Apple Confirms New App Store Policies on Bug Fix Updates and Challenging Guidelines Are Live

Back in June at WWDC, Apple announced several changes to its handling of App Store review, noting that it would in most cases no longer hold up bug fix updates over violations of ‌App Store‌ guidelines, and that it would allow developers to challenge existing guidelines.

app store on ios 13
In a note to developers today, Apple confirmed that those two changes have been implemented, encouraging developers to suggest changes to guidelines and Apple's development platforms.

For apps that are already on the ‌App Store‌, bug fixes will no longer be delayed over guideline violations except for those related to legal issues. You'll instead be able to address guideline violations in your next submission. And now, in addition to appealing decisions about whether an app violates guidelines, you can suggest changes to the guidelines. We also encourage you to submit your ‌App Store‌ and Apple development platform suggestions so we can continue to improve experiences for the developer community.

Apple has been involved in a number of notable ‌App Store‌ controversies in recent months, from the Hey email app rejection to the battle with Epic Games, while regulators have also been taking a look at Apple's policies regarding ‌App Store‌ commissions and exclusive control over app distribution.

Top Rated Comments

PSeg90 Avatar
9 months ago
Apple should update the policy that requires developers to explain EXACTLY which bugs were fixed. They shouldn't be able to get away with "bug fixes and improvements" as the only reasoning for update.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Beeplance Avatar
9 months ago

Apple should update the policy that requires developers to explain EXACTLY which bugs were fixed. They shouldn't be able to get away with "bug fixes and improvements" as the only reasoning for update.
Agree. Every update of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc all "bug fixes and improvements" that says absolutely nothing I need to know. If you don't tell me what you fix, ain't no reason for me to update a perfectly working app.

Apps like Reddit, Apollo, Telegram, and others actually put in the effort to state all their fixes and new features in their changelog. I appreciate those developers who are transparent about their fixes and actually highlight what's patched to users.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
VolceOntra Avatar
9 months ago

Explain to who, the final users?
Why would they care about technical details?
If all I did was bugfix, that's what I write in the changelog. If it is something a user could notice, I may want to point it out, especially if it was something I got a review about, but if I solved a weird crash that happened to a small amount of users, why should I explain it?
Because when that happens on weekly basis and then all the users are required to download the app again, it gets pretty annoying. More so, if the user is experiencing some of the bugs - it gives a false sense of hope that the bug fixes will address what they are experiencing.

I don't think the list needs to be comprehensive or overly technical, but communicating to your end users is always a good thing.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
VolceOntra Avatar
9 months ago

Features get pushed to, not just bug fixes. Depending on the app, there are many factors that play into development cycles. User feedback, competitive reasons, opportunity, staffing, calendering etc. Getting builds to the store isn’t a single step. All of these areas are part of the decision-making in getting those builds out. Teams work hard to close out bug inventory and merge this into new code. It’s a balance not an Excuse. Remember ships that don’t produce what you as a consumer want or expect won’t survive. You control their market share through downloads not Apple. If bugs aren’t listed but revs are happening at a regular rate be happy you’re getting some innovation too.
I've been a Software Engineer for about a decade. I understand the development cycle. Yet, I still value communication to end users. You can both say "WE LAUNCHED FEATURE XYZ!!!" and "We fixed a crash that could occur on workflow XYZ". Like I said, it doesn't have to be exhaustive, but if it's a bug affecting a lot of users, it might be worth point out. To a large portion of customers, I'm guessing saying a generic "We fixed bugs" seem lazy, and it looks like some users on this forum agree.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ijordano Avatar
9 months ago
I want them to force developers to use more specific language than "bug fixes and improvements" for 200 updates in a row
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ruka.snow Avatar
9 months ago

Apple should update the policy that requires developers to explain EXACTLY which bugs were fixed. They shouldn't be able to get away with "bug fixes and improvements" as the only reasoning for update.
Oh don't say that... how will Microsoft get their almost weekly MS Outlook update out if they have to actually write what they changed?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

tile sticker e1570533758981

Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Tuesday May 4, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers. Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is...
signal instagram ads3

Signal Shares the Instagram Ads Facebook Doesn't Want You to See

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:29 am PDT by
Encrypted messaging app Signal has had a series of Instagram ads blocked from the social media platform, after it attempted to show users how much data the Facebook-owned company collects about them and how it's used to push targeted ads. In a blog post, Signal described how it generated the ads to show users why they were seeing them, simply by declaring upfront the information that the...
tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
fortnite apple logo 2

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Admits App Store's 30% Cut Is Similar to Consoles, Would Have Accepted Special Deal With Apple

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:54 pm PDT by
Apple's legal battle with Epic Games is continuing on, and during the second day of the trial, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney continued his testimony against Apple. Sweeney was grilled by Apple's lawyers, and made several points seemingly favorable to Apple. In addition to mentioning how he prefers Apple's iPhone and values Apple's privacy policies that he's aiming to dismantle, Sweeney...
snapchat dark mode

Snapchat Rolls Out Dark Mode on iOS

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:17 am PDT by
Nearly two years following the release of iOS and iPadOS 13, which included native, built-in, and systemwide dark mode, Snapchat, one of the world's most prominent social media networks, has finally rolled out a dark mode theme for iOS users. Snapchat began testing a dark mode theme of its app design late last year with a small group of iOS users. Now, Snapchat says that as of this week, it...
netflix sign up

Apple Discussed 'Punitive Measures' Against Netflix for Dropping In-App Purchases

Wednesday May 5, 2021 11:03 am PDT by
As the Epic Games v. Apple trial progresses into its third day, Apple's internal documents and communications with various companies are continuing to surface, giving us some insight into the dealings that Apple has had around the App Store. Back in December 2018, Netflix stopped offering in-app subscription options for new or resubscribing members and instead began requiring them to sign up ...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Begins Transition to Randomized Serial Numbers With Purple iPhone 12

Wednesday May 5, 2021 9:17 am PDT by
MacRumors previously reported about Apple's plan to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021, and this transition has now started with the new purple iPhone 12 model in multiple countries. With assistance from Aaron Zollo, host of the YouTube channel ZolloTech, we can confirm that the purple iPhone 12 released last month has a new 10-character serial...
airtag 1

AirTag Anti-Stalking Measures 'Just Aren't Sufficient' Says Washington Post Report

Wednesday May 5, 2021 6:03 pm PDT by
The safeguards that Apple built into AirTags to prevent them from being used to track someone "just aren't sufficient," The Washington Post's Geoffrey Fowler said today in a report investigating how AirTags can be used for covert stalking. Fowler planted an AirTag on himself and teamed up with a colleague to be pretend stalked, and he came to the conclusion that the AirTags are a "new means...
iphone 13 pro max dummy notch

iPhone 13 Pro Max Dummy Model Depicts Smaller Notch

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 13 models are expected to feature a slimmed down notch, marking the first major change to the TrueDepth camera system since it was introduced in the 2017 iPhone X. We're still months away from the launch of the iPhone 13, but Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy managed to get an iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy model that represents what we can expect from the new 2021 device. Dummy...
iPad Pro July Shipping

12.9-Inch iPad Pro Now Delivers as Late as Mid-July

Wednesday May 5, 2021 7:10 am PDT by
While the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is set to launch in the second half of May, orders placed today are estimated for delivery as late as mid-July on Apple's online store in the United States — some two months later. The new 11-inch iPad Pro is faring better so far, with some configurations available for delivery in the last week of May. The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro features a Liquid Retina XDR ...