App development · App store

How do you successfully get an iOS app approved?

Steve Procter ... Venture Technologist Tech Entrepreneur seeks sales & referral partners for www.nearevo.com

February 4th, 2019

So you've created your new tech startup which has taken 6 months of hard work. The website is in place, the backend dashboards and operations/ecommerce processes are all built. You've designed, ordered and had delivered your new electronic devices all the way from China to the UK. And your app developers have been hard at working creating your apps. The Android app got pushed to the Play Store and went live in less than 30 minutes.


...but sadly Apple have found what seem to be very subjectic reasons why your app doesn't conform to their guidelines. And so 50 days on, after a few re-submissions, a phone call with the reviewer and a formal appeal (which hasn't been responded to after 2 weeks) you are pulling your hair out. Many conversations with others suggests this scenario is very commonplace.


Your business is ready to launch after some big personal investment that needs recouping fairly soon!! What do you do, how on earth do you encourage the world's biggest company to have a proper "not read from a script" conversation about what you need to do to make your app fit the criteria?


Please... all help and ideas welcome!!

Steve Procter ... Venture Technologist Tech Entrepreneur seeks sales & referral partners for www.nearevo.com

February 5th, 2019

thanks for the response Andrii. I probably don't want to go into too much detail while the app is in appeal. However it's to do with guideline 4.2 (https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/#minimum-functionality).


Essentially the app is a utility for people to tap NFC tags and get more info about whatever the tag is stuck too. The review claimed that we did not have enough data or functionality. It's a utility app so doesn't come with any data, so lack of data makes no sense. And as for lack of functionality - that seems subjective and down to one individual person's opinion. Frustrating.

Andrii Morozevych CTO, Smartphone App Dev: Limeapps.co.uk

Last updated on February 5th, 2019

Steve Procter


Thank you for a bit more details. I would say, it is quite a common problem during app store submission, to have app refused for this reason. And lots of startups and companies have this problem.


My answer probably wouldn't surprise you. The most cost-effective solution to your problem would be to add some additional functionality. I am sure you and your devs would be able to come up with some ideas. Ideally, something that could be useful for your users, but sometimes we are adding something just to please Apple, rather than a customer.


Some ideas: It could be a map, where users can see other tags or maybe you can introduce some additional actions that you can do with the tags - for example, remember this tag and come back to it using map. And I do understand that it may not be the important thing to do right now, and maybe is not useful for your business at all and almost a "dead wood in terms of business model". But in terms of solving the problem, it is cheaper to pay for a couple of days of work of dev team, then to lose money because of long-lasting battle with Apple. And to be honest highly likely that result of the appeal would be the same.


I hope this problem would be sorted and you will forget about this problem and can fully concentrate on more important things.


Regards

Andrii


P.S. Yes you are right and it is subjective, but to be honest you can't really get the objective decision for anything. Unfortunately, almost everything is subjective.

Andrii Morozevych CTO, Smartphone App Dev: Limeapps.co.uk

February 4th, 2019

Steve, it is very difficult to advise on this, as you are not telling what is the actual problem and the objection from Apple. And of course, in addition, on each submission they can highlight some other problem.


There is no recipe for success for any task, so the same is for the Apple approval.


Reality is that in most cases the experienced developers have gone through lots of app approval, and usually can predict what can cause the problem or can quickly suggest the solutions to it. Of course, Apple still can make some surprises, but in my experience, everything could be sorted.


Don't expect too much help from Apple support. They are not very highly paid specialists, but usually, if you know what you are doing, you can sort it out. They do give you a reason for refusal and you can address it.


In addition, I would like to add that while Play Store looks heaven compare to App Store, you still can have problems, but on the later stage. Approval is very straight forward, but Google can delete your app one day without any warnings if you are not following their guidelines or they think you are doing something that is not by their rules. And it could be as painful as submission. Imagine how many problems this can cause.


If you have a specific question and don't mind sharing some details, I may help you with this.

We can have a skype call or meet in London for a cup of coffee.

Steve Procter ... Venture Technologist Tech Entrepreneur seeks sales & referral partners for www.nearevo.com

February 6th, 2019

Hi Andrii, your feature idea is a good one and indeed we have a list of ideas we can add. But as a self-funded startup I have to pay my developers; and so have new features roadmapped for when we get revenues coming in, rather than all at the start. We can't keep adding features one at a time and then crossing our fingers that this will be the one that changes the mind of the reviewer - that is an expensive lottery for a startup!


As a developer Andrii, imagine a client asking you to think up and add some new features to their app. They won't tell you what features they want and you have to build them at your own cost. Once you then show the client, he will decide whether he likes them or not, and if he doesn't he will not pay you for your time. That is the situation Apple put developers in. They are acting as the client and representing their userbase when they ask millions of developers to invest in building apps and then impose subjective reasoning as to whether they will be allowed on their store. Reasoning that is applied by, in your words, a lowely member of their staff.


Sorry, I know this all feels like a frustrated rant ;-) We will of course bring our roadmap forward if needed and keep plugging away with our fingers crossed. Although 2 weeks and counting, with no response to an appeal is a very long time in the life of a startup!


Fun and games of starting a business hey ;-)