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App Store doesn't accept “too simple” apps (alinpanaitiu.com)
561 points by alin23 on Aug 19, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 349 comments

This sucks... I'm sorry you had to go through this. The App Store review process is just pretty bad. It's especially frustrating when you see downright shitty apps on the store. The "black-box" aspect of it makes it that much more kafkaesque too.

When I first submitted my app on there, they rejected it and complained that I used HealthKit but didn't mention it in the app description. The thing is, I did. My app description had a list of "highlighted features", one them being "Apple health integration".

I was about to file an appeal, but then I saw a couple other apps with "Integrates with Apple Health" on its own line in the description. Figured that's probably what they were looking for (even though the guidelines don't explicitly say that) so I changed it and boom, the app was approved. I hate it, but it's not worth my time or the risk to fight it.

For what it's worth, I think your app looks really good!

I wouldn't be too surprised if they simply hire armies of reviewers that simply work through a checklist with limited room for interpretation/personal evaluation.

I a way, they could just publish their internal checklist to make this process better for everyone, but I suspect it might cause bad actors to find ways to comply with the rules and still deliver crap to the store; almost like the rules they currently use are security by obscurity (with the side-effect of rejecting apps for seemingly random reasons).

I would be, considering how inconsistent the reviewers are.

I had 5 - 6 rejection before I got it exactly right with Apple on "Integrates With Apple". It was a total nightmare! Now I finally have my app on the App store. All this to get access to step count. I couldn't just drop the functionality after working on it for so long but it wasn't a critical one at best for the app's functionality. My app's main functionality is rearranging the google calendar and getting those tasks placed correctly without any context switching or time wasting. Here's my ios App store link: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/atomic-life/id1594368125.

> it's not worth my time or the risk to fight it.

I think this sums up so much about the situation we're all slipping into.

It also guarantees we'll slip into it up to our necks and never get out.

Yep, I got this rejection when I made this tipping app (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/tip-69/id1460610078).

I went on to add OCR detection for receipts so you don't have to type in the amount, I added more tipping modes, I added split bill functionality, and eventually added an entire social network with the ability to share your receipt for the world to see, like or comment on.

Must have spent months trying to get approved by Apple.

I'd rather no one ask me why.

I'm honestly blown away that Apple approved an app to suggest "funny" tip amounts in a thread where we're complaining that that Apple's standards are too high.

It's not hard to comprehend. Apple has a huge pool of apps to deal with. Enforcement is inconsistent. There are apps that are being overpoliced while bait-and-switch scams are floating to the top of the ratings.


100%. Humans and processes are fallible.

And algorithms have no humanity. Between Google Play's automated rejection, and Apple's people rejecting you manually, somehow neither works quite as well as it should.

For the record, I will continue to point to this as an argument in favour of being able to load ones own software without needing approval from a third party.

I have no love for Apple's walled-garden, and I absolutely appreciate 69 jokes, but this app is stupid.

the first apps I remember on iOS were a beer glass that poured out beer when you tipped the phone, and a lightsaber app that made sheeewwwww sounds when you swung the phone around. We loved them

It's ok to make stupid apps as long as you're not scamming.

The oh-so-serious nature of the current online experience sucks

> ...a beer glass that poured out beer when you tipped the phone, and a lightsaber app...

Oh I remember those two. I think they were installed via Cydia[1] no? Or maybe it was right after, when the official AppStore was launched. Silly, but great wow factor in those early days.

[1] for the youngsters here: Cydia was the only way to install apps in your iPhone before the AppStore was created (circa 2008). You had to jailbreak your phone, install Cydia, and then we had a handful of apps that demonstrated iPhone's capabilities.

I remember my first app was some marble labyrinth game, that served as a fantastic demonstration of iPhone's accelerometers. Pretty surreal at the time.

Saurik, Cydia's main developer, is frequently seen around on HN threads.

Thanks for linking these. What a fun read. The first few years of the App Store always seemed like the golden age. Users had no idea what these devices could do and were so eager to download and try new things, which fuelled some awesome indie creations.

They certainly were. I had both :)

The beer glass app definitely didn't require a jailbreak, because I used it well before I even jailbroke my iPhone. It was a legit App Store app.

When the beer glass app got started every app required a jailbreak because officially there were only Apple apps, the App Store did not exist.

