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All That Can Go Wrong … All The Rejection Reasons

This is an overview of reasons why Apple has rejected apps temporarily or permanently. Not some theoretic reasons that might be construed from the SDK Agreement, but real instances of passed judgement. For each rejection reason the original paragraph written by Apple is included. I made it as non-judgemental as possible.

Originally this article was written for the Cocoapedia but I am publisizing it here for added exposure because I am hoping for comments informing me of missing reasons. For a reason to be included it must be documented on your blog or website and the link given. There is a website AppRejected.com that seems to be dedicating to collecting such rejection reasons, but there is no way to contact the owner and the list seems to be lacking specific citing of sources and order.

This list may serve as a checklist to help guide the general design principles such that fellow developers can avoid the temporary pitfalls which might delay their apps for two weeks. Also you might check your “killer app ideas” against this list to save you from wasting precious time on ideas that according to this list would in all likelyhood never be permitted into the store.

Privacy and Encryption

User Data Privacy

If during a running session of your app user data is collected, e.g. high scores and such data is transferred to an online server then Apple wants to see an alert upon first launch or a text label before the score submission. [Source]

Your application, Meteor Mission III, cannot be posted to the App Store because it violates section 3.3.6 of the iPhone SDK Agreement:

“Any form of user or device data collection, or image, picture or voice capture or recording performed by the Application (collectively “Recordings”), and any form of user data, content or information uploading, syncing, or transmission performed by the Application (collectively “Transmissions”) must comply with all applicable privacy laws and regulations as well as any Apple program requirements related to such aspects, including but not limited to any notice or consent requirements. In particular, a reasonably conspicuous visual indicator must be displayed to the user as part of the Application to indicate that a Recording is taking place.”

Please make it clear to the user that their personal user data is being uploaded to your server by way of an alert upon first launch or a text label before the score submission.

Encryption

If you make a public claim that your app encrypts data then you have to provide your CCATS document upon submitting it. Alternatively Apple suggests to not make such a claim. [Source]

Skimmy cannot be posted to the App Store at this time because it violates section 3.3.5 of the iPhone SDK Agreement; “Applications must comply with the Human Interface Guidelines and other Documentation provided by Apple.”

The Application Description states “Powerful encryption. The Skimmy database is encrypted to help keep your data safe.” However, your app does not have Export Compliance. It would be appropriate to remove this text from the Application Description and resubmit the new binary, or resubmit the existing binary and check ‘Yes’ for ‘Does your product contain encryption?’ on the Export Compliance section of iTunes Connect. Note that you may be asked to provide a copy of your CCATS.

Downloading Data from iTunes Connect

You should not try to download anything from Apple’s sites. In some cases they let it slip [Source], but more often than not they simply reject such apps. [Source]

Thank you for submitting your application to the App Store. Unfortunately, your application My App Sales cannot be added to the App Store because it violates section 3.3.7 of the iPhone SDK Agreement:
“Applications may not use any robot, spider, site search or other retrieval application or device to scrape, retrieve or index services provided by Apple or its licensors, or to collect information about users for any unauthorized purpose. ”
There is no public API allowing information from iTunes Connect to be used in the manner demonstrated by your application.

Objectionable Content

Unfiltered Internet Access

If an app allows browsing of the internet without filtering it needs to be rated as if itself contained matured or suggestive themes.

Thank you for submitting Full Screen Browser 1.0 to the App Store. We’ve reviewed Full Screen Browser 1.0 and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store at this time because it is not appropriately rated. Our review indicates that the application content is not consistent with the current rating. Full Screen Browser 1.0 allows unfiltered access to the internet, where content with mature or suggestive themes can be accessed. Applications must be rated accordingly for the highest level of content that the user is able to access.

Defaming, Demeaning and Attacking Public Figures

Apple does not like when public figures get even the slightest bit ridiculed. [Source]

Thank you for submitting Bobblicious to the App Store. We’ve reviewed Bobblicious and determined that we cannot post this version of your Phone application to the App Store because it contains content that ridicules public figures and is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement.

