Apple Releases New App Store Review Guidelines with Updated Rules for Kids Apps, Gambling Apps

app_store_icon_170Apple has updated its App Store Review Guidelines, revising several sections and introducing a number of new rules based on various policies that have been enacted over the last six months.

Most notably, Apple has clarified its guidelines regarding apps for children in light of its upcoming educational policy changes and the expansion of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) earlier this year.

COPPA's new rules prevent developers from collecting information from children under the age of 13 without verifiable parental consent. While developers were previously limited from collecting information like name, address, and telephone number, COPPA now restricts access to photographs, video, and audio as well.

17.3 Apps may ask for date of birth (or use other age-gating mechanisms) only for the purpose of complying with applicable children's privacy statutes, but must include some useful functionality or entertainment value regardless of the user's age

17.4 Apps that collect, transmit, or have the capability to share personal information (e.g. name, address, email, location, photos, videos, drawings, persistent identifiers, the ability to chat, or other personal data) from a minor must comply with applicable children's privacy statutes.

Apple has also created a whole new section on "Kids Apps" as it prepares to implement sweeping changes to its educational program with the introduction of iOS 7. As part of its efforts to increase iOS device usage in schools, Apple will allow children under age 13 to own and operate individual iTunes accounts for the first time.

The new section detailing apps for children under aged 13 specifies that such apps must include a privacy policy, may not include behavioral advertising (ads based on in-app activity, for example), and must ask for parental permission before allowing children to "link out of the app or engage in commerce." Apps in the Kids Category of the App Store must be made specifically for children "ages 5 and under, ages 6–8, or ages 9–11."

In addition to its guideline changes regarding children, Apple implemented two new guidelines that pertain to gambling. Apps that offer real money gaming are now required to be free and are forbidden from using in-app purchases to offer players credit or currency to use in such games.

20.5 Apps that offer real money gaming (e.g. sports betting, poker, casino games, horse racing) must have necessary licensing and permissions in the locations where the App is used, must be restricted to those locations, and must be free on the App Store

20.6 Apps that use IAP to purchase credit or currency to use in conjunction with real money gaming will be rejected

Apple has also introduced a new guideline that prevents apps "whose use may result in physical harm" and provided a slight wording change to guideline 2.25, which first made headlines earlier this year when it was cited in the rejection of prominent app discovery title AppGratis. Under the new terms, apps that mimic the App Store will not be rejected if they have been approved for a specific need.

Registered iOS developers can access Apple’s full range of App Store Review Guidelines from Apple's developer site.

Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
97 months ago

Apple has also introduced a new guideline that prevents apps "whose use may result in physical harm"

I wonder if my app, which requires users to bash their phones into their faces, will be rejected? C'mon, Apple! :mad:
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ChrisCW11 Avatar
97 months ago
Hey Apple, why not do this?

Destroy FREEMIUM.

I mean true, I get tired of hearing about some parent shocked when they get a $30,000 credit card build because their 2 year old was pounding on an iPad for the past month buying Smurfberries. If a parent hands a device to a child without protecting in-game purchases with a password I don't believe they should be entitled to getting a refund and learn a hard lesson.

But the problem with freemium in general is they make for a really crappy game.

Was playing Jurassic Park Builder for a bit, and I mean every aspect of this game wants to drive you to buy in-game money to move the game along faster. Buildings take 24 real world hours to build, or spend 75 in-game bucks? Dinosaurs cost 200+ in-game bucks which translate to $40+ real world bucks! The problem is that you only get 1 - 2 in-game bucks for free when you complete missions, meaning you can never do anything in the game just by completing missions. You can get free in-game bucks, but you have to download countless other crappy freemium games to clutter your home screen. And on top of it all the game crashes 15 times a minute.

When a game was designed around in-game purchases then it ceases to be a game and turns into an interactive Ad tied directly to your credit card.

But in general Apple needs to do more to protect children from the instant kind of gratification that occurs when they start needing to buy in-game content. It sets a bad message to children that they just need to throw money at something to make it nicer or to get it faster, not a good life lesson to be promoting to the young. We already have a culture of people that are in massive debt, but imagine now children raised on the idea of overspending and the kind of instant gratification that spending money has. If you thought 2008 was a rough year for the economy, you haven't seen anything yet.

I think Apple should end the Freemium model on their platform. I know it might drive away a large segment of content but in the end if they actually care about kids and the quality of content on their platform, continuing to allow the Freemium model is an affront to those efforts.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
notjustjay Avatar
97 months ago

They sure can and I sure did when I was <13.


They don't really care. They've done enough to cover their hineys legally by providing the mechanism to filter by age. The fact that you can lie about your age makes it your problem, not Apple's.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Klosefabrinio Avatar
97 months ago
why dont they make a special ID just for kids, which covers all these things, so we (the parents) dont have to worry about anything.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
charlituna Avatar
97 months ago




and must ask for parental permission before allowing children to "link out of the app or engage in commerce."


And how are they going to achieve that. Simple check through, entrust that parents didn't tell kids the password to their own account, something else

This is yet another reason for why I think the idea of kids sub accounts is a better way than this whole 'school asks for permission'. Allows for account level permission setting by the parental account including banning all link at that go outside of the app, all IAP etc. Or simply requires parental approval which could be 'signed' by the parent putting in his/her id

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I'd also like to think that there are other parents out there like me who set the devices up for their kids (especially the younger kids) and so the opportunity to lie about one's age is in the hands of the parents.


Likely. Many of those accounts are set up for iCloud so that Junior is not deleting dad's address book.



When I set up my son's account, I obviously had to lie because he's under 13. But I will be changing that soon when these new policies take effect.


If he's now 13 otherwise only if his school is using iOS devices and then it will likely have to be a totally new account. MobileMe had family accounts so it amazes that iCloud doesn't, which would solve this issue

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Which part do you mean? (Not flaming, genuinely curious!)

Also, anyone think that this may mean that AppGratis will be able to come back into the App Store now?


Unlikely.

The particular purpose thing they are taking about it likely going to be more specific than just fee apps (which really should be a built in section in the store).

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Disagree totally.

So if Apple had a shop that sold hand guns and they sold a gun to an 8 year old, but their defence was "Well he ticked the box on our electronic sales register than he was 18 (or whatever age you can buy guns legally" then you feel they should be ok using that as a defence?

Or perhaps they should rather demand to see submitted some official proof of age, and not just allow anyone to tick a box and think that clears them of any responsibility.


Bed example. They can see the customer and know that it is a child

That is basically the reason why they looped schools into the system. Make the schools responsible for getting paper saying its cool for the kids to have an id. Because the schools have the parties present etc. Hopefully there will be some built in filters in those accounts to keep them from getting into trouble downloading stuff way above their age etc or Apple could still be at fault
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iMerik Avatar
97 months ago
Apple's focus and response to Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is a very positive thing that I think differentiates themselves from the competition but isn't techie enough for most people to care. If you want a good educational tool that you can also use to keep your children safe on the Internet as much as possible, are you going to pick a random Android device or an iOS device? Seems pretty obvious to parents I bet if they focus on this type of thing and not just the price tag.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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