Ever since Apple published their (remarkably readable) App Review Guidelines the number of ‘Oh My God. My App Got Rejected!’ stories I’ve seen on a weekly basis from iOS developers has fallen dramatically.
This includes rejections for:
- “Scraping” Content from 3rd party sites
- Non official use of a 3rd party API
- Concerns over handling of user data
Now, while there is no checkbox for ‘I cross my heart and hope I’m not violating any treaties of the land’ during the app submission process there is a ‘Review Notes’ section where you can list any steps you’ve taken to remaining on the right side of the law.
For my apps, I’ve started including all of the following information (when relevant):
- APIs used, along with links to API terms of service, and just a statement such as: “This application conforms to the rules and regulations for API usage at NAME OF SERVICE.”
- Links to naming and or branding guidelines for API usage. For instance, Netflix requires that applications using their API have names in the form of “X for Netflix” not “Netflix X”.
- Name and email contact if there are questions / concerns about usage. In particular, I’ve been involved in some projects where the application we were producing was the ‘Official’ application, but it was being published under our company name in association with another provider. So, I included the contact information for the marketing manager at the ‘official’ company.
- If images, icon sets, etc. are included in the application that may have been used in other applications, I’ll put a quick note regarding where and how they were licensed.
- If the application interacts with an external site that the reviewer may not be familiar with I would include a summary of that site, including things that you might consider obvious.
An example: I’ve heard of a couple different applications for interacting with Hacker News being rejected for various versions of: “This seems like it might be shady.”
If I was submitting such an application, I would definitely put in the review notes a quick paragraph along the lines of: “Despite the name ‘Hacker News’ is not actually about breaking into computers of violating encryption policies, but is a social news site for people interested in startups, programming and interesting technical feats.”
- Lastly, the app store reviewers are poring over hundreds if not thousands of applications a week. It costs you nothing to be polite and human towards them.
As a reviewer which review notes opening would put you in a more positive frame of mind about an application:
Thanks for reviewing my application, to get started here’s a username and password for you to login and use:username: appletesterpassword: 1happypuppy
C’mon, who doesn’t like a happy puppy.
Lastly, here is the (lightly redacted) text of the Review Notes section for Flickscan – Barcode Scanning for Netflix, which was approved first try.
Please use the following account to Login to Netflix:
If you need DVD barcodes to test with, I’ve placed some up at:
Using the camera to scan images off of the screen can be problematic in certain lighting conditions. It may be necessary to print the barcodes (sorry). For my testing, I scanned over a 1000 physical DVD barcodes and had good success.