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.

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Top Rated Comments

PSeg90 Avatar
49 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
49 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
49 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
49 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
49 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
49 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)