Wasn't there also a lightsaber sound effect application for Mac laptops, back when they had spinning hard drives with accelerometer sensors that triggered the head to disengage?

Yes, I loved it!


I read somewhere that for the past decade this app concept won't work on Macbooks because with the SSDs they no longer have the sudden motion sensor which was used to shut down the hard drive to protect it in case of an accidental drop.

I have fond memories of the beer glass app. I showed it off numerous times after I got my first iPhone

In my ideal world, Apple wouldn't have a walled-garden at all. But if they will, then there needs to be a certain bar for apps to meet to be included. And to be clear, there are plenty of existing apps that don't meet such a bar. But Tip 69 definitely doesn't.

Let the users decide.

Actually, there's an interesting notion that could exist on both the official App Store, or in a hypothetical non-Apple one: cull apps that have too low usage activity. But give them a fair shake by attracting attention to them, then seeing what users make of them. And when you do remove low-to-nil use apps, don't remove their listings, keep them as archived entries that users can try to vote back to life.

Obviously, a lot of these mechanisms would be exploited by bots and the like, because the internet just can't have fun experimental interactivity anymore. Doesn't scale.

If we could have nice things, I absolutely agree.

Tap Tap Revenge was great. There’s so many clones on the app store now, but nothing that approaches the usability and fun.

Just to be fair, the beer pouring app was a somewhat clever use of the accelerometer even if it was rather pointless, this one on the other hand skip's the whole clever part and jumps right to pointless.

If you’re not the target audience, then that’s fine but it’s pretty rude to insult someone’s work just because you’re too high brow for it.

Not every app has to be a serious thing that revolutionizes the world. Sometimes, people want and appreciate “stupid” apps.

To be clear, I am absolutely not "too high brow" for such an app. I, personally, wouldn't use it, but like I said I appreciate a 69 joke. But if Apple is going to insist on a curated App Store, then an app like this should not be allowed.

I mean, clearly not, the app is now published. And who are you to say, in any case? If Apple had a bar, it's up to them to know what it is and enforce it.

Parent comment never said Apple had a problem with the concept, but that the execution was "too simple". Once enough functionality was added, the app seemed to be approved.

And somewhat sadly the dumb apps you shit out over a weekend make more money than the 'serious' apps you can spend months on, because the dumb apps are fun.

I’m happy to see stupid apps that took some effort to make. What I don’t like is the dime a dozen garbage apps.

take my eyes but not my app

Yep, the social network function is also my next go-to for getting this app accepted. Glad to hear it at least worked for someone, gives me hope.

I'm thinking of adding an IRC client so that people that go to the same festival can talk about it in the days before the event, but it's all anonymous and ephemeral so I don't get into GDPR and privacy territory.

> I'm thinking of adding an IRC client so that people that go to the same festival can talk about it in the days before the event, but it's all anonymous and ephemeral so I don't get into GDPR and privacy territory.

That's a really cool idea. One of the more unfortunate side effects of this curated feed filter bubble people find themselves isolated into, is the demise of the shared experience. Festivals (and other real life events) are the last bastion of shared experience, and you've found a good way to translate that to the digital realm.


Once you set your mind to something you gotta see it through.

Huh, that looks useful for me!

That's what I tried telling them! "Apple, yes, there is lots of tipping apps. But do any easily tell you what to tip so your bill total ends in something dumb like 69? no!"

You have IAPs.

They've done this since the early days of the app store. Mostly-content apps without really broad appeal have long carried a high risk of rejection.

> Homescreen widgets: utterly useless, but can't get more iOS-y and less webapp-y than this, right?

This especially, but really the whole post reads like the system working as intended.

Granted (as the author notes) way too much shit gets through anyway, but that's not an excuse to do even worse. I do, as a user, wish they'd tighten up the rules a lot and improve enforcement. I'm quite sure it'd improve my experience on the store (and probably on the web—imagine how much better the Reddit site would get, probably overnight, if their app got pulled over not being well-justified).

I think Apple has every right to tighten up their first-party App Store, but they should also acknowledge the user's right to install what they want. Maybe some people do want a "too simple" app, and I don't think Apple has the right to tell the user what is-and-isn't appropriate. It's common sense. This would be a great time for them to add a Developer Mode a-la Android, and also start purging their own shopfronts. If Apple genuinely believes they can compete in a free market, they should have no problem restocking their store.