Apple has also begun to recommend ad-hoc distribution for such apps that might still have an appeal for a smaller group. [Source]

Upon review of your application, Freedom Time cannot be posted to the App Store because it contains content that does not comply with Community Standards. Usage of such materials, as outlined in the iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.12, is prohibited:

“Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.”

Defaming, demeaning, or attacking political figures is not considered appropriate content for the App Store.

If you would like to provide an application that contains such content to a group of friends, then we encourage you to use the Ad Hoc application distribution method. Please go to the Distribution Tab in the iPhone Developer Portal for complete information on Ad Hoc distribution.

Damaging Activity

A whole category of joke and fun apps use the internal accelerometer to measure drop distance. Because user might damage their devices and blame Apple such apps are generally not permitted. [Source]

Thank you for submitting DropClock to the App Store. We’ve reviewed DropClock and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store at this time because it encourages a physical activity that could result in a customer damaging their iPhone. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store.

Adult Themes

Apple is known to be very strict about content that some people might find obscene. [Source] With parental controls available for non-gaming apps as of iPhone OS version 3.0 it might now be possible to get Apple’s nod.

Thank you for submitting Keith and The Girl 1.0 to the App Store. We’ve reviewed Keith and The Girl 1.0 and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store at this time because it contains objectionable content which is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement which states:

“Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.”

Bodily Noises (deprecated)

Previously apps had gotten rejected [Source] because they made “bodily noises” (aka farts). This has been a previous rejection reason which seems to be no longer the case. It is here fore sake of documentation. So-called “fart apps” are permitted since December 2008.

Upon review of your application, Whoopie Cushion cannot be posted to the App Store because it contains content that does not comply with Community Standards. Usage of such materials, as outlined in the iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.12, is prohibited:

“Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.”

When selling in the world market, community standards need to be taken into consideration. Bodily noises are not universally acceptable behavior.

Functionality

Demos

All submitted apps must be fully functional and may not be referred to as demo [Source]. It is ok however to make a “Lite” version.

Your application, xxxxx Demo, cannot be posted to the App Store because it is a demo version. We are not accepting any demo, trial, or pre-release versions, as all apps must be fully functional. You may append Free or Lite to the name, but still must remove all references to Demo in the app. You may point out that there is another version within your app’s info panel. All buttons that are not active in this version must be grayed out or removed.

Functionality of Apple Apps

If you have an app that works similar to an app built-into iPhone OS then you need to make it “sufficiently different” to avoid “user confusion”. [Source]

Your application, iKaraoke, cannot be posted to the App Store at this time because it violates section 3.3.5 of the iPhone SDK Agreement; “Applications must comply with the Human Interface Guidelines and other Documentation provided by Apple.”

Your application duplicates the functionality of the built-in iPhone application, iPod, without providing sufficient differentiation or added functionality. Your app downloads media files that are not managed by the iTunes application, which also manages media files, we believe this would be confusing to the user. To avoid this customer confusion, we have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store.

Your app may not display an icon that might suggest duplicating functionality contained in an Apple app. [Source]

Thank you for submitting AsteriskC2D 2.1 to the App Store. We’ve reviewed AsteriskC2D 2.1 and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because of the standard iPhone icon for “recents” may be confusing or misleading to iPhone users. Your “recents” icon only applies to recent calls made from your application, not to all recent calls made by the user. Please redesign your icon to be significantly different from the standard iPhone recents icon.

Podcasting

Your app may not provide podcast downloading as Apple reserves this for iTunes. [Source]

gspn.tv cannot be posted to the App Store, as the App Store is not the appropriate channel for distributing podcasts.

The iTunes Store has separate categories dedicated to each type of media. Music, podcasts, and movies are delivered through that channel. Information on publishing podcast on iTunes can be found at: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=302199

Diagnostics

There is a category of apps that can be widely described as performing “diagnostics”. Examples are: an app to free up memory by filling it up, checking for dead pixels [Source], etc. [Source]

We’ve reviewed and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it provides to the user potentially inaccurate diagnostic functionality for iPhone OS devices. There is currently no publicly available infrastructure to support diagnostic analysis. This may result in your app reporting potentially inaccurate information which could lead to user confusion.

