Popular Reddit App Apollo Pulled From App Store Over Push Notification Snafu [Update: Back in App Store]

Popular Reddit app Apollo was removed from the App Store this afternoon after developer Christian Selig released an update that adds push notifications as a premium feature, Selig explained on Reddit.

After introducing the latest version of the Apollo app, which has a paid feature enabling push notifications, Apple informed Selig that he was in violation of rule 3.2.2 that prohibits apps from monetizing Push Notifications and other iPhone and iPad capabilities provided by the hardware or operating system. The email Selig received from Apple:
Hello,
We are writing to let you know about new information regarding your app, Apollo for Reddit, version 1.3, currently live on the App Store.
Upon re-evaluation, we found that your app is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines. Specifically, we found:

Business - 3.2.2 We noticed that your in-app purchase auto-renewable subscription product provides access to built-in Push Notification capabilities, which is not appropriate for the App Store.
For this reason, your app will be removed from sale on the App Store at this time.

Deliberate disregard of the App Store Review Guidelines and attempts to deceive users or undermine the review process are unacceptable and is a direct violation Section 3.2(f) of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. Continuing to violate the Terms & Conditions of the Apple Developer Program will result in the termination of your account, as well as any related or linked accounts, and the removal of all your associated apps from the App Store.

Future submissions of this app may require a longer review time, and this app will not be eligible for an expedited review. If you have any questions about this information, please reply to this message to let us know.
Selig said that he's "quite confused" by Apple's decision, as he had worked with Apple on the implementation of the premium service after the app update was previously rejected for the same reason.

For background, several weeks ago, Selig said that the 1.3 update of Apollo had been rejected by Apple because it included the in-app purchase for unlocking push notifications. Selig explained at the time that he needs to charge to add push notifications due to the server costs associated with implementing them.

In an update earlier this month, Selig said he was able to develop a workaround with Apple by bundling the feature with other premium options like app theming and custom icons for an "Apollo Ultra" service, and the update was released on Saturday.

It's not clear why Apple pulled the Apollo app after telling Selig that it was appropriate to implement push notifications as part of a paid bundle of features, but Apple has been known for making confusing App Store decisions in the past. It's likely the issue will be solved quickly, and Selig says he will keep Apollo customers updated on the status of the app.

Update: Apollo is back in the iOS App Store and the app will be able to keep the Apollo Ultra in-app purchase option with push notifications as a paid feature.


Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
3 weeks ago
I mean, I get this for local push, but for server push? That stuff costs money and is a PITA if you try to roll your own. Trust me.

By doing this Apple is basically telling developers "Host it for free and make up for it by ramming ads down people's throats while selling their private information."

This is not good for consumers.
Rating: 17 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago
Typical example of some bozo in the App Store review team not communicating with his colleagues.
Rating: 13 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago

Used to love Apollo until I realized that you have to pay just to create an actual post from the app. I can under stand charging for the push notifications because of the need to maintain a server but such a basic feature should be free.


Sorry but I don’t agree. It’s either that or the app costs money upfront.

Development is work. People need to eat.

A large part of the app works fine without paying a single penny.

What’s more the dev of Apollo is very transparent and interactive with the users of his app. Think it’s only fair for the amount of work he puts in that you pay a tiny tiny fee to use everything.
Rating: 12 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago
If 3.2.2 prevents apps from monetizing hardware and software abilities built into the device, then YouTube should be removed for monetizing PictureInPicture and background media playing.
Rating: 10 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago

Used to love Apollo until I realized that you have to pay just to create an actual post from the app. I can under stand charging for the push notifications because of the need to maintain a server but such a basic feature should be free.


Like Twitter, the majority of Reddit's users don't post to Reddit. They upvote and sometimes comment. By charging for something the minority of users do, he can use those users which are, to the reddit community, power users to fund the development of Apollo which is for most people free to use at least in their eyes.
Rating: 10 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago
Love Apollo! Hope Christian gets it sorted out soon.
Rating: 9 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago
Miscommunication between different parts of Apple and the App is back on the App Store. Can we please update this article? Here is the proof from the /r/apolloapp subreddit ('https://www.reddit.com/r/apolloapp/comments/9shmxr/and_were_back_that_was_quick_apple_called_me_and/'):


Apollo's back on the App Store, and I'm no longer super worried and running around petting my cat wide-eyed.

Long story short, Apple called and said it was a mistake, they're correcting it, and surely enough before I even got off the phone with them my phone had got a notification that the app was reinstated.

Fun fact, got the same guy on the phone who called me a few weeks ago, and the guy is still seriously the nicest guy.

Mistakes happen, especially at a company with as many moving parts at Apple and I hold no ill will toward them, if anything I'm super impressed by the quick turn around time and how nice they were.

Want to shout out to everyone who offered words of wisdom and help, and who offered to put me in contact with people at Apple, and people at Apple who reached out too. There's amazing people out there, and you all seriously made me feel a ton better. If any of you are at WWDC this year I owe you a beverage of your choice.

So, uhh, back to working on 1.4 I go!

Rating: 7 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago
Apollo is a GREAT app. Probably one of the most (if not the most) used app on my iPhone!
Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago
Even if the feature gets pulled, I have no regrets paying $20 upfront. Hope the developer gets the matter sorted out quickly. The longer it drags, the more stressful it is on him, and that’s never cool.
Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
3 weeks ago

Well, maybe it played out the way Selig states, maybe it didn't and when he worked with Apple on the "premium service" he didn't disclose he would be making users pay for notifications.

Too much he said, she said.

Regardless, this is a perfect example of the App Store being Apple's distribution platform. They make the rules, they enforce the rules.


Selig has been very very open from the beginning about what demands Apple have made, when they have made them, how they were worded, and how they worked together on an agreeable solution.
Apple then approved the reworked app.
They then unapproved it after putting it up.
[doublepost=1540851173][/doublepost]

Used to love Apollo until I realized that you have to pay just to create an actual post from the app. I can under stand charging for the push notifications because of the need to maintain a server but such a basic feature should be free.


So what’s your job then? I assume you do it for free, right? Otherwise you are a lazy scab, stealing people’s money.

He could make the app cost one dollar, instead the app is free with one feature costing the admission price instead.
Rating: 5 Votes
[ Read All Comments ]