> Maybe some people do want a "too simple" app

In fact, aren't these preferable? I just want a weather app that shows me the current weather and a forecast, without any social bullshit, accounts, ads, etc.

Also, if iOS users have that "one app" they can't live without, surely it makes them stickier? Why would Apple want to limit the chances of hitting that spot with their users by curbing the number of apps available?

Exactly this, one of the things that really struck me about apps on fdroid is just how simple they are.

They do one thing, and (usually) do it pretty well, probably because the developers probably don't have the time and resources to do anything more than that. But that's perfect for someone who just wants the thing on their phone to do what it says on the tin.

I'm convinced that if iOS was opened up to third party app stores, a potentially popular store wouldn't be a Facebook/Google monopoly store that exists solely for user tracking, but rather something boutique and niche like F-Droid (except maybe without the FOSS focus). The current App Store is huge and unwieldy, its search and discovery UX dated. There's ample room for third party app stores that specialize in high-quality design, or high-functionality minimalism, or privacy and security. They might even have higher standards than the official App Store.

> The current App Store is huge and unwieldy, its search and discovery UX dated.

It’s worse than dated. The top results are ads. I’d pay a monthly subscription fee to return to the App Store search/UX from before it had ads.

And those ads actually cancel out search results!


Couldn't better search and discovery by achieved today by building a curated website that links to the Apple app store?

But with no ads, apple doesn't make money :'(

> the user's right to install what they want

Apple has no interest in any right that won't make them richer

There are other products people can buy if they want to install random apps. At this point, everybody knows what the iPhone ecosystem is about.

Well, the EU is starting to think the iPhone ecosystem is about anti competitive behavior and poor customer experience. The intentions of a multinational corporation are completely irrelevant when talking about the real-world impact on thousands of developers.

The deal is the same as it ever was: Apple can continue selling their extremely safe applications with their extremely secure payment system and state-of-the-art curation team; the only condition is that other shops get to play along too. There's zero downside to them going this route, I think it would allow them to further secure the iPhone by paring back the entitlements allowed for their store. Nobody would criticize them for this, but Apple's greed prevents them from conceding.

Just think about how you'd feel if your Mac could only use the App Store to install software. Personally, I wouldn't even be able to do anything on it if that were the case.

Screw the impact on developers. As a user, I'm more concerned about the impact on users.

The EU is dead wrong. EU commissioners have absolutely zero clue about what makes for good "customer experience". There's one party that has proven, for 15 years now, to have the most clue about that. It's Apple.

That's a fine perspective to have, but many people feel that a government of elected representatives is a better place for determining and adjusting impacts on people.

I find myself in the utterly bizarre position (to me, anyway) of defending a megacorp against government interference because government has failed to reign in the bad behavior of the entire rest of the software market. Granted the EU's headed the right direction, but they've still not gone far enough, and the US is way behind. I hope EU citizens get what they want, but am also hoping we don't see those effects bleed over into the US market—yet, with the legal protections we have in place right now.

My preference would be that spying and hoarding data about users simply be outlawed (plus a bunch of other things, some of which Apple does, unfortunately, allow) and those laws be well-enforced—and also the walled gardens opened up, by law if necessary, but I'd much rather not see the latter without the former happening first, since the current state of things in-fact lets me choose to have some protection against that bad behavior, without significant time investment on my part. If that private regulatory service breaks down for any reason, I'll simply be worse off, as things stand.

The "if iOS is opened up, Meta will put Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp on their own app store and steal user data" doomsday scenario has always seemed a little half-baked to me. Regulators on both sides of the pond are scrutinizing tech companies for all sorts of issues now. I doubt the EU will just be asleep at the wheel if Meta sets up a massive data collection op on European citizens. User data and privacy is just as important to them. Perhaps governments can walk and chew gum at the same time.

> The "if iOS is opened up, Meta will put Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp on their own app store and steal user data" doomsday scenario has always seemed a little half-baked to me.

Meta was literally already caught doing this by abusing enterprise certificates to bypass the App Store to spy on people, including children, until Apple stopped them.


Yes, and presumably the authorities would not go easy on them next time, with the greater political pressure to rein them in. And if Meta was doing that on their own third party store where all attention can be focused on them, misbehavior would be even more visible because they would not be hiding it behind someone else’s platform.

