Apple App Rejections and How to Resolve Them

  • Updated

 

Whenever you click "publish for native apps", all the information on your app is sent to the app stores via our internal PassionApp system. 

Whether it's a new or existing app, this new package of info may be rejected by the app stores. Here are the most typical causes for rejection for apps or new releases:

 

Wrong Metadata

Metadata refers to your app's description, developer name, title, icon, screenshots, and promotional images

Descriptions are a key part of any app – this is what potential users will see before purchasing, and they need to understand what your app is all about in advance. Providing insufficient or inaccurate descriptions for your app will lead to rejections.

Overview of the most common causes of rejections:

Make sure that the information provided in your app’s metadata is correct and existing. This also includes links, make sure that all the links are working.

 

Screenshots are also a part of your app’s description. They help users understand what to expect from the app. We’ve seen Apple reject apps for only providing a screenshot of the login page. You need to make sure that you have 5 – 7 screenshots that give viewers a clear depiction of the app’s interface and features.

You can use the PassionApps screenshot builder to produce great-looking screenshots for your app.

 

App Name Choices

If you choose a name that is not available or already being used by another developer, your app will get rejected.

You can change the name, even if it's just adding a minor variation like an exclamation mark ("!"), or some extension (for example, "BE light by TT" if "BE light" gets rejected). 

On the other hand, if you are holding the copyright for the name, Apple accepts documents to prove it and accept it. 

 

Using Placeholder Text

Apple doesn't allow any placeholder text, like "coming soon",  "This is an example", or “Lorem Ipsum”. Any app with them types of words will be rejected, especially in very visible buttons, such as the button in Sales Page in PassionApps.

 

Changing Your Price Often

It's true that you can continue editing your app while you're waiting for it to be approved and published. But changing the subscription price before approval causes rejection and messages back and forth between Apple and you, trying to confirm the price and explain why it changed. For example, if your app used to have a free subscription and suddenly it has a price, with no major change in content or layout, this may cause rejection. 

 

Monthly Subscription for 6-week Plans

Rejections can arise when you write "6 weeks" everywhere in the app summary, price name, explanations, sales page... and then you set up the price as "monthly subscription" because Apple perceives this as you can’t pay monthly for something that only lasts 6 weeks. 

To avoid rejection, clearly state that new content will appear every month and that the idea is for end-users to achieve great changes within 6 weeks, but the app will continue to have new content in the future.

 

Mentioning COVID/Corona or Similar Terms

App stores are very conscious about the current global situation and don't want anyone to take advantage or profit from the pandemic.

 

Data Protection

Including sentences in your app description like: “bonus: including you in an exclusive WhatsApp group”.

Apple perceives that there is no way for the owner of the app to obtain the end-user's phone number from the subscription in iTunes, so they reject the app on the conditions that:

1) They don’t know how you are going to obtain the subscriber’s phone number

2) They are worried your app might be malicious and obtain data without the person’s consent. In these cases, rejection is immediate, and you have to explain the whole process of acquiring the subscriber’s phone number, making sure you comply with the GDPR (European) and PII (American) regulations.

Best solution: avoid including this in the app summary or the content. You can share this in your ads, webpages, posts… not in the content that is visible in the app stores.

 

Promoting External Payment Outside of Apple/Google in the App Summary

Both Apple and Google take 30% commission from the payments performed in their app stores, and they don’t allow anyone to use their stores while taking payments externally: it goes against their guidelines. 

If Apple or Google clearly sees that payments are being taken or directed to external sources, they will reject your app.

 

Not Having Any Products Published

At least one product (course) has to be published and added to the pricing option. Otherwise, Apple sees an empty shell of an app and it gets rejected. 

 

One last thing: take into account that all messages start the same way: We discovered one or more bugs in your app when reviewed on iPad running iOS XXX on Wi-Fi. This doesn’t mean that your app doesn’t work on iPad running iOS whatever version on Wi-Fi. That is just the device the reviewer used to see your app, and they have to include it in the message!

 

Here are some typical messages and their possible responses. Please remember to take a careful look at them and make sure it’s consistent with the message that was sent to you specifically. Feel free to add/edit what you may think does not apply.

 

Guideline 2.1 - Information Needed

We have started your app's review, but we were unable to successfully access all or part of your app. Specifically, we need a demo account that allows us to review your subscription.

Use response below:

Thanks for your response.

We would like everyone to have the full experience of signing up for an account and subscribing to gain access to all contents of the app. That is the reason we would not want a demo app to be used.

Testing the app using a personal email address would be ideal so that all functions will be tested and all possible errors will be determined.

Kindly review and let us know if you need more information.

Thanks.

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

Guideline 2.1 - Performance - App Completeness

We still discovered one or more bugs in your app when reviewed on iPad running iOS 13.4.1 on Wi-Fi.

Specifically, we were unable to sign up for an account. An error message displayed during the process.

Use response below:

Thanks for your response,

Please note, this is not an error

When you get an error message when signing up, it means the email address you provided is already in our database and you can just log in using that email and the associated password.

You can also sign up using an email address that has not yet been associated for sign-up with any apps from Passion.io apps

Kindly review.

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

Guideline 2.1 - Performance - App Completeness

 

We discovered one or more bugs in your app when reviewed on iPad running iOS 13.4.1 on Wi-Fi.

- We were unable to buy a subscription, the “Start Now” button was unresponsive.

 

Resolution

If you have this error, check the Pricing page on your PassionApps and see if the information matches that on App Store Connect. If on the pricing page, it has a paid subscription and on App Store, it doesn’t, follow the steps on how to re-submit the IAP, reply to the review team first before sending the app again for the review.

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

Guideline 4.2 - Design - Minimum Functionality

 

We found that the usefulness of your app is limited by the minimal amount of content or features it includes.

Next Steps

We encourage you to review your app concept and incorporate different content and features that are in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.

We understand that there are no hard and fast rules to define useful or entertaining, but Apple and Apple customers expect apps to provide a really great user experience. Apps should provide valuable utility or entertainment, draw people in by offering compelling capabilities or content or enable people to do something they couldn't do before or in a way they couldn't do it before.

 

Resolution

Check your PassionApps specifically PassionProducts if the app has sufficient content, if incomplete, add more content before submitting the app for review.

 

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

Guideline 3.1.2 - Business - Payments - Subscriptions

 

We noticed that your app offers a free trial without implementing the offer in App Store Connect. Offering free trials through App Store Connect ensures that when the free trial period is over, the user will automatically be billed (unless the user has canceled the subscription).

 

Resolution

Check first on your PassionApps if there is a paid subscription, if the subscription is free, advise the app review team that this is not a free trial. “Subscription to the full content of the app is FREE”

__________________________________________________________________________________

 

Guideline 5.1.1 - Legal - Privacy - Data Collection and Storage

 

We noticed that your app requires users to register or log in to access features that are not account-based.

Resolution

Advise the app review team that your app is account-based and users need to at least register an account before gaining access to the app.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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