Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Mastodon Client Rejections

Simon B. Støvring:

As I’m preparing version 1.0.2 of Re: Toot it feels even more bitter that version 1.0.1 for macOS has been rejected.

The reviewer said that my metadata cannot refer to Mastodon because doing so can be harmful and misleading to users. Oh, and also I’m apparently a copycat.

Meanwhile any third-party Mastodon client on the App Store refers to Mastodon. Same for bird site apps.

And the same version of the iOS version with the same metadata was approved.

Anders Borum:

One thing is the unfairness about Mastodon.

What really gets me riled up is that app review has a standard reply threatening to terminate the developer account. What are their assumptions about 3rd party developers when this is their process?

The sketchy ChatGPT app could have used this sort of scrutiny—and the developer was a repeat offender.

Nikhil Nigade:

Remember when they said they won’t reject patch version updates and instead issue a notice for us to fix in the next update? Total BS

Ben Sandofsky:

A Halide bug-fix was just rejected because the App Store reviewer didn’t understand that you’re supposed to swipe or tap on the first screen to continue.

The app has behaved this way in every single version, going back to its launch in 2017.

Thomas Ricouard:

Hey Apple, I’m so tired of this fucking bullshit submitting a damn app to the App Store where I put a ton of efforts into it. Could you put a little effort into understanding what the app is about? I can’t believe this.

They said that his Mastodon client “only includes links, images, or content aggregated from the Internet with limited or no native iOS functionality. Although this content may be curated from the web specifically for your users, since it does not sufficiently differ from a mobile web browsing experience, it is not appropriate forthe App Store.”

Via Peter Steinberger:

Next thing I make, if I ever code again, has to be runnable without a gatekeeper. If it has to be web tech, so be it.


Update (2023-01-12): Rui Carmo (Mastodon):

I follow quite a few Apple developers, and can reach back as far as 2010 for similar idiocy (some of it with apps from places I worked in), so it saddens me that in 2023 Apple still has uneven, arbitrary process to approve iOS apps[…]

Update (2023-01-13): Thomas Ricouard (via Matt Thomas):

And if you’re wondering why @icecubesapp is still not on the App Store, it’s because according to Apple it’s useless. I’m on strike 🇫🇷, I’ve stopped working on it until Apple say it’s useful.

Update (2023-01-19): John Gruber (Mastodon):

Today, Mastodon’s explosive growth in the face of Twitter’s collapse has made it a new UI playground, especially so on iOS. […] There are no limits to what developers can choose to do with the Mastodon APIs. There are, however, limits to what iOS developers can deliver to users: App Store review.


But in what can only be described as both Kafkaesque and, alas, all-too-familiar — the Ice Cubes 1.0 submission to the App Store has been held up in limbo for an entire week. The hamfisted faceless reviewer(s) looking at Ice Cubes are repeatedly rejecting it for utterly nonsensical reasons, primarily violating guideline 4.2.2, “Minimum Functionality”[…]


It is now six days — a week! — after that initial rejection and Ricouard is still banging his head against Apple’s orifice. Seven rejections in six days. It’s enough to make one start pricing Pixel phones.

8 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

This seems par for the course whenever submitting updates, no matter how innocuous.

Similar to the Halide example, last month we had a small optimisation point release of the Mac version of Magic Lasso Adblock rejected by App Review because "no rules were available". If the app reviewer had actually opened the app and followed the first screen that prompts users to enable the extensions in Safari then it would have worked. This point release didn't change this behaviour at all.

Simply explaining and resubmitting meant it was released. Similar issues have happened multiple times in the past.

Frustrating that much of App Store review seems so low effort on behalf of the reviewers.

We once got rejected because we didn't provide a video showing how our app uses NFC (we don't use NFC but an SDK has the ability to), fair enough as they detected the NFC API is called in the binary. We submitted a video and the app was approved.

We added an explanation and link to the video in the app review notes. We had many successful submissions. Then one day a semi urgent bug fix had to go out pretty quickly and it got rejected for NFC use again. The explanation and video link was still in the notes... I just copied the link from the notes and put it in a reply, and then a day later it got approved.

It's ridiculous that the reviewers don't even read the notes. But you can't complain because the risk of being permanently removed is too high.

Here's to hoping Apple is forced to open up to third party app stores, or sideloading, or whatever. They've gone well beyond proving themselves totally incapable of running any sort of proper app store. It's an utter failure and betrayal of what they promised early in the iPhone's existence.

And yet y’all keep submitting your apps to their App Store. So of course nothing substantial changes.

I'm with Bob. If anyone would like to do an in depth study of the Stockholm syndrom, this blog would provide infinite subjects.

It’ll be interesting to see how developers react to the headset thing. Apple has very much shattered any public relations between devs and themselves, so I think (and, quite honestly, hope) that 3rd party apps don’t take off.

Old Unix Geek


I'd have developed for it. Even have some cool ideas, and experience with the Oculus Rift... but yeah, having to deal with Apple is a strong turn-off. Once bitten, twice shy, and all that.

Every year (or sometimes every month) another one of these mind boggling stories comes out. And every time I remember why I refuse to make an iOS app.

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