Monday, December 11, 2017

Apple Widens Ban on Templated Apps

Sarah Perez (tweet):

Following its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple released updated App Store guidelines that included a new rule allowing it to ban apps created by a “commercialized template or app generation service.” The understanding at the time was this was part of Apple’s larger App Store cleanup, and the focus was on helping rid the marketplace of low-quality clone and spam apps. But things have since changed. A number of app-building companies that had earlier believed themselves to be in the clear are now being affected, as well.


What’s unfortunate about the expanded policy enforcement is that these app makers specifically target the small business market. They build apps for businesses that don’t have the internal resources to build their own apps or can’t afford to hire a custom shop to design a new iOS app from scratch.

Instead, these companies help small businesses like local retailers, restaurants, small fitness studios, nonprofits, churches and other organizations to create an app presence using templates, drag-and-drop wizards and various tools to put together a more basic app that can then be customized further with their own branding and images.


As one app builder put it, the decision to limit these small businesses’ ability to compete on the App Store is as if a web hosting company said that they would no longer allow web pages built with WordPress templates or those made using website wizards from services like Wix or Squarespace.

Tim Schmitz:

Not everyone needs or can afford a bespoke app, and I say that as someone who builds bespoke apps for a living. I’m not sure who Apple thinks it’s helping with this.

I don’t either. What is the point of rejecting legitimate apps as if they’re spam? Can Apple really not tell the difference? I would think that templates would actually increase the quality (not to mention availability) of these types of apps. And a family of apps that work the same way is also easier for customers to learn how to use.

See also: Peter Steinberger.

Update (2017-12-11): See also: Benjamin Ragheb (2010), Bob Warwick.

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