Marketing Materials

Apple compares your app against the claims and descriptions you submit together with the app for review. If there is a discrepancy the app will get rejected.

Your applications, LuckyWheel and LuckWheel Lite, cannot be posted to the App Store at this time because they do not achieve the core functionality described in your marketing materials, or release notes. Applications must adhere to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines as outlined in iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.5.

The release notes for both applications state, “Italian UI and Instructions added”. However, in our review, when we put the device into Italian language mode and launched the applications, the application UI was still in English. Only the instructions were changed to Italian. See attached screenshots.

Same Application

If two apps are identical except for a small detail then Apple might reject them. [Source]

Your applications, MoodPhone and MoodPod, cannot be posted to the App Store at this time because they are same application without significant differences in functionality. The only difference is the color of the default background, which should be a setting, not a separate application. Applications must comply with the Human Interface Guidelines and other Documentation provided by Apple as outlined in iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.5.

No Functionality

After allowing the famous “I am rich” app and taking heat for it, they no longer permit apps that are feature-free. [Source]

Your application, I Am Poor, cannot be posted to the App Store at this time because it does not contain any user-accessible functionality.

Connectivity

Core Location

If the user is expecting a reaction from your app but does not get it due to there being no internet connectivity you should display a notification. This is true for regular apps as well as apps that rely on Core Location which requires internet connectivity for cell tower triangulation to work. [Source]

Your application, GeoCorder, cannot be posted to the App Store at this time because it does not adhere to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines as outlined in iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.5.
When the device is not connected to a network, GeoCorder does not load its contents. When the user is on the “Record GPS Tack” screen the App fails to load location (please refer to screen shot). This behavior might lead to user confusion. It would be appropriate to display either a notification or an alert stating that internet connectivity is required.
Please take a look at the Reachability iPhone program sample which demonstrates the use of the System Configuration Reachability API to detect the absence of WiFi and Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) services. Your application can then take appropriate action at the first point where network services are required.

Apple seems to test Core Location based apps indoors and often in airplane mode. But when this does not work without warning they might claim that location services are not used correctly. [Source]

Your application, xxxx, cannot be posted to the App Store at this time because it does not achieve the core functionality described in your marketing materials. Applications must adhere to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines as outlined in iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.5.

xxxxx was never able to determine My Location using Location Services. This issue occurred while using a 3G iPhone. The application keeps searching, but no location is found and an error message is not presented to notify the user of the problem.

No Connectivity

Generally if your app does not function in airplane mode then Apple will reject it if you don’t display an alert or make it otherwise known e.g. with a label. [Source]

Your application, PlaceTagger, cannot be posted to the App Store at this time because it does not adhere to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines as outlined in iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.5.

When the device is not connected to a network, PlaceTagger does not display a network alert. This behavior might lead to user confusion. It would be appropriate to display either a notification or an alert stating that internet connectivity is required.

If the app’s screen stays blank without connectivity this is just as bad.

Additionally, Keith and The Girl 1.0, cannot be posted to the App Store at this time because it does not adhere to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines as outlined in iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.5.

When the device is not connected to a network, Keith and The Girl 1.0 does not load its contents and stays blank (see attached screen shots). This behavior might lead to user confusion. It would be appropriate to display either a notification or an alert stating that internet connectivity is required.

Please take a look at the Reachability iPhone program sample which demonstrates the use of the System Configuration Reachability API to detect the absence of WiFi and Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) services. Your application can then take appropriate action at the first point where network services are required.

