How Many Apps are Rejected by Apple?
Written by Marie Pireddu on
Apps have been changing people’s lives around the world. It’s how almost all of us operate in our day-to-day lives. That’s why developers are driven to innovate like never before. And that’s why the app marketplaces have grown to become a place for developers and brands to showcase their innovative tools, and for users all over the world to get a hold of them.
The App Store is the only way for iPhone users to install any software on the device. And Apple has strict control and review processes over the applications that get into the App Store. The company explains that this helps them prevent potential malicious acts towards users – such as data privacy and security problems, fraud, malware, and scams.
Apps that don’t comply with Apple’s guidelines are prone to get rejected during the review process. If developers attempt to cheat the system (even after passing the review process), their apps can be removed from the App Store and they can be expelled from the Apple Developer Program.
So, how many apps are rejected by Apple? And how can you ensure your app doesn’t get rejected by and removed from the App Store? Let’s explore!
Reasons why apps are rejected: privacy violations and Spam
In 2020, Apple rejected one million apps that were submitted for the first time and another one million app updates.
215,000 apps were removed from the App Store for requesting and collecting too much user data or other privacy violations. Another 150,000 apps were rejected for either containing spam, being built to manipulate users to make in-app purchases, or having copied another app. Another 48,000 apps were removed for using or containing “hidden or undocumented features.”
Some developers use advanced methods to get their software on the App Store. Some even change their functionalities after they are approved, which results in their termination. In fact, 95,000 apps were removed for fraud and use of bait-and-switch tactics.
In addition, 470,000 developer accounts were terminated after having been found to advertise fraudulent or problematic apps. The company also rejected 205,000 developer enrollments due to a high risk of fraud.
Most recently, Apple revealed that it rejected 3.2 million installations of apps that use enterprise certifications. This is a tool big companies use to install internal-use apps on company iPhones – essentially a way to evade the App Store.
Now that we know some of the numbers, let’s keep going. How exactly does the App Store identify which apps to reject and which ones to publish?
The Review Process
Apple has a specialized system that reviews and approves apps and their updates on the App Store. Using a lengthy list of App Store rules that outlines best practices and standards, it aims to protect users and provide them with a great quality app experience. It also aims to support developers who want to express their talents and make a living through apps in a respectful way.
The tech giant receives an average of five million app submissions per year, and between 33% to 36% of these are rejected by Apple’s review team.
With over 100,000 App Store submissions per week, the review process uses Apple-designed tools that run through dynamic and static analysis processes to see inside the apps and evaluate potential hidden codes and abuse. The dynamic testing includes battery usage, file system access, and privacy requests. On the other hand, the static analysis checks for app size, descriptions, entitlements, in-app purchases, and keywords.
2. Human review
After the automated testing, the apps go through 500 human experts who double-check for malware, policy violations, and other system malfunctions.
Once the apps have been reviewed, developers can view their status in their My Apps section. Note that review times may vary depending on the app. If an app submission has incomplete information (such as specific settings, user account information, or special instructions), the review process may be delayed or the app may be rejected.
If an app is removed, developers can still appeal the decision by providing additional information or documents required by the company. However, Apple reports that very few developers do so.
How to Avoid Being Rejected by Apple
Now that you know how many apps are being rejected by Apple, it’s time to explore what you can do to help your app approval go as smoothly as possible.
1. Prepare for the Review
Before submitting your app, familiarize yourself (and your team) with the content, design, and technical criteria outlined in the App Store Review Guidelines .
Similarly, it’s vital to understand the obligations and responsibilities detailed in the Apple Developer Program License Agreement . This helps ensure that, as a developer, you’re aware of the proper use of Apple software and services.
2. Test your app for bugs and crashes.
It’s best to submit your app for review only when you’re sure it’s complete, tested, and ready to be published. Be sure to also test it on devices with the latest iOS, and check that all bug issues are resolved before submitting.
If your app is already on the App Store but might still have minor guideline issues, bugs can still be fixed, provided that no legal concerns are involved.
3. All links and content should be accurate and complete.
Similarly, it’s vital that all images, texts, or videos in your app are finalized before submitting it for review. If you opt to put placeholder content, the reviewers will consider your app not ready to be published and it will not be approved.
In addition, your App Store screenshots should clearly communicate your app’s function and value. Plus, your UI must be clean, refined, and user-friendly, following Apple’s design guide .
4. Clearly communicate your need for data.
If your app intends to request permission to access user data, be sure to accurately describe how it will be used. This will offer a better understanding of your request to access their personal details.
If you’re accessing sensitive user data, it must comply with the App Store’s guidelines to completely explain why your app needs the data.
Additionally, your app must perform as advertised. If it promises particular features and functions, it needs to deliver as committed.
5. Provide all important information.
It’s crucial that you’re ready with all the important details and documents of your app. Enter all the needed information in the App Review Information section of App Store Connect.
Be sure to provide an active demo account, valid log-in information, and other hardware or resources needed to review your app. Include the specifics of your special configurations. Also, provide a demo video if your app requires an environment that is hard to replicate or will need specific hardware.
Similarly, you need to include detailed explanations and supporting documents of non-obvious features, like in-app purchases, in your notes.
More importantly, be sure to enable all backend services so reviewers will have complete access during their review.
If the reviewers find anything missing from your submission, the app review process could be delayed and the app could be rejected.
Ultimately, be sure to follow Apple’s guidelines – on development, design, and brand and marketing – as outlined in its resources.
The guiding principle of the App Store is straightforward – to provide a safe, enjoyable experience for users and to offer a great opportunity for developers to be successful. Using the highly curated guidelines of the App Store as a basis, you can build and update your app the right way.
At GoodBarber, we have a team of experts to help our customers get their apps published on the App Store. Our goal is to keep the rejection and removal rates as low as possible.