka novel – you’re getting kicked out or arrested for reasons you don’t even know."

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