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Avoid getting rejected by Apple App Store: Find ways to make a comeback if you do

Getting rejected by Apple App Store is more common than what you may imagine. Even when businesses think they have created a stunning app with no flaws, there are chances that it will be rejected.

Apple guidelines are very stringent. Ensuring you have a comprehensive step-by-step guide ready is paramount as you submit your app to the App Store.

There can be many reasons why App Store refuses to publish your app, but in most cases, not adhering to “App Completeness” can be the main culprit. App Completeness accounts to submitting the final version of the app with mandatory information including metadata and functional URLs. Additionally, any placeholder text, empty website or any non-permanent text must be removed before actually submitting the app. Besides offering complete details of the app, Apple demands that your app is well tested on a real device before it is submitted for App Review. Make sure you don’t treat the App Review as a platform to test your app. You don’t get many chances to submit your app.

The latest guidelines by Apple lists down every reason that can be a probable cause for your app to get rejected. This is majorly categorized into binary and metadata rejections. When you create an app from website and take the next step of publishing, you must lookout for the following:

Metadata rejection

You are lucky if you find yourself in this category. Apps that get rejected under this category have a fair chance of being accepted again. More than rejection, apps in this category are sent back to the owner to complete missing information. Let’s look at reasons that can lead to metadata rejection:

  • Hidden features or missing information: It is important that you disclose any feature that is otherwise not documented. Each and every feature of your app must be accessible and clear to the user. Avoid including any information in the app that you don’t really offer. There is possibility of being banned from the Developer Program if you don’t follow this. Missing information can also lead to metadata rejection. This may include incomplete submission, lack of configuration instructions, outdated contact information, and more.
  • Inadequate screenshots: While submitting your app to the App Store, upload the most important screenshots that define your app clearly to the user. Users don’t just want to see the app name or the description. They also want to see the interface of the app before they actually download it. Apple takes good care of its customer’s requirements so you must too.
  • Missing previews: A part of metadata is dedicated to the preview of the app, a video of the app itself that explains how it works. A good video must include a voice over and explanatory content.
  • Wrong category selection: There are many categories that Apple uses to launch your app. If you don’t get this right, they will change it themselves. You should also avoid using misleading categories.
  • Abusing app title & subtitle: Besides using a unique name for your mobile app, Apple App Store expects you to describe your app without stuffing in too many keywords. If you don’t include inappropriate content and follow the character limit (30 character), it will only work in your favor. Find a smart solution to be more discoverable on App Store. Read this blog to know how you can optimize your app to boost rankings: How App Store Optimization boosts the ranking of your mobile application
  • Inappropriate content: Regardless of the nature of your app, your app screenshot and preview must include content or images that adheres to 4+ age. An action-packed gaming app for instance, can select images or videos for preview and screenshot that is non-violent. Fraudulent, misleading, irrelevant, and inappropriate content should be avoided in any case.

Making a comeback

Like we said, it is easy to make a comeback and get accepted if you fall under this category. You can publish your app again just by fixing these issues and resubmitting the perfected app.

Find out the solutions in detail below:

  • Declare all the necessary information: Do not try to play stealth with the app store or your potential users. List down everything that is necessary in an appropriate manner. Fill in the meta information carefully and strategically to make the best of it.
  • Use ample screenshots: Use screenshots that portray the important features and highlight significant screens of the app. Create app with a standard code-free DIY app maker like AppMySite, that enables you to build high-quality, powerful, and elegant native apps. It also enables you to preview the app and take screenshots of the app screens.
  • Add a preview video: If a feature has been provided to app listers, it must be utilized to the fullest. Hence, make use of the app preview feature of Apple App store and add a video demonstrating the salient and attractive features of the app.
  • Pick the right category: Pick the accurate category for your app. If you feel that your category is not listed, choose the one that defines your app the best. Ensure that it is suitable for the category of audience you have marked it for.
  • Add accurate content: Add a title, subtitle, short description and long description that is optimized for the app stores. Follow all the guidelines and avoid stuffing unnecessary keywords. Make sure that all your content, whether textual or visual, complies with the global standards and has the ability to attract users.
  • Add a demo login account: If your app requires users to login to the app to unlock its core functionalities, then just showing a simple login screen is not enough. You must provide a valid demo account and login for the Apple reviewer to use as they scrutinize the app.