This happened after GDPR was in force and the EU was pushing hard on privacy. I just think it’s a little silly to dismiss as “half-baked” the idea that Meta might do something they have already been caught doing before. This is not a company that is afraid to break the rules when it comes to privacy.

It also happened under the cover of an obscure promo program that was far less visible than a rival app store. I don’t believe it is a true precedent for the hypothetical people are worrying about here.

Another important factor is the consumer backlash it’d engender.


To do something as disruptive as to create a new App Store and force everyone to migrate is not easy. Users are sick of juggling as many user accounts as they do already. Not all existing iOS users will switch, there will be grassroots viral social media campaigns on other platforms warning people not to use it, and it will bring a lot of bad PR. It would not be a frictionless transition and Meta would quickly discover that it is more trouble than it is worth. (And as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, I don’t believe Facebook or Google have the gumption these days to create widely popular new products these days.)

Ultimately, I believe both the public in the form of democratic government, and in the form of consumers, can be counted on to do the right thing. We should not put ourselves in the position of simply relying on one corporation’s benevolent paternalism to check the power of other corporations.

So what you're saying is that the app store is just as good as the government in this case? If meta will do this anyways, I'd rather have the openness and democratic oversight

> So what you're saying is that the app store is just as good as the government in this case?

No part of my comment said this.

A "government of elected representatives" (which is not what ruled in this case, of course, that's not what the EU body in question is) actually is the worst possible way to determine what a good customer experience.

Which is why God invented corporations for this purpose. I'm all for democracy, and there's a place for that. This isn't it.

How are users aware of the existence of "too-simple" random apps they're missing out on, if those apps were banned from the App Store?

I don't. Please tell me.

anything running linux, windows 10, or a rootable android device.

macOS, for that matter, despite over a decade of predictions that that'd be taken away.

Well only if your app is codesigned and notarized..



You can test this. Compile hello world and send it to your friend.

Every developer does, but I doubt that's the case for users. They like the App Store, true, but few of them are aware of what kinds of barriers Apple places to new apps there.

The user has no "right" to "install what they want". Words have meanings.

Apple absolutely has the right to control what apps are available on its store, and what apps are not. This isn't about what is "appropriate"; you just made that up.

This also has nothing to do with "common sense", or at least what you think is common sense.

> The user has no "right" to "install what they want". Words have meanings.

If I own a gadget, I own it. That means that I _have the right_ to do whatever I want with it, including jailbreaking it, disassembling it, or throwing it from a cliff.

Apple might not like it, and might take punitive action. Void the warranty, maybe even cancel your Apple account. But they can not send me to jail.

Relax. Nobody is talking about sending you to jail.

What's at issue is whether you have the right to force Apple to carry any apps you want, in their App Store. And you don't. It's really that simple.

> whether you have the right to force Apple to carry any apps

We are explicitly talking the opposite - let me install apps even if Apple disapproves of them. No need for the Appstore. Just let my sideload my own software on my own device I paid for with cash.

No, what's at issue is whether Apple has the right to gatekeep the relationship between people who have bought one of their phones and developers who write software which is capable of running on those phones.

The EU has decided that Apple doesn't have that right, just as companies don't have the right to enforce a contract which requires that the signer becomes their indentured servant. We don't accept slavery of meatspace humans, so it is only consistent that we don't allow companies to own our digital selves too.

Relax. My post didn't talk only about jail.

> you have the right to force Apple to carry any apps you want

You might be talking about that, but I get the impression that the rest of us are talking about something else. I have, for example, specifically mentioned jailbreaking.

Ah, jailbreaking. You mean that thing that you can now, and have always been able to do, without anyone interfering?

Having trouble seeing which tiny sliver of a point you have left.

Have a very nice day

We're talking about sideloading, buddy.

I don’t see why you’d reject ‘mostly content’ apps as long as they have the content to justify keeping on your phone? If I want an app instead of a website that is my business.

I’m all for rejecting ‘low effort’ apps, but this app clearly isn’t low effort.

Offline content as an app without extra permissions seems pretty justified. This is a curated Flipboard or subreddit with the ability to buy tickets, which maybe you could do on Flipboard/Reddit, but then Flipboard/Reddit would profit from the curation, not the person doing the curation who made an app.

