10 Ways To Avoid Apple App Store Rejection

If you are worried about app store rejection, this post will help you understand what you need to do to get your app accepted on the first try.

After all the hard work that you put into developing your app, it will be all-for-not if you cannot get your app approved for the App Store. If Apple rejects your app, it is usually not the end of the world. Most times you just have to make a small change and your app will be happily excepted.

In a small number of cases, if the core functionality of your app falls into one of these categories for rejection, you will have to start all over. So be sure to find out what you can and cannot do before you get started.

Here are a list of reasons that could lead to App Store rejection. You should also read the App Review Guidelines before beginning the development of your app.

Trademark And Logo Violations

It almost goes without saying, but do not misuse trademarks or logos. Apple is especially strict about their stuff, so before you decide to reference anything Apple, be sure to read their Guidelines For Using Apple Trademarks and Copyrights.


Including porn in your app will get it rejected immediately. This also goes for links to external web content of this nature. Android does allow this, if you use a third party adult marketplace.

Trying To Publish A Beta Or Unfinished App

Having an unfinished or beta app in the App Store would make users unhappy, so be sure to have a fully functioning app before you submit it for review. Fully functioning means that all the included features work well. There still may be other functions that you may want to include later, for you to consider the app complete, but leave them out if they are not working yet.

Long Load Time

Your app should generally be as fast as possible and having an app that takes forever to load does not reflect well on your or Apple, so iOS will kill your app if it does not load within 15 seconds. This is not unusual, as Android and Windows also have a maximum app startup time.

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You should do some beta testing on other devices because load times may depend on different factors during the approval process. Especially keep older phones in mind, as their processing power may not enough to load your app in time.

Using Third Party Payment Systems

If you are selling digital content, you must use the iTunes in-app payment system. This is the reason that you cannot purchase Kindle books through the Amazon app.

It is different if you are renting a room or buying physical products. In these cases you can use a third party payment system.

Gaming The Ratings System

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It is your responsibility as a developer to ask your users to rate your app, but if you influence your users into leaving you a 5 star rating, your app will be rejected.

One example would be to provide a notification screen that only provides options for leaving a 5 star review or canceling the notification. What the user does when they get to the App Store is up to them, but the screen that got them there would be considered too coercive.

Using Private APIs

Apple wants to be sure that you are not secretly accessing private information on a device (or doing other nasty things). So they do not allow you to call external frameworks/libraries or allow your download external interpreted code.

Using Unrelated Keyword Terms

Even though you should include as many keyword terms as possible when submitting your app, you also need to be sure that they are somehow related. Just because you think you can rate #1 for the search term "blowfish", that doesn't mean that you should use it for your word processing app.

Mentioning Other App Stores

Although your app may be available in an Android and Windows version, you cannot mention it in your app or on the iTunes website. To market your app on other app stores, be sure to setup a website.

Misuse Of Apple Icons And Buttons

Apple creates guidelines for buttons and icons so that your app seamlessly integrates with iOS. Only use the buttons and icons for the intention that they were designed for.

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If you keep these rejection reasons in mind, you greatly improve your chances of your app being accepted on the first try. Of course, there other reasons that your app could be rejected and Apple's rules change occasionally, but these are the big ones.

Did we miss something? Was your app rejected for another reason? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: iPhone Screen by these_are_mine on Flickr CC

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Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: September 2013

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