Apple 'Surprised' By Developer Frustration With Its App Review Process

Apple has told Australia's competition watchdog that it's "surprised" to hear that some developers have concerns over the App Store and the process in which apps are reviewed, rejected, or approved for distribution on the platform.

appstore

In September of last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched an investigation into Apple's ‌App Store‌ and Google's Play Store to examine the experiences of consumers, suppliers, and developers in Australia.

The commission is set to release an interim report of its findings based on customer and developers' submissions on March 31. In an apparent last-ditch effort to ease concerns highlighted in the report, Apple has provided the commission with some more information surrounding its ‌App Store‌ and App Review Process.

In a submission to the commission, Apple says that it's "surprised to hear that developers have legitimate concerns about their ability to engage with Apple in the app review process," and that it "invests significant time and resources in engaging with developers directly" to ensure the quality of apps on the platform.

Apple lays out in detail the process of how apps are reviewed for distribution on the store. It says the app review system is a "human-led process" and that all human reviewers ensure that apps "are reliable, perform as expected, respect user privacy, and are free of objectionable content."

Throughout the years, Apple has sped up how long apps submitted to the platform are under review. According to Apple, 73% of prospective apps submitted by developers to the platform are now reviewed within 24 hours, and at the end, a final verdict is delivered to developers on whether the app is approved or rejected.

If an app is rejected, Apple says it provides the developer with information on the reason for the rejection, and says that the app makers have an opportunity to "correspond with the Apple team member who reviewed the app." Furthermore, developers have a chance to appeal a rejection to the ‌App Store‌ Review Board.

Targeting concerns that Apple exploits the app review process to maintain a dominant position in certain areas, or categories for apps, Apple says its goal is to protect consumers from "fraudulent, non-functioning, malicious or scam apps." Central to the review process is the protection of consumers' privacy and security, according to Apple.

Developers also have the option to make a formal appeal to the App Store Review Board. This is comprised of senior app reviewers with a high degree of experience in reviewing apps. The Board will review the app afresh and provide the developer with their response.

The main purpose of the App Review process is to protect consumers from fraudulent, non-functioning, malicious or scam apps. Central to the App Review process is the protection of our consumers' privacy and security. That is why the App Review process is iterative and some apps may require multiple rounds of submission before Apple is satisfied the app meets all of the Guidelines.

The ACCC investigation will include submissions from Australian developers about their disapproval of the app review process or how they think they've been mistreated by the Cupertino-based tech giant. Apple rejects that sentiment, however, saying that Australian developers work directly with its Australian Developer Relations team to offer support and guidance on matters such as developing, designing, and maintaining apps.

Top Rated Comments

caloon Avatar
26 weeks ago
As an iOS developer, I am frustrated with the process. The review guidelines do not get applied equally and are sometimes even misinterpreted by the reviewers.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AndrewSib Avatar
26 weeks ago
really? they surprised? how about when Apple says we've found something suspicious in your app but we will not tell you what and after many back and forth emails and call they just say - we don't want to see you app in our appstore. How we can understand your review process, Apple?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mtneer Avatar
26 weeks ago
Wow.... talk about tone deaf.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jclardy Avatar
26 weeks ago
The problem with app review is that the scam apps get through with no issues. You see them at the top of the download charts with their $9.99 weekly subscriptions, scammy paywalls and thousands of paid shill reviews. App review lets them through with no issue. The apps get cloned and you have 5 of the same exact app from multiple "developers" running the same scam. Reporting doesn't work, the only thing that does work is creating a small uproar on twitter.

Then legitimate developers get rejected for the nit-pickiest details from the most obscure App Store policies.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
otternonsense Avatar
26 weeks ago
Reminds me when they were "surprised" by the user outcry for letting the trashcan Mac Pro die on the vine.

Apple has become so big and tone-deaf they are their own elephant in the room.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
billk711 Avatar
26 weeks ago

Wow.... talk about tone deaf.
I know these developers just don't get how lucky they are apple invented the iPhone and App Store, where would all these developers be with out apple.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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