Ran into the exact same problem with a very simple camera app I made. Camera app was completely gesture based. So you never had to find a button to quickly flip the camera to the other side of the phone or find the button to start/stop recording. It made using a camera a lot quicker to get multiple shots of a scene and your reaction shot. Also added in stabilization to the front lens, which was easy but wasn't enabled at the time in the native camera app.

I got the "too simple" response.

Which was the whole point. A camera with zero buttons. I still pointed out the 5 or 7 features it had that technically the iOS camera wasn't doing. I would get a different reason back then. So I'd argue a different point. Then after weeks of this, it came back with the "too simple" reason again.

And I was left with the same conclusion. I don't think Apple wants anyone "outsimpling" their camera app. Maybe if I had added a social network to it or filters or something I could have finally gotten it approved. But I lost the desire to keep fighting :)

(Just by posting this, now I fear I broke some kind of TOS, and can never publish an iOS app again?)

(author here) Man that camera app sounds so good! I love gesture based apps, and I'm tired of going looking for buttons on the most used functions of a device..

The biggest problem I try to convey is that you have no way of knowing you'll get the rejection without putting the work in first.

So you, like me, wasted probably days (if not weeks) to create a fully functional app, spent much of that time on user-facing functions that you would have probably not needed, only to find that it was for nothing.

It's not like on Android where you can just share an APK with your friends.

TestFlight still has to review your betas, if you want to at least share the app with someone else.

Thanks! Yeah, exactly. Even put in the work and a little but of money to create a slightly fancy icon. Called it Somersault to convey how easy it was now to switch lenses, and the icon was a camera somersaulty conveying kind of thing. But alas, not published, and haven't touched iOS dev again.

Disgusting, I am sorry. I love gestures and it sounds like you came up with a very neat app

The maddening/frustrating part is that Apple ACTUALLY APPROVED almost exactly the same thing, and ironically, by another commenter elsewhere in this thread:


The app is by the same developer, and is findable at https://apps.apple.com/us/app/zero-ui-gesture-only-camera/id...

So clearly, the App Review process is not deterministic, and highly dependent on which reviewer you get or something similar.

This kind of story, along with many others, is why I have no interest in developing on iOS. I've made a handful of web apps for fun, and have mulled over ideas that could be a real business, but they're always web first. The aggravation and risk that comes from having your platform owned by Apple scares the hell out of me.

Man folks really gotta stop supporting Apple. Company ethics are terrible. But then again folks don't treat tech with the same ethical standards as they treat other industries.

The real reason is that they don't want more apps. There are too many, so any small independent dev has an uphill battle getting their app approved.

> The real reason is that they don't want more apps. There are too many…

Is your thought process here that 3.7 million apps is where Apple decided to draw a line in the sand?

I don’t see how that wouldn’t make sense…

It’s not that they decided to set an arbitrary threshold of 3.7M apps, but that they have become more stringent on app approvals in light of the growth and quantity of apps in their store. I don’t think GP’s comment requires an incredulous snarky response, despite me not doing a great job making this point…

My comment was sincere. I'm interested in what the parent commenter believes triggered Apple to start specifically targeting small, independent developers.

Tightening guidelines can be an emergent behavior of an app store's growth. Reviewers' incentivizes likely play a huge role in this, and the power trip they get from rejecting things.

You can't picture a meeting where relevant stakeholders decide that there's a glut and it would be better if there are fewer, better apps? Dev relations would say that their contacts believe it's hard to get noticed amongst so many apps. Reviewers would want to see more quality, etc. I can see how it happens.

FWIW, I think OP's app looks very decent and would have no issue in approving.

Well then I do apologize for my bluntness. The sibling comment put it much better: RE: “emergent behavior.”

Cheers, it is a good question.

FWIW, I completely got your point. The Android ecosystem is horrible for this kind of thing. There are roughly 200,000 varieties of calculator apps. Why? There should be some criteria to help consumers avoid poorly supported simplistic clones that are often just filled with adware.

Yeah… I’m a relatively sophisticated consumer, and the state of the Play Store means that if I’m looking for any app to “do a thing” (as opposed to an official app for a company), it’s effectively impossible for me to get that app only via my phone. I have to wait until I’m at a desktop with a big screen and mouse/keyboard where I can efficiently browse through reddit comments and GitHub repositories to figure out what’s worthwhile, what’s junk, and what’s spam.

