Monday, October 31, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Wired Finds App Review Unchanged

Shubham Agarwal (Hacker News):

It took a month of frustrating discussion with Apple’s App Store reviewers and 15 revisions to his code—made more or less at random—before his update was mysteriously approved.

Nelson never learned exactly why his app was first rejected or later accepted. An appeal mechanism Apple offers to challenge a rejection didn’t help.

[…]

More than a dozen app developers who spoke with WIRED say the app review process has not improved despite recent scrutiny on Apple’s control of the App Store. In 2020 the company began allowing developers to appeal not only an app’s rejection, which can lead to a call with an app reviewer, but to challenge the App Store guideline behind a decision.

The article is ostensibly following up on the change to allow challenging the guidelines—vs. appealing a rejection—but it doesn’t seem to mention anyone who did that. Nor have I heard of any successes in that regard.

But developers commonly describe the process of convincing Apple’s reviewers to green-light their submissions as “nightmarish.” They see the appeal process as more of an attempt to deflect criticism than to substantially improve app reviewing, which remains slow and arbitrary. Former Apple employees told WIRED that app reviewers often have only minutes to review each app and work under a system that permits wide variation in standards.

[…]

Adam Dema, an Apple spokesperson, denied the inconsistency developers report seeing in app reviews. “They are based purely in accordance with the App Store Review Guidelines, not subjectivity,” he said.

There’s obviously a lot of inconsistency. And the process can’t be anything but subjective because the guidelines are so vague.

saagarjha:

A former senior App Store operations lead, who requested anonymity fearing repercussions from Apple, says the guidelines are designed to work on precedent, similar to some aspects of law. New reviewers generally get about two months to become familiar with a database of previous app rejections and approvals chosen to set precedents for each guideline.

Unlike law, you don’t get direct access to this precedent as an App Store developer. Nor is it easy to actually invoke it when you are aware it exists. Calling out a reviewer when they fail to interpret a vague guideline in line with what Apple actually wants it to mean (which you have to do the hard work of understanding) is incredibly tedious and not guaranteed to show results. And if you don’t actually understand how the rules work, you’re basically stuck :(

Philip Young:

Confident it’s the right reason to move Session out from App Store.

My last 2 updates (important bug fix, no new functionality) on Mac had been on review for 1 weeks each. Still hasn’t approved yet.

John Koetsier:

“If you’re developing for the Mac this might be shocking to you: The Mac App Store sees just 15 new apps every month on average,” says Ariel Michaeli, CEO of AppFigures. “That’s what the App Store, which sees about 1,000 new apps every day, adds in 20 minutes.”

Previously:

2 Comments

“ If you’re developing for the Mac this might be shocking to you: The Mac App Store sees just 15 new apps every month on average,” says Ariel Michaeli, CEO of AppFigures. “That’s what the App Store, which sees about 1,000 new apps every day, adds in 20 minutes.”

Wow. I guess that Catalyst / swiftUi cross platform push is really failing.

I remember years ago before the Mac App Store redesign on the main page of every category they displayed a list of new app releases. There definitely were more than 15 new apps a month back then. You could watch your app get pushed down that list as newer apps arrived on the store.

I thought it was because on Mac os devs still have a choice to self publish.

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