New EU Regulation Gives Developers More Protection and Transparency in App Store Review

App Store developers in the European Union now have more protections afforded to them following the passage of new regulations this week, according to MCV/Develop and GamesIndustry.biz.

app store on ios 13
As noted by developer Steven Troughton-Smith, one of the new requirements is that operators of app distribution platforms like Apple provide developers with a minimum of 30 days notice before removing their apps from the ‌App Store‌, with exceptions for illicit or inappropriate content, safety concerns, counterfeiting, fraud, malware, spam, and apps that have suffered a data breach.

Other protections for developers include transparency on how ranking charts and "trending" lists are generated, mandatory disclosures by platform operators about preferential treatment being given to any specific developers or publishers, and access to third-party mediation for any disputes that can not be resolved through the normal app review process.

Apple has been under increasing scrutiny for its ‌App Store‌ practices, with the EU currently exploring antitrust issues related to the platform. The company also recently found itself embroiled in controversy over its rejection of apps for new premium email service Hey for not including an in-app subscription option.

Apple has taken a few steps to address app review concerns in recent weeks, allowing developers to challenge not only decisions about whether an app is in violation of Apple's review guidelines but also the guidelines themselves. Apple will also no longer delay bug fix updates for most guideline issues, allowing those updates to be delivered to users while any guideline issues can be addressed in a subsequent update.

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Top Rated Comments

AAP8 Avatar
52 months ago

That's great and all but how about protection for consumers like unbundling Safari app update from iOS updates and make it updatable independently through app store? That way the device isn't rendered useless for basic browsing when iOS updates stop.
Thats harder than it looks because Safari is really just a fancy wrapper on the Web UI View available to almost every other application on the SDK. I can see being able to update your iOS on unsupported devices being an option though - if Apple got people to agree to the limitations - but in a world where Android updates are far and few between for most people - Apple looks pretty good already.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ppetrovic Avatar
52 months ago
Well done, EU. It was about time.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Analog Kid Avatar
52 months ago
Seems mostly reasonable. At least as it's written here, it prevents Apple from taking an app down, but doesn't force them to approve an app that violates their policy. Hopefully that means more front end review and less uncertainty and disruption once you're actually on the store.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mi7chy Avatar
52 months ago
That's great and all but how about protection for consumers like unbundling Safari app update from iOS updates and make it updatable independently through app store? That way the device isn't rendered useless for basic browsing when iOS updates stop.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ruka.snow Avatar
52 months ago

Does this mean Apple would have to disclose any agreements where a company might not be paying the 30% or 15% fee because they worked out a special deal?
No it would mean Apple have to disclose that a popular/trending app actually paid Apple to be popular/trending
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Unregistered 4U Avatar
52 months ago

Hopefully that means more front end review and less uncertainty
Yay, MORE front end review! I’m sure developers are going to LOVE that. Unintended outcomes, indeed!


At least a developer will get a 30 day notice before his app will be removed for lack of compatibility with the latest software, giving them time to update it
Lack of compatibility isn’t a surprise to a developer, though. Apple communicates these things well in advance. And, if the developer is the type to miss “All apps must be recompiled by December 13th, 2021, they’ll also miss the notice 30 days before December 13th. :)
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)