Apple Shares Updated App Store Review Guidelines on Spam, Push Notifications, App Store Reviews, MDM Apps and More

Apple today informed developers that it has released updated App Store Review Guidelines, with changes that cover reviews, spam, push notifications, Sign in with Apple, data collection and storage, mobile device management, and more.

appstore
Apple's new guidelines can be found on its developer website, but we've highlighted a few notable changes below.

  • 1.4.4 - Apps used to commit or attempt to commit crimes of any kind by helping users evade law enforcement will be rejected. (This previously was a rule limited to apps about DUI checkpoints).
  • 4.3 - Apple has added new content types to its "Spam" list of app categories it considers already saturated. Fortune telling and dating apps join fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra apps as apps that will be automatically rejected unless they provide a "unique, high-quality experience."
  • 4.5.4 - New language around Push Notifications says they should not be used "to send sensitive, personal, or confidential information," nor should they be used for promotions or direct marketing purposes unless customers have explicitly opted in to receive them via consent language displayed in an app's UI. Developers must also provide a method in the app to allow users to opt out of receiving such messages.
  • 5.1.1 (ix) - Apps in highly regulated fields like banking and financial services, healthcare, and air travel or that require sensitive user information should be submitted by a legal entity that provides the services and not by an individual developer.
  • 5.1.5 - A rule that previously prohibited the use of location-based APIs for emergency services now says that developers can use location-based APIs to provide emergency services "only if you provide notice to your users in your app's UI that such services may not work in all circumstances."
  • 5.5 - There is new language related to Mobile Device Management apps that says apps offering configuration profiles cannot use third-party analytics to collect data: "In limited cases, third-party analytics may be permitted provided that the services only collect or transmit data about the performance of the developer's MDM app, and not any data about the user, the user's device, or other apps used on that device. Apps offering configuration profiles must also adhere to these requirements."
  • 5.6.1 - There's a new section dedicated to ‌App Store‌ reviews that requires developers treat customers with respect when responding to comments and says custom review prompts are not allowed: "‌App Store‌ customer reviews can be an integral part of the app experience, so you should treat customers with respect when responding to their comments. Keep your responses targeted to the user's comments and do not include personal information, spam, or marketing in your response. Use the provided API to prompt users to review your app; this functionality allows customers to provide an ‌App Store‌ rating and review without the inconvenience of leaving your app, and we will disallow custom review prompts."

Apple also provided new resources and guidelines for ‌Sign in with Apple‌, which is an iOS 13 feature that's designed as a privacy-focused alternative to Sign in with Facebook and Sign in with Google options.

Top Rated Comments

davidgaw Avatar
15 months ago
Can apps increase their value by combining spam categories? Kama Sutra fart dating apps could be a big segment.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LunarFalcon Avatar
15 months ago
* 4.5.4 - New language around Push Notifications says they should not be used "to send sensitive, personal, or confidential information," nor should they be used for promotions or direct marketing purposes unless customers have explicitly opted in to receive them via consent language displayed in an app's UI. Developers must also provide a method in the app to allow users to opt out of receiving such messages.

This is awesome, these types of spammy marketing notifications drive me nuts. Shipt and Waitr are bad about these, among others.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
falkon-engine Avatar
15 months ago
1.4.4 - Apps used to commit or attempt to commit crimes of any kind by helping users evade law enforcement will be rejected.

Does this mean Waze, as is (i.e., "police reported ahead" or "speed trap reported ahead" or "red light camera reported ahead"), is on its way out? Technically Waze isn't committing any crime, but one could argue that by being so transparent with the location of 'law enforcement' it allows users to evade said law enforcement.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aldo Ferrel Avatar
15 months ago
1.4.4 - Apps used to commit or attempt to commit crimes of any kind by helping users evade law enforcement will be rejected. (This previously was a rule limited to apps about DUI checkpoints).

