Apple on Thursday surprised everyone by finally publishing their App Store Review Guidelines. The seven-page document details in very direct terms how to get an app approved. Apple, in the past, has been very inconsistent in its approval process, almost mysterious at times. Many developers have complained, asking Apple for some clarity. With the release of this document, Apple has finally set some guidelines in stone (almost). The post stipulates that the approval process will have to evolve as time goes on, because technology produces unforeseen advances.
"This is a living document, and new apps presenting new questions may result in new rules at any time. Perhaps your app will trigger this," says Apple in their newly-released guidelines.
The document is made up of twelve sections outlining well over 100 guidelines. Most are short and to the point rules as to why an app might be rejected, but it also includes a few situations where exceptions might be allowed.
The App Review Guidelines text is really harsh at times even stating, “If your App looks like it was cobbled together in a few days, or you're trying to get your first practice App into the store to impress your friends, please brace yourself for rejection. We have lots of serious developers who don't want their quality Apps to be surrounded by amateur hour.” Ouch.
In the introduction to the App Store Review Guidelines, Apple makes a request of its developer community, urging them to use their creativity and talent to make the best apps possible:
- We have lots of kids downloading lots of apps, and parental controls don't work unless the parents set them up (many don't). So know that we're keeping an eye out for the kids.
- We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don't need any more Fart apps. If your app doesn't do something useful or provide some form of lasting entertainment, it may not be accepted.
- We will reject Apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, "I'll know it when I see it". And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.
- If your app is rejected, we have a Review Board that you can appeal to. If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps.
- This is a living document, and new apps presenting new questions may result in new rules at any time. Perhaps your app will trigger this.
“Lastly, we love this stuff too, and honor what you do. We're really trying our best to create the best platform in the world for you to express your talents and make a living too. If it sounds like we're control freaks, well, maybe it's because we're so committed to our users and making sure they have a quality experience with our products. Just like almost all of you are too.”
With the release of this document and the relaxing of developer rules today, I look forward to seeing what great new apps get approved. Now if they would only let Grooveshark back in, I’d be very happy indeed.