Apple Rejected Approximately 35% of Apps Submitted to App Store Between 2017 and 2019

The ongoing Epic Games v. Apple trial continues to provide insight into Apple's App Store processes, with documents today offering up details on the number of apps submitted to the ‌App Store‌ and rejected by Apple's review processes.

app store blue banner
Apple received an average of five million app submissions per year between 2017 and 2019, and between 33 and 35 percent of apps submitted were rejected by Apple's review team. On average, there were 1.7 million apps rejected per year, though the rejection rate was closer to 40 percent in 2020 based on trial testimony.

app store rejections
Apple's documentation suggests that the ‌App Store‌ sees 100,000 ‌App Store‌ submissions per week, which are dealt with by 500 human experts that Apple has on hand. Prior to getting to a human review, apps are analyzed by Apple-designed tools to check for malware and policy violations.

A testing tool called Mercury runs through static and dynamic analysis processes, with the tool allowing Apple to see inside apps to check for hidden code or abuse, and there are other review tools that Apple has nicknamed "Magellan" and "Columbus." After automated testing, apps receive human oversight.

Dynamic testing includes everything from battery usage to file system access and privacy requests to access device hardware like the camera and microphone, while static analysis checks app size, entitlements, in-app purchases, keywords, descriptions, and more.

In 2015, Apple discussed acquiring SourceDNA, a company that made a tool to allow companies to see the code inside apps. Apple did end up purchasing the company and using its engineers to design a new tool for app oversight.

Interestingly, Apple documents depict the workstation of one of its human reviewers, featuring a desktop with an iMac, MacBook Pro, multiple iOS devices, several displays, game controllers, and more.

apple human review
Apple marketing director Trystan Kosmynka was questioned for most of the morning, and Epic lawyers visited a favorite talking point - ‌App Store‌ mistakes. Kosmynka was grilled about some of the apps that slip through the review process, such as an app about school shooting that he said in an email he was "dumbfounded" had been missed.

On this topic, Kosmynka was asked if the app review process is unnecessary because of the mistakes that are sometimes made, but said that all it means is that Apple has to "continuously be better." He said that Apple works diligently to close loopholes, and that without app review, iOS would be a "free for all" that would be "incredibly dangerous to customers, to kids."

The Epic vs. Apple trial will continue for another two weeks, with the first week set to wrap up today. Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives are expected to testify during the third week.

Top Rated Comments

G5isAlive Avatar
9 months ago
Not sure I follow Epic's logic here... if mistakes are occasionally made that means throw out the whole thing?!
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Luna Murasaki Avatar
9 months ago

Apple marketing director Trystan Kosmynka was questioned for most of the morning, and Epic lawyers visited a favorite talking point - App Store mistakes. Kosmynka was grilled about some of the apps that slip through the review process, such as an app about school shooting that he said in an email he was "dumbfounded" had been missed.

On this topic, Kosmynka was asked if the app review process is unnecessary because of the mistakes that are sometimes made, but said that all it means is that Apple has to "continuously be better." He said that Apple works diligently to close loopholes, and that without app review, iOS would be a "free for all" that would be "incredibly dangerous to customers, to kids."
My house was robbed because I forgot to lock my front door on Tuesday. So I physically removed all the locks on my house!

How can anyone possibly make an argument this stupid?!
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Graphikos Avatar
9 months ago

Geez, that is 200 apps per person to review per week! Glad that is not my job! (5 apps/hour, 1 app every 12 minutes)

So according to this, every apple App reviewer has to review roughly 40 apps a day every day, year after year.
No wonder there's so much junk in the App Store. Obviously a lot of it gets rubber stamped with approval without really being scrutinized.

200 apps a week per reviewer, 40 apps a day, based on an 8 hour work day, that’s an average of 12 minutes to review each app. That’s extremely impressive to have as decent QC as they do.
As noted, "Prior to getting to a human review, apps are analyzed by Apple-designed tools to check for malware and policy violations."

I imagine the automated tools weed out a lot before they even get to human reviewers lessening the workload. A lot of apps probably just get rejected for simple things that computers can easily check for.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Realityck Avatar
9 months ago

Apple marketing director Trystan Kosmynka was questioned for most of the morning, and Epic lawyers visited a favorite talking point - App Store mistakes. Kosmynka was grilled about some of the apps that slip through the review process, such as an app about school shooting that he said in an email he was "dumbfounded" had been missed.