Binary rejection

Apps usually get rejected in this category due to performance inconsistencies. You may be in a little trouble if your app rejection falls under this category, not because it will not get through again but because you will need to spend some time to improve its performance.

If your app lacks standard quality design and smooth performance and fails to serve its purpose, you may have to get some work done before you submit it again for publishing. Let’s look at the most common problems and causes of rejection under this category:

  • Crashes and Bugs: This is probably one of the most important reasons that you should take care of. The last thing you want is to lead the App Store reviewers to finding bugs in your app.
  • Broken links: Apple testing can reveal if all of your links are working properly or not. This includes the link to your contact information. Test your app thoroughly before Apple catches the broken links and rejects your app for this petty reason.
  • No user privacy consideration: If your mobile app is accessing other apps’ data on the user’s device, it is important that it prompts the user for a permission. Your app can get rejected if it fails to do this and exhibits no respect for the users’ privacy.
  • Poor interface: Apple lays a lot of emphasis on user-experience. The design guidelines must be strictly followed in order to comply with Apple’s standards. Hence the experience that you are extending to the app user cannot be substandard. Before designing the app, take a look at apps that are popular in app stores.
  • No value for users: While ensuring the design and performance of the app is perfect, the purpose of your app should be valuable to the app user. If your app offers nothing great and brings nothing unique to the table, there are very high chances it will be rejected.
  • No app-like characteristics: Apple only favors apps that offer native functionality. Hence, it may also happen if the app uses web-view extensively. In short, if the app is less like an app and more like a vanilla mobile site, it will be rejected.
  • Placeholder content: The app should be absolutely ready for the users to download and free of any kind of incompleteness in any manner. So, any lorem ipsum content in design, text, or otherwise, can lead to rejection.
  • Plagiarism: Taking ideas from other businesses is one thing but repackaging their product is another. Apple expects you to submit an app that is unique, useful and not duplicate.
  • Similar app submissions: Submitting multiple apps that are of similar nature can lead to rejection. In fact, instead of offering multiple apps, it will be better that you club them to form one app which serves the users better.

Making a comeback

It’s not like you will never be able to publish your app if you have faced binary rejection. You will just have to spend a little more time fixing these issues. It is ideal to ensure that your app never gets rejected for the same reasons.

Start with evaluating the reason for the rejection, Apple will not put everything in writing for you. If you are not sure about the design and performance of your app, it’s better to go for AppMySite’s mobile app builder that offers apps that meet Apple’s guidelines and quality standards.

You can implement the following practices to avoid getting rejected by Apple:

  • Test your app thoroughly: Test the app thoroughly before submitting it to the app store. Fix the crashes, bugs, and broken links, if any, and make it as flawless as possible.
  • Update your privacy policy: Respect your users’ will and privacy and add a prompt requesting for permission. For instance, add a request for permission if your app will use the camera, location, or other in-built apps. Keep your privacy policy updated as per Apple’s latest guidelines. To do this, login to your App Store Connect account and go to App Privacy under the General section. Here, you can define how your app will be collecting and utilizing the user data. Update your privacy policy as per Apple’s norms and avoid rejection.
  • Design standard UI: Design an app that has amazing interface and ensures promising experience for users. Hire professionals if needed, but make sure that every aspect of your app looks professional and standard. To go the easy way, you can design your app with AppMySite. It makes the process of building code-free premium native Android and iOS apps a breeze.
  • Offer value to users: Instead of offering multiple apps, club it as one to offer a coherent and wholesome experience to users. While ensuring perfect design and performance, also make sure that your app offers something unique and substantial to the users. Also, avoid using too many web-view pages or site like functionalities within the app and curate a more mobile-like experience.
  • Add good quality and original content: Remove any placeholder text or design and fill it with meaningful and helpful content. Also, avoid plagiarism at any cost and create unique designs and copies for the app.

Ending note

Apple follows meticulous guidelines for maintaining a wonderful ecosystem for its users. This is the reason why App Store has apps that perform better and look more stunning compared to other app stores.

We recommend diagnosing the possible reasons of rejection and contacting the Apple Resolution Center for more details. Initiate a dialogue with them and make use of their guidelines and resources as much as possible.

However, we understand that it is probable for business owners to not understand all the guidelines or to not know how to react to rejections. Thus, the best solution to this is to create apps with an advanced DIY app builder. AppMySite’s free online app maker extends a service to all its users where they can build an app for free and also get and add-on if they require experts to publish it on the App Store. So, go ahead and make the most of it!

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