Thursday, August 25, 2022

Rejected for Being Too Similar to a Web Site

Alin Panaitiu (via Hacker News):

I tried to launch a simple, no-frills iOS app for party-goers and music festivals in 🇷🇴 Romania.


The app is simple, fast, does what it says without any BS unneeded complexity. I thought subsequent features would be added based on what the users would ask for.

But sure, let’s add some premature iOS native features for Apple[…]


Three more days of Waiting for review and, as before, another rejection with the same generic message.

Aren’t most iOS apps simply native wrappers for Web sites?


Update (2022-08-29): Alin Panaitiu:

About a week after this article started spinning around the internet[…] I got an email from App Store Connect that the app is now In Review. Without me submitting anything more than what was already there from the third try.

Good for him, but again it seems like there is no actual standard being set. It just depends on which reviewers you get, how they’re feeling at the time, and whether the rejection goes viral.

Joe Fabisevich:

This story about Apple’s App Store “simple apps” policy really upsets me, the policy is completely arbitrary. Apple puts a lot of effort into getting people started with programming on iOS, but those same people will build “simple apps” and get rejected.

I recently made an app that’s just for me and my friends to play daily word games together. I was able to get them onto TestFlight but TestFlight isn’t an adequate replacement. With no alternative distribution mechanism on iOS Apple is stifling creativity on their own platform.

I say all of this not as an Apple hater but as a person who loves building for Apple’s platforms and want to see them thrive. Heck, I plan to build my business atop iOS, but there’s room for home cooked apps that surprise and delight just a few people.


4 Comments RSS · Twitter

I'm starting to get the feeling that app reviewers have rejection quotas like traffic officers have for issuing citations or tickets.

There's really no other good explanation for so many bad rejections. I'm not sure even incompetence explains some of these strings of rejections. Reading that description was both hilarious and tragic. I mean, you could argue The New York Times' or Washington Post's apps could also fall under "We noticed that your app only includes links, images, or content aggregated from the Internet with limited or no native iOS functionality."

The process is irrational. And there's little you could do to drive developers mad quicker than that. ;^)

Part of me is on apples side here. If all you're doing is a website, why make an app?

@Kristoffer Fair enough, but still, ironically, Apple should be happy that instead of making a web site, the developer made an iOS-only app, which means that whoever uses that app will be locked in. Also ironically, Apple repeatedly communicates to developers that they should make native apps instead of web sites for those same reasons and to provide the best experience to their users.

Reading from the developer's post, it is clear that he is in fact providing a better experience than what could be done with a web site, on a number of levels. This is a terrible experience. He has very good reasons to be pissed.

The way I understand it is that he made a very streamlined app that would work just as well as a website.

Then when Apple complained, and lost out on what appears to have been a very focused and useful app, he added some bells and whistles that he doesn't appear to think improved the app. (Most if not all of which would work on an Android web app)

By that time I think:
*Apple should have published the app
*It still would be better as the original version in a browser

Unless it's a paid for app since monetization is easier in an app store.

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