There can be nothing more frustrating than sweating for hours developing your app for public consumption only to have it rejected by an app store.
It’s not totally avoidable, but there are ways to greatly improve your chances of app success.
With the app market comprising millions of apps and billions of downloads, app stores such as the iTunes App Store, Google Play Store (Android) and Windows Phone Store are a vital conduit between developers and consumers.
Each store has a review process to assess each app before accepting it and making it live.
Sulabh Sharma, director of app development company Sush Mobile, tells Techday that the Apple review process, for example, can take several weeks but it is extremely robust, to ensure a high level of app quality and functionality.
“It is strict to make sure customers receive a consistently good product,” she says. “The rival Android apps can be accepted and go live in a matter of hours, but as a result the quality can be far more variable.”
In April, AppGratis, which promotes paid apps by offering an app for free each day, was unceremoniously removed from the Apple App Store for violating two clauses of Apple’s App Review Guidelines.
Sharma says the experience of AppGratis is a good example for reading and understanding each store’s review process. App developers can waste significant time and money having to re-work and re-submit apps that get rejected.
“The process of developing an app properly is important but when the time comes to send it into the world the deployment process is equally important," she says.
"What’s the point of investing your blood, sweat and tears if something avoidable trips you up at the final hurdle?”
Top ten tips for avoiding app rejection:
1. Make sure your app works:
This may seem blatantly obvious, but a common pitfall can be that the app doesn’t actually work when tested. If your app doesn’t work, it will be sent back to you to fix. Best practice is to test the app on a range of devices to make sure there are no bugs.
2. Read Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines:
Not complying with these is one of the most frequent reasons for rejection.
3. Emphasise why your app should be accepted:
List all its features thoroughly and avoid saying it can do something it can’t.
4. Don’t link to third-party payment mechanisms:
Apple will reject an app that doesn’t have an in-app purchasing system, such as iTunes.
5. Don’t mention an app store’s rival when submitting your app: None of the app stores like the idea the app you’re trying to sell them will be promoted by a rival’s store.
6. Don’t violate trademarks:
Apple is likely to reject an app using Apple logos in the app inappropriately.
7. Don’t just copy built in apps:
You can’t create an app that does the same thing as a device’s default app without including a point of difference.
8. Apps that collect personal data without a user’s consent WILL be rejected.
9. Keep content appropriate:
Having inappropriate content or misleading age ratings on your app is a recipe for rejection.
10. Apps that show apps or promote apps in a similar manner to the App store will be rejected to avoid consumer confusion.