September 08, 2014
Enola Labs

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Apple has released the most common reasons apps are rejected from the App Store, in addition to the already detailed guidelines that exist for developers. Many of these reasons are already widely recognized, but some came as a surprise for developers. While Apple’s standards are notoriously known to be high and apps being sent back for changes and tweaks is not uncommon, the reasons behind why an app is rejected are not always made clear. It seems the fog has cleared with Apple’s new blog post on their developer site that outlines the biggest review criterias that are causing apps to be rejected.

We decided to figure out the best way to combat these common mistakes.

1) Incomplete Information

By far the leading cause of app rejections, incomplete information was responsible for 14% of app rejections through a 7-day period recorded in August. This simply means that all the details needed for Apple to review your app were not provided. Apple explained, “enter all of the details needed to review your app in the App Review Information section of iTunes Connect.”

Solving the Problem: Review your information a few times. Make sure you’ve filled out all necessary sections and that all information is up to date. If possible, when working with a team, have other team members look over your information, to ensure nothing is missing and everything is accurate.

2) Bugs and Crashes

Untested apps can lead to multiple bugs or crashes. If an app has too many of these problems, the App Store might promptly reject it.

Solving the Problem: Test, test and test again. You can never test an app too many times. Do not ignore crashes or bugs- make sure you’re finding the kinks in your application before submitting it to Apple.

3) Substandard UI

Poorly designed apps that are not deemed user-friendly could get the boot from Apple. User interface should not be ignored when designing an application. It’s important to consistently keep your user and their goals in mind when developing your application. Buttons that are too small or lead to nowhere, screens that are cut off, small or unreadable text, poor resolution and many more flops could cause your app to be deemed unworthy. Read more about Apples design tips on their blog, and check out some common design errors when constructing an app.

Solving the Problem: Read up on UI design or hire a designer that knows their stuff. Designing with the user in mind does not come naturally to everyone, but a poorly designed app could not only get you rejected from the App Store, but, if the app somehow gets approved, could totally ruin a brand’s reputation. You also should consider user testing to see how friendly unbiased users think your application is.

4) Non-Functional Links

If your app is full of broken links or is missing critical links, it may be rejected. Apple requires that a “user support” link with accurate contact information is provided, as well as a privacy policy link for some apps.

Solving the Problem: Check, re-check and double check all the links in your app, and read up on what links you’re required to have.

5) Placeholder Images or Text

Do not send in your application if everything has not been fleshed out. Placeholder images and text will cause your app to promptly be rejected.

Solving the Problem: Simple, finish your application before sending it in. Go through it over and over again to make sure all text and photos are provided.

6) Poorly Displayed Advertisements

Apple asks you display advertisements in your app via the IDFA. If you confirm that you use ads, but they are not displayed properly or have poor functionality, it may cause your app to get the boot. Also, make sure you confirm you app uses the IDFA- forgetting to indicate this could cause your app to be sorted into “Invalid Binary” status.

Solving the Problem: Ensure you’re testing your app on every iOS device that will use it to confirm that all your advertisements are functional and look correct.

7) Limited Web Interactions

Apps should be designed to be useful and bring something to users that a website cannot. Creating apps that simply aggregate website content, or have content not formatted for iOS, increases the risk of rejection.

Solving the Problem: Only create an app if you have a unique, useful idea that will benefit users. Do not create an app simply for the sake of having an app. Your application should solve some sort of problem for the user.

8) Repetitive App Submissions

If you repeatedly submit the same app with only minor adjustments, or submit several apps that could be better used as a single, multi-functional app, you may see multiple rejections from Apple.

Solving the Problem: Consider all of your app ideas and resist the urge to submit multiple apps. Thoughtfully review your ideas and decide whether one app will do the trick.

9) Unclear Descriptions

Vague descriptions or poor screenshots for your app that do not accurately reflect what your app does may cause Apple to turn the other way.

Solving the Problem: Write detailed, accurate descriptions and choose meaningful screenshots. Consider running your description and screenshots by an unbiased user to see if they can accurately tell you what the app is for/can do, based on your information. App store optimization is key to providing a clear message.

10) Deceiving Your Users

Within your description and application, if you deliberately attempt to make your app sound different than its functionality actually is, Apple will most likely catch on and reject your app. Promoted features need to actually happen within the app, and using misleading words and phrases to trick users is unwelcome.

Solving the Problem: Be honest about your app and do not remain vague in your descriptions. Make sure your message and functionality is clear before submitting your application.

11) Creating an App with Minimal Value

An app needs to solve a large problem and be widely useful. If your app only appeals to a small, niche market, or there is no clear use for your particular application, it may not be approved.

Solving the Problem: Take a look at apps that already exists- does yours offer something more? Something better? Are you solving problems other apps have failed to meet? Make sure you’re creating something that will be of value to a large population, and make sure you’re not creating one with hundreds of competitors that do the same thing.

Image via Apple

What This Means for Your App

When developing an application, it’s important to keep Apple’s standards in mind. Bugs, poor UI, undeveloped functions, or even just incorrect paperwork can keep your application from entering the App Store. By following Apple’s guidelines and double-checking that you haven’t committed one of the infractions above, you could be on your way to an approved app.

If your company is looking to develop a mobile app, Enola Labs can help with your vision. Our skilled development and design teams have years of experience creating beautiful, functional applications that improve processes and solve all kinds of problems.