But that's a problem with Play Store curation, which must not necessary involve rejecting apps. Much like with spam, marking can be enough.

Ratings were supposed to be the criteria but we all know how well that worked...

So I just did a quick search on the web for calculator app on the apple store (I don't own an iPhone) and for thr first one I found (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/calculator/id458535809) the same developer already has 3-4 other calculator apps and I see a couple of other calculator suggestions). So there might not be 200,000 calculator apps on the app store but maybe some 100s (?).

After maybe 10 or 20 the number doesn't really make a difference any does it? You will not look at them all to see how good they are, it's a function of how well the review/star system works. And yes that is a mess on the play store (is it better on the app store?)

A side note, a calculator that tracks my location, and other privat identifiers (see link above) and still charges $5?!

Is there?

If 200,000 calculator apps all fulfill your need, what is the problem? Just use one, and if it doesn't, use another. Use the stock one if you want, or ask some friends what they use.

I agree rating systems are not an effective measure, and can be gamed, however.

There's something to be said for knowing you're using the best available app for something. Obviously, if that means keeping better apps out of the pool, that's a failure. However, one near-guarantee with 200,000 calculator apps is that whatever app you are using is suboptimal: you are definitely not using the one that would work best for your use cases, flow, comfort, or whatever. For some people, none of that matters. For others, the FOMO wears on them.

Most of them probably don't fulfill my needs. They're likely stuffed with ads and spyware, have numberic precision issues, are missing functions I need, are subscription-based etc.

These days, I just use F-Droid for this sort of thing.

For a calculator, using a ti emulator for with the ti-89 software is a great time

> There should be some criteria

Aren't ratings and reviews good enough?

Ratings and reviews are localised. I see different ratings and reviews than you.

Now that would be a fascinating development. Apple blocking most new apps because there are already too many of them. I can imagine some scenarios.

"Candidates for this job are required to have released an app on the iOS store"

"Fortune 100 corporation is suing Apple because it won't accept its app"

"Only 1 in 154 app applications is accepted by Apple"

"College admission consultants are starting to recommend high school students seeking admission to top colleges to release an app on the Apple store"

"Study shows college applicants who have release an app on the iOS store are twice as likely to gain admission to an Ivy League school"

"82% of Harvard's class of 2028 released an app on the Apple store prior to admission"

"Study shows that releasing an app on the Apple store and advertising that fact in your online dating profile triples your odds of a match"

> Fortune 100 corporation is suing Apple because it won't accept its app

Apple refusing Fortune 100 apps happens more often than people think IMO.

Big corps churn out apps that are mere browsing shells of an otherwise widely available online service, just to have an icon on the AppStore. And they’ll get shutdown for that, forced to add some dumb gimmick to the app to get approval.

Which would be weird, because that means, like an oracle investor they need to predict which new apps will be a hit and are worth adding, and which will be flops and will add to the noise.

If they ban all new indie apps, then the next hits are going to happen over in Android land, and Apple miss out on a lot of revenue.

Maybe that is the idea, make a hit on Android first, then you are allowed in the Apple store!

Why, they can reject but make notes, keep statistics of what "too simple" features people try to develop. Then some of that could be rolled into their existing core apps.

This reminds me of the StarCraft Arcade which was supposed to be the successor of the Warcraft 3 modding scene. Well it turns out they didn't add a way to browse all maps, you can only pick among the top 50 of maps. How do you get your map to be in the top 50? The creator must upload his map and only he can host it and then play it with other players until it is popular enough to displace one of the top 50 maps. What this means is that the original maps were entrenched because it was impossible and incredibly inconvenient to play any other maps.

If you wanted to play a map you would just upload it yourself, which then counts as a separate map in the popularity statistics meaning all new maps had pretty much zero popularity in the ranking.

Compare this to warcraft3 where playing a map downloads it onto your computer and people thereby build up a collection of maps they can host organically through playing the game. People host maps they like so you got an automatic ranking system where good maps spread on everyone's computers and bad maps don't get shared further.

To expand on parent’s point, it’s not that they want a set number of apps available. They’ll just raise the bar as they approach what they see as “too many apps” situation, and will put pressure on app devs to show better, more viables ideas to their eyes. Noise will still grow, but at a way lower pace.