Excessive Use of Bandwidth

To protect the users Apple makes a judgement as to what constitues excessive use of cellular network bandwidth. If your app transfers too much in a cellular scenario it will get rejected. [Source]

Papers cannot be posted to the App Store because it is transferring excessive volumes of data over the cellular network, which as outlined in the iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.15, is prohibited:

” If an Application requires or will have access to the cellular network, then additionally such Application:

– Must comply with Apple’s best practices and other guidelines on how Applications should
access and use the cellular network;

– Must not in Apple’s reasonable judgment excessively use or unduly burden network
capacity or bandwidth;”

Voice Over IP

Apple forbids VOIP functionality over cellular networks. [Source]

AsteriskC2DPro 2.0 cannot be posted to the App Store because the VoIP service is active over the cellular network, which as outlined in the iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.15, is prohibited:

”If an Application requires or will have access to the cellular network, then additionally such Application:

– May not have Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) functionality.”

In order for your application to be reconsidered for the App Store, please resolve this issue and upload your new binary to iTunes Connect. To determine the type and availability of network connections in order to restrict your application to Wi-Fi you can reference the Apple DTS Sample Code Reachability:

Dependencies

Private APIs

Apple does not always publish the full set of APIs contained in their SDK. This is because sometimes they are not fully done or have bugs the internal apps know how to work around, but which might break your app should they get fixed. Apple is strict about rejecting apps where they think (even wrongfully [Source]) that such a private API was used.

Upon review of your application, Peeps cannot be posted to the App Store due to the usage of a non-public API. Usage of non-public APIs, as outlined in the iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.1, is prohibited:

“3.3.1 Applications may only use Published APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any unpublished or private APIs. ”

The non-public API that is included in your application comes from the CoverFlow API set.

Third-Party Services

If your app relies on a third-party online service you have to make sure to fail gracefully if this service is down, especially if you are unlucky and Apple tests with the provided demo account at the time of the outage. [Source]

Your application, TweetSpotter, cannot be posted to the App Store at this time because it does not achieve the core functionality described in your marketing materials, or release notes. Applications must adhere to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines as outlined in iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.5.

The user could not sign in with the demo account provided, please see the attached screenshot. In addition, though multiple Twitter accounts were used, the user still could not sign in. This review was conducted on iPhone 3G running iPhone OS 3.0 Beta 5.

User Confusion

Standard Buttons

Only use the standard buttons provided with SDK the way that an unsuspecting user would expected. For example don’t use the “compose” button to bring up a settings dialog. [Source]

Applications must adhere to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines as outlined in iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.5.
The compose button is to be used to open a new message view in edit mode. Implementing standard buttons to perform other tasks will lead to user confusion. We recommend using a custom icon.

Visual Feedback

If the user interacts with your app he should get visual feedback on his actions. Displayed icons should change visually to indicate them being touched. Also a tab bar needs to be at the bottom of the screen where the user usually expects it. Otherwise he could become confused. [Source]

At this time, Flying Rider cannot be posted to the App Store because it exhibits the following issues that need to be addressed.There is no indication that an item has been selected in the tab bar. That is, the displayed icons do not change color or shade to show the current selection status. Also, the tab bar is displayed at the top of the screen rather than the bottom (which is the standard recommended placement).

Copyrights/Trademarks

Using a button looking like a small iPhone

You cannot use any artwork that looks like an Apple trademark.

Thank you for submitting LuckyWheel and LuckyWheel Lite to the App Store. We’ve reviewed LuckyWheel and LuckyWheel Lite and determined that we cannot post these versions of your iPhone applications to the App Store because of an Apple trademark image. We want to remind you of the importance of following Apple’s posted Guidelines for Using Apple’s Trademarks and Copyrights: http://www.apple.com/legal/trademark/guidelinesfor3rdparties.html

Piracy

Apple generally rejects Apps that can be used to infringe upon the copyrights and trademarks of third parties. That includes BitTorrent clients or frontends. [Source]

We’ve reviewed Drivetrain and determined that we cannot post this version of your application to the App Store at this time because this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights.

Third Party Rights

You cannot use content or any name that would be attributed to a public individual. [Source] An example relates to Chuck Norris who is ever vigilently fighting against apps that try to earn money with his name or “facts” about him.

We received your application named WWCD – What Would Chuck Do, which appears to include features that resemble Chuck Norris/identify Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris has previously objected to other applications that include features that use his name or likeness, and believes that such features infringe his rights.


Categories: Apple

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