Any messaging app including iMessage?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
_Refurbished_ Avatar
15 months ago


* 4.5.4 - New language around Push Notifications says they should not be used "to send sensitive, personal, or confidential information," nor should they be used for promotions or direct marketing purposes unless customers have explicitly opted in to receive them via consent language displayed in an app's UI. Developers must also provide a method in the app to allow users to opt out of receiving such messages.

This is awesome, these types of spammy marketing notifications drive me nuts. Shipt and Waitr are bad about these, among others.
Finally. I hate getting spammed deals on Dominos. I just want pizza tracker notifications. Hopefully this solves that, if not, bummer.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmaier Avatar
15 months ago

I am really surprised that dating apps are now considered spam.
That’s not at all what the rule says.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
pixel watch prosser leak

Google Pixel Watch Allegedly Leaks with Circular Design, Rumored to Launch in October

Monday April 12, 2021 2:49 am PDT by
Renders of Google's first smartwatch, codenamed "Rohan," have been shared by Jon Prosser, showing that Google plans to adopt a circular design for its flagship wearable watch. Prosser shared the renders in an episode of his YouTube show "Front Page Tech," in which he claims they were made based on marketing material he had seen from a source within Google. The renders show that the Pixel...
AppleTV and HomePod Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on New Apple TV With Integrated HomePod Speaker and FaceTime Camera

Monday April 12, 2021 3:32 am PDT by
Apple is working on a combined Apple TV with HomePod speaker that has a camera for video calls through a connected television set, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions,...
nba tracking prompt orange

Two-Thirds of iPhone Users Expected to Block Ad Tracking

Friday April 9, 2021 7:19 am PDT by
As many as 68 percent of iPhone users are expected to deny advertisers permission to track them thanks to Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, in what is beginning to look like a significant blow to the advertising industry (via AdWeek). With the launch of iOS 14.5, apps will have to receive explicit user permission before accessing an iPhone's advertising identifier or IDFA, which is...
fake airpods 3

Counterfeit 'AirPods 3' Hit the Market Prior to Official Announcement

Friday April 9, 2021 2:45 am PDT by
Apple is expected to launch the third iteration of AirPods in the third quarter of this year. Rumors and reports suggest the new AirPods will feature an updated design more in line with the AirPods Pro, but lacking in "Pro" features such as active noise cancellation. Despite AirPods 3 not yet being officially announced by Apple, counterfeit products of the unreleased earbuds have already hit ...
Top Stories 56 Feature

Top Stories: 'Find My' Expansion, iPhone 13 Pro Mockup, Largest-Ever iMac?

Saturday April 10, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's AirTags may still be nowhere to be seen nearly two years after signs of them were first discovered, but Apple this week launched its Find My network accessory program that will let third-party devices integrate with the Find My app on Apple's platforms to make it easy to keep track of your items. This week also saw fresh rumors about the upcoming "iPhone 13" and new iMacs, while...
ehric

iPhone 12 Mini Missing From Top 5 Best Selling Smartphone List of January 2021

Friday April 9, 2021 4:58 am PDT by
According to market data compiled by Counterpoint Research, Apple's smallest iPhone since the 2016 iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 mini, struggled to obtain a spot in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in January of this year. According to the market data, the iPhone 12 mini came in eighth place for the best-selling smartphone worldwide in the first month of the year. However, the iPhone ...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
Google maps feaure green

Google Maps App for iOS Finally Updated After Four Months

Monday April 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Following the completed rollout of App Privacy labels for its App Store apps, Google today updated the Google Maps app for the first time in four months. Apple in December began requiring all new app submissions and app updates to include App Privacy labels, detailing the data that is collected by the app so consumers know what they're sharing. Google didn't begin implementing App Privacy ...
epic iap feature 3

Tim Cook Says App Store Would Become a 'Flea Market' if Third-Party Payment Systems Were Allowed

Monday April 12, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
In a recent interview with the Toronto Star, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about a wide variety of topics, ranging from App Tracking Transparency to Apple's ongoing legal battle over App Store policies with Fortnite creator Epic Games. Notably, Cook said that Epic Games' desire for Apple to let developers offer their own payment systems in apps "would make the App Store a flea market":At the...