Planning an app - Passing Apple's app review - Smile Machine
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Planning an app – Passing Apple’s app review

Planning an app – Passing Apple’s app review

How are we going to ensure we can pass Apple’s app review? Don’t let rejection slow you down.

There are so many horror stories of Apple’s review process and, with it taking on average 7 days to be approved, getting it wrong can cause long delays in getting your app to market. Whether you’re a startup or a multinational, that’s bad news.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of making it through the review process the first time. Knowing the most common reasons for rejection and taking action to correct them early can mean the difference between hitting your deadline and being forced to push it back.

Apple provides a list of common causes for rejection, such as crashes and bugs, substandard user interface and broken links. Take a look at the list here and make a note of them. It’s good to get going early on this.

Cover the Less Common Issues

We’ve built a lot of apps, and no matter how much you plan and correct before the review, there can always be something. Some of the more uncommon issues we’ve encountered include:

  • The app is designed for a very particular, small, closed audience (i.e. internal business use). Apple really only wants apps on its store which are useful to their large audience. If you are limiting access to these apps and not allowing registration of users then Apple could reject the app. We’ve been fairly lucky in the past that such apps have been approved, but there’s no guarantee of that luck holding out.
  • The app requires login/account creation when the content isn’t personalised. Simply, if an app requires a user to log in to use it, but the content is open and available to everyone through other platforms, Apple can reject it. You might have to reconsider the UX surrounding how new users launch your app. Can they access some content before being required to log in?

Finding a Workaround

Sometimes some of these issues are just unavoidable. If that’s the case, there are some alternative routes you can take for distributing your app.

Apple has a distribution mechanism used for enterprise apps. Those apps whose target audience is within one company. With these enterprise licenses, you can distribute the app yourself via the web, or even via some Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution if the devices are registered on it.

You can also distribute apps via alternate internal app stores such as Apperian, which can manage approved apps for your enterprise from your own internal stock as well as versions of apps from the official app store.

If you have enterprise devices which are only allowed a subset of apps installed, or you only want to give certain devices access to your internal apps, a store like this could be a good way to go.

It’s Not the End of the World

Even if your app is rejected, this isn’t the end of the world. Apple will give you a detailed report of why the app failed review allowing you to fix it and resubmit. Unfortunately this resubmission will still take some time, but will have warned you about all potential issues, letting you tackle them all in one go.

The Apple App Store review process is becoming less and less painful as familiarity with the way the reviews work increases.

As long as you’re sensible with your submissions and ensure the apps are of the high-quality Apple like on their store then you should have no problem sailing through review and getting your app into the hands of your users.