On this topic, Kosmynka was asked if the app review process is unnecessary because of the mistakes that are sometimes made, but said that all it means is that Apple has to "continuously be better." He said that Apple works diligently to close loopholes, and that without app review, iOS would be a "free for all" that would be "incredibly dangerous to customers, to kids."
You can have your choice unsafe free for all, or a safe environment for customers.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tarkeybear Avatar
9 months ago
Geez, that is 200 apps per person to review per week! Glad that is not my job! (5 apps/hour, 1 app every 12 minutes)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BornAgainMac Avatar
9 months ago
I am going thru my apps and rejecting them too that get approved by Apple. If an app requires me to sign up, subscribe, shows ads, or interface sucks, links that take me to Safari, or functionality poor then it gets deleted. The Apple Arcade games also increased my expectations on how a game should look and play. Those games are more like the original games that started the app store that you would pay money just up front once.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

fortnite apple featured

Apple Files Expert Witness Testimony Ahead of Upcoming Trial With Epic

Tuesday April 27, 2021 10:13 am PDT by
On Monday, May 3 Apple and Epic will meet in court as their bench trial kicks off over the dispute that Epic started last summer by defying the App Store in-app purchase rules. In preparation for the legal battle, Apple today filed the written testimonies of its witnesses with the court, and if approved, it serves the same function as actual trial testimony, providing insight into the...
app store blue banner

Apple Highlights How the App Store Prevents Fraud Amid Legal Battle With Epic Games

Tuesday May 11, 2021 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today announced that, through a combination of automated technologies and human review processes, the company protected customers from more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2020. Apple said secure payment technologies like Apple Pay and StoreKit (In-App Purchase) play an essential role in keeping users safe:With online data breaches frustratingly common,...
timcookantitrust

Tim Cook 'Practicing for Hours' Ahead of Epic Games Testimony Expected This Week

Monday May 17, 2021 4:17 am PDT by
So far, Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken a backseat in defending Apple as it faces a significant legal battle with Epic Games regarding the App Store. While the CEO has commented on the platform in the past, for the first time this week, Tim Cook will take center stage in his company's battle with Epic Games. Apple in March submitted its list of executives that will testify during the trial...
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...
Mac App Store General Feature

Apple's Craig Federighi: Mac Not Meeting the Bar for Customer Protection

Wednesday May 19, 2021 12:41 pm PDT by
Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi is testifying in the ongoing Apple v. Epic games trial this afternoon, providing details about iPhone security to convince the judge that any change to the App Store policies would be detrimental to iPhone users. Epic Games wants the judge to force Apple to allow multiple app stores on iOS, similar to how it works on Mac, which would allow...
app store blue banner

App Store Ecosystem Responsible for Estimated $643 Billion in Billings and Sales in 2020, According to Apple-Commissioned Study

Wednesday June 2, 2021 10:00 am PDT by
The App Store ecosystem facilitated an estimated $643 billion in billings and sales in 2020, an increase of 24 percent year-over-year, according to an Apple-commissioned study done by Analysis Group economists. [PDF] The study, "A Global Perspective on the Apple App Store Ecosystem," comes as Apple awaits a decision in its ongoing trial with Epic Games, much of which focused on App Store...
fortnite apple logo 2

Judge in Epic vs. Apple Case Floats Potential Compromise

Wednesday May 12, 2021 3:54 pm PDT by
In the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the two companies are this week calling up their expert witnesses to argue their points before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will make a decision in the case after a three week trial. Expert testimony is not as exciting as some of the leaked App Store documents that were highlighted last week, especially as much of what's being...
fortnite apple featured

Epic Games v. Apple Trial Wraps Up, But We Likely Won't Know the Outcome for Months

Monday May 24, 2021 4:58 pm PDT by
The three week Epic Games v. Apple trial wrapped up today, with a series of debates that were held in lieu of traditional closing arguments. The wrap up follows Apple CEO Tim Cook's testimony last week, which saw him grilled by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on Apple's App Store policies. As outlined by Protocol, at the conclusion of the trial, Rogers aimed to get at the heart of the dispute...

Popular Stories

airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new flagship iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end Ma...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
top stories 2022jan22

Top Stories: Spring Apple Event Rumors, Apple Opposes Sideloading, and More

Saturday January 22, 2022 6:00 am PST by
As we roll into the latter half of January, we're starting to hear more about a potential spring Apple event, which is likely to take place in March or April. There are a number of potential announcements on deck, so an event would be a good opportunity for Apple to get them all out there. We've also been going back and forth on some iPhone 14 rumors, and we've taken a look at a number of...
att gigabit internet

AT&T Bringing $180/Month 5-Gigabit Internet to 70 Cities

Monday January 24, 2022 9:20 am PST by
AT&T today announced the launch of upgraded AT&T Fiber plans, which support speeds of up to 5 Gigabits for some customers. There are two separate plans, one "2 GIG" plan and one "5 GIG" plan, available to new and existing AT&T Fiber subscribers. According to AT&T, the new plans are available to nearly 5.2 million customers across 70 metro areas including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

Three Months After Launch, Apple Still Struggling to Meet Demand for Redesigned 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday January 24, 2022 7:12 am PST by
Three months after their launch, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros continue to experience high demand and seemingly short supply, with shipping dates for both models stretching into multiple weeks in several of Apple's key markets. In the United States, the baseline 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip is estimated to ship in three to four weeks, promising an arrival by at least...
peloton tv workout cardio

Apple Floated as Potential Buyer of Peloton

Friday January 21, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Following months of bleak news about Peloton's "precarious state," including the revelation that it has halted production of its bikes and treadmills, Apple is being floated as a potential buyer of Peloton's troubled fitness business. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Peloton will temporarily stop production of its connected fitness products due to a "significant reduction" in consumer demand, a ...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...