Your App got rejected by Apple? Join the revolution!


Probably one of the most questionable sides of the AppStore is its hugely criticised approval process. The stories around it vary from approval of an app with no changes on the second try to permanent hold-outs on partners like the infamous Google Voice incident. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Despite the recent attempts by Phil Shiller to publicly defend the approval process, more and more developers (especially independent ones) throw up their hands and switch over to the much more friendly Android OS, like the creator of the iPhone Facebook app. You might’ve also noticed the comments on the process by the recent interview with  the developers of the amazing Palm Heroes game, which were far from nice.

Well, the owner of a small UK-based iPhone consultancy Adam Martin has decided not to roll over and beg! Remembering the old saying that there are strength in numbers he created a site AppRejections, a resource for developers to band together, discuss Apple’s decisions and come up with workaround solutions.

From his first post:

I’ve been an iPhone developer since late 2008.

There are now > 100,000 iPhone applications available on the App Store. However, Apple has a secret, undocumented, unquestionable, random process for deciding which applications to “allow” onto the deck.

Ever since I started, people have cried “FOUL!” when they’ve been rejected by Apple for reasons that – in the developer’s mind – were unfair.

However, in most cases, the rejections were perfectly reasonable, and/or Apple had officially warned developers “don’t do this; we won’t allow it”.

In late 2009, things changed (I’ll write more about this later). Google cried “FOUL!” and triggered an FCC investigation of Apple and AT&T’s business practices over a rejected app. The invisible submission process changed radically shortly after – and in particular the number of truly “unfair” rejections soared.

It’s now gone from “easy” to “tricky” to avoid having your App rejected by Apple.

Since Apple point-blank refuses to document the criteria – or even to discuss the matter on anything except a case-by-case basis – I decided to collate all the known examples of rejected Apps. And so this site was born…

Read it for fun. Read it to find out the cutting edges of iPhone dev that other developers are riding along. Read it to find out what you can (and can’t!) get away with. Show it to clients who ask too much, as evidence that you’re not being difficult – their app really will get rejected if you add the features they’re demanding!

Despite the hastily added comment

Since a lot of sites have selectively quoted from this page, a brief clarification: I don’t resent Apple for any of this, and I understand that it’s not easy being in their position – I just believe they could have done better, and can still do much better. I believe we, collectively, (Apple + the iPhone dev community) can do a lot more. This is my own small step to get things improving…

this indeed seems to be the start of a revolution and hopefully Apple will take notice and instead of wasting time fighting jailbreaking actually spend some of it looking in the mirror.

They made an amazing product with the iPhone and the only thing left is to make a similarly amazing approval process.

A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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