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
17 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
17 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
17 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
17 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
17 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
17 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

safari icon blue banner

iOS 15.4 Beta Suggests Apple to Support Push Notifications From Web-Based Apps

Tuesday February 1, 2022 2:56 am PST by
Apple is working on bringing web-based notifications to iOS, addressing a long-time concern of developers of web-based apps who have been unable to send notifications to users on Apple mobile devices, severely limiting the user experience and effectiveness of apps made on the web. With the first betas of iOS and iPadOS 15.4 released last week, Apple added a "Push API" toggle in 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,...
wordle

Clones of Popular 'Wordle' Game Flooding App Store, Including One Charging $30 Per Year [Updated]

Tuesday January 11, 2022 1:39 pm PST by
If you're a regular internet user you've probably heard of popular web-based daily guessing game Wordle, created by Josh Wardle. The game, which is entirely free to play, was introduced last fall and has been spreading like wildfire. Wordle asks players to guess a five letter word by identifying which letters are in the word and are located in the right location. Players get six guesses per...
aapl logo banner

Apple's Past Sideloading Plans, Ecosystem Lock-in Strategy, and More Revealed in Internal Documents

Friday August 20, 2021 7:35 am PDT by
Documents highlighted by The Verge and disclosed as part of the Apple vs. Epic Games trial have revealed that Apple discussed plans for sideloading apps, sought to lock users into its ecosystem using gift cards, attempted to tackle chaos in the App Store review process, and more. Several of the internal documents related to internal discussions around the possibility of sideloading iPhone...
cydia vs apple feature

Judge Dismisses Cydia Creator's Lawsuit Against Apple For Now

Wednesday January 5, 2022 9:33 pm PST by
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers today granted Apple's motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the company by Jay Freeman, creator of an alternative App Store known as Cydia for "jailbroken" iPhones and iPads. The case might not be over yet, however, as Freeman was given the option to file an amended complaint by January 19. Freeman sued Apple in late 2020, alleging that the...
app store blue banner epic 1

Epic vs. Apple Takes a Twist As 35 US States and Department of Justice Weigh in to Back 'Fortnite' Maker

Friday January 28, 2022 4:27 am PST by
Apple is stifling competition with its monopoly on app distribution through the App Store, attorneys general for 35 states told a California appeals court on Thursday. The joint statement was submitted into the appeals process that is ongoing following the judge's decision in the Epic v. Apple lawsuit, with the attorneys general siding with the "Fortnite" video game maker on the issue,...
iOS App Store General Feature Dock

Dutch Regulator Says Apple's Plan for Third-Party In-App Payments is Insufficient, Fines Apple 5 Million Euros

Monday January 24, 2022 6:33 am PST by
The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has ruled that Apple's plan to allow App Store dating apps to use third-party payment methods for in-app purchases does not sufficiently meet the requirements of a previous ruling. As a result, the ACM has hit Apple with an initial 5 million euro fine as a consequence, and fines will continue to be assessed at 5 million euros per week up to a...
appstore

Phil Schiller on App Store Knockoffs in 2012: 'Is No One Reviewing These Apps?'

Thursday May 6, 2021 1:49 pm PDT by
Knockoff apps have long been a problem in the App Store, with scam apps sneaking past reviewers to compete with genuine apps and steal sales, and back in 2012, Apple's Phil Schiller was absolutely furious when a fake app made it to the top of the App Store rankings, according to documents shared in the Epic v. Apple trial. At the time, Temple Run was a super popular iOS exclusive title, and...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Predicted to Start With Increased 256GB Storage Alongside Rumored Price Increase

Wednesday August 10, 2022 11:14 am PDT by
Earlier today, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed iPhone 14 Pro models will be more expensive than iPhone 13 Pro models. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing, but he said that the average selling price of all four iPhone 14 models will increase by about 15% overall. While higher prices would be disappointing for customers, it is possible the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will offer increased...
iOS 16 battery percentage

Apple Limiting iOS 16 Beta 5 Battery Percentage Display to Select iPhones: Here Are the Supported Devices

Tuesday August 9, 2022 2:51 am PDT by
Apple this week brought back one of the most highly requested features from iOS users since the launch of the iPhone X in 2017: the ability to see your battery percentage directly in the status bar. Ever since the launch of the iPhone X with the notch, Apple has not allowed users to show their battery percentage directly in the status bar, forcing them to swipe down into Control Center to...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Silver

Kuo: Apple to Increase Prices of iPhone 14 Pro Models

Wednesday August 10, 2022 8:22 am PDT by
Apple plans to increase the prices of iPhone 14 Pro models compared to iPhone 13 Pro models, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing for the iPhone 14 Pro models. However, in a tweet today, he estimated that the average selling price of the iPhone 14 lineup as a whole will increase by about 15% compared to the iPhone 13 lineup. In the United States, the iPhone...
ios 16 beta 5 battery percent

iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage Now Displayed in iPhone Status Bar

Monday August 8, 2022 10:43 am PDT by
With the fifth beta of iOS 16, Apple has updated the battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the specific battery percentage rather than just a visual representation of battery level. The new battery indicator is available on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, with the exception of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12/13 mini. It is also available on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, XS and XS Max, and...
battery percentage ios 16

Here's Why the iPhone Battery Status Icon in iOS 16 Is So Controversial

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:34 am PDT by
In the latest iOS 16 beta, Apple has updated the status bar battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the exact percentage remaining rather than just a visual representation of battery level, and while the change has been largely welcomed, some users are unhappy with the way it has been implemented. In iOS 15 and earlier, battery percent has not been present on iPhones that have...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive feature

iPhone 14 Is Just a Few Weeks Away: Three Tips to Prepare for the New iPhone

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:08 am PDT by
The launch of the new iPhone 14 is just a few weeks away, meaning millions of iPhone customers will soon upgrade their existing iPhone or perhaps get an iPhone for the first time. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo Whether upgrading from an older model or this is your first iPhone, we've rounded up a few tips to help you prepare for the next flagship...
iPhone 14 Lineup Feature Purple

Color Options for All iPhone 14 Models: Everything We Know

Monday August 8, 2022 3:59 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models are rumored to be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color. Most expectations about the iPhone 14 lineup's color options come from an unverified post on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier this year. Overall, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro's selection of color options could look fairly similar to those of the ...