How to make sure your app is accepted by app stores

As every app developer knows, the work of mobile app creation is only a part of what you have to do in order to bring the results of your toil to your users. All app stores have different policies concerning what kind of apps they accept, but one thing they do share — they all have limitations and guidelines, and failure to comply with them is the major cause of app rejection. According to Apple, 88 percent of all rejections are a result of developers blatantly disregarding the most common and straightforward store guidelines. And although criteria used by different stores differ somewhat, on the whole, they are very similar. In this article, we will cover some of the principles you can follow to dramatically increase the likelihood of your app getting accepted and avoiding any kind of potentially unpleasant consequences. It is especially important for apps that deal with sensitive subjects — for example, any apps that collect and process various kinds of confidential or sensitive information.

1. Read content guidelines carefully

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There are slight differences in what kinds of content are considered inappropriate by different app stores, but mostly they are very similar. If your app contains overtly sexual or pornographic materials, graphic depictions of violence, discriminatory or defamatory materials, content inciting religious or other kinds of intolerance and other similar types of content, it is going to be rejected 100 percent of the time. In some cases, you may even risk legal prosecution, so don’t try to be clever and get something under the radar.

2. Don’t lie

The app itself, its description, and functionality shouldn’t contain any kind of false or misleading information. For example, you cannot list among its functions those that aren’t implemented at the time even if they are planned for future releases. You cannot use logos and other intellectual property of other persons or organizations. You cannot provide false information about the status of the app in any kind of ratings and so on. Lying to your users — and to the app store guardians — is a surefire way of having your app removed and getting banned from the store.

3. Figure out ways of dealing with user-generated content

If your app has the functionality of creating and sharing user-generated content, you have to make sure there are ways of filtering objectionable content and preventing it from getting posted in the first place. In case something gets past the filter, your users have to have a way of reporting it so that you can recognize the issue and take measures in a timely manner.

4. Test your app for crashes

If your app crashes regularly, it isn’t just going to be annoying for your users. Chances are, users will never get a real opportunity to be annoyed because it is going to be either rejected outright or reported soon after posting and removed from the store due to not meeting quality standards. So do your best to test your app on as many different devices as you can, figure out when crashes happen and what causes them and, eventually, eliminate them altogether.

5. Follow the design guidelines

Both the App Store and Google Play have very specific guidelines concerning the way apps should look and work. These are not just recommendations — failing to meet the quality standards can and most likely will get your app rejected, and you will have to make the necessary alterations. So why not save yourself time and money and follow the guidelines the first time around? If your choice of design aesthetic clashes with the vision of the app store you are aiming for… well, tough luck — you will have to revise it if you want to have your app accepted.

6. Take care of copyright

You should be able to prove that you have full rights to use all the content used for the creation of your app, including programming, overall design, artwork, and texts. In case there is ever any doubt in your ownership of them, you will have to show all the necessary paperwork to prove it, so better take care of it beforehand.

7. Make sure your app runs fluidly

App stores want users to believe that they have certain standards of quality that are the same for all the apps published in them. Any app that falls short of them undermines trust for the store in its entirety. Therefore, they will try to screen out all the apps that can become a liability. It doesn’t matter how awesome the design of your app or how original its concept is if it is confusing, takes too long to load, causes memory leaks or other performance issues, it is likely to be rejected.

8. Respect your users’ privacy

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With every passing year issues of privacy get more and more traction in media, and both app stores and users themselves get more and more sensitive about protecting their personal information. Therefore, if your app collects any kind of data off your users’ devices without their permission, it can serve as a reason enough for rejection.

9. Make sure your app has valuable content and functionality

In the early days of app stores, they were flooded with useless apps that didn’t offer anything in terms of functionality beyond offering a link to the company website. Today such tricks no longer work, and your app should provide genuinely useful functionality to be accepted. It doesn’t have to be fully original — with millions of apps present on both storefronts it is hardly possible – but it should do something.

10. Make sure you didn’t leave placeholders anywhere

If you’ve left placeholder content anywhere in the app, either intentionally or unintentionally, it clearly demonstrates that it isn’t complete and shouldn’t have been lined up for publishing. Even if it doesn’t give the stores a reason to reject it outright, it will encourage them to pay closer attention to it and try to find something else that is wrong with it.

Boost your odds of getting into the app stores

Although nothing can give you a 100 percent guarantee that your app is going to be accepted by the app stores, following these recommendations can significantly improve your chances. So invest some time and money into doing it, and we are sure it is going to bring results!

Featured image: Shutterstock

Melissa Burns

Melissa Burns is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. She spends her time writing articles, overviews, and analyses about entrepreneurship, business innovations, and technology. Occasionally, she also conducts workshops and provides consulting services for young, but promising startups.

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