To your point, there’s two mechanisms already at play: indie devs need to spend significant effort to be published, so they need to at least believe in their ideas (weeds out an enormous number of new apps already), and they need to keep maintaining their apps, as they’ll get garbage collected if the app stays unupdated.

If only they'd go and cull the list of already accepted/approved apps that are nothing but clones. that would probably make the list so small that it would look bad.

Or they could let the users and developers decide how many apps are too many apps.z

Letting people install programs without a store!? Ridiculous!

This is probably true, and also so sad.

They have their business reasons, but this comes at the detriment of some many things, as they’re fighting tooth and nails against side loading.

There’s a few million garbage apps waiting to be deleted.

Namely the billions of unique apps for ever single brandless Chinese peripheral ever.

Exactly. The reviewer isn’t thinking about the big picture. It’s so weird people think this. As if the Ceo is reviewing every app.

> Which was the whole point. A camera with zero buttons. I still pointed out the 5 or 7 features it had that technically the iOS camera wasn't doing. I would get a different reason back then. So I'd argue a different point. Then after weeks of this, it came back with the "too simple" reason again.

One way to get around this might be to have a mandatory tutorial that must be executed on first install. At least you know the random reviewer assigned to your product will be aware of all the features available, and as a benefit you have a way to onboard new users who might be mystified about why this product is useful. This might be a hassle for new users, but after your first approval, you can add a skip option in an update.

You probably embarrassed Apple for how simple a camera app can be.

They will probably replicate his design in the future.

Knowing Apple it's probably in the works already and that's the reason the app was rejected.

Not knowing Apple’s approval process, is it possible to pull a “Ship of Theseus” on the App Store, like release a full-blown social network app and then gradually replace features until it functions as a simple camera app instead?

How frustrating. I wonder how common it is for devs to dump significant effort into an iOS app / passion project only to be told "No" by the App Store review process.

Is there any way around this? The prospect of building a functional piece of software that cannot be deployed is kind of tragic :/

>Ran into the exact same problem with a very simple camera app I made.


>(Just by posting this, now I fear I broke some kind of TOS, and can never publish an iOS app again?)

This is how your loyalty to Apple's racket is rewarded. This is your prize for buying hundreds of dollars of their equipment and paying hundreds to license their development kit and get your software reviewed for their locked-down phones.

But it's okay because [vague arguments about "protection" and "privacy"]

It's about making sure the apps are on brand with Apple delivering the best experience to its users.

Lol @ claims to make best environment for users by alienating a whole segment of users...

That's the entire reason I buy only Apple products! /s

* Protection and privacy policy not honored in all countries.

They’re not vague, they’re documented and substantial.

Very little of iOS is FOSS, so whether or not Apple actually protects your privacy boils down to "just take our word for it".

Transparency is a dependency of trust. Apple is not transparent, and therefore I trust an iDevice about as far as I can throw it.

> paying hundreds to license their development kit

hundreds or hundred?

Hundred per year isn't it? So 'hundreds' seems reasonable.

One hundred. Every year.

After year 1

I don't know, I'm not a iOS developer and I probably never will be. hundreds is the figure from a couple years ago when I last looked into it.

Poor software developers, how could they ever afford to overcome these massive barriers to entry. Every. Year.

If only they had a decent source of steady income.

Snark aside, I suppose that most independent iOS developers don't receive enough in sales to offset the $99 entry fee.

I suppose that the kind of enthusiast Apple prefer to see on their platform is an enthusiastic consumer. Which very much aligns with their desire to keep their gadgets in the class of locked-down home appliances, like a TV or a gaming console.

This is true. It’s very hard to make a consistent buck these days.

I’m tired of people acting like this $99 entry fee is insurmountable. It should not even be a thought. Easily spend more than that on food every week, half of which probably gets thrown away anyway.

Consider spending a week without food; would it be fun?

Even here not everyone has a FAANG salary or is a CxO of some well-funded startup. A lot of creative types who come up with fresh ideas are students, or sometimes even high-schoolers.

Create an app with complex filters and social shit and make the app hit an HTTP endpoint to see if they should be enabled on startup. Once the app is accepted into the store, hide the stupid features remotely. :-)

Or just make an app with a bunch of weird filters and shit, and an option in the settings to turn it to a simple app.

I had a moment of disillusion when I first bought an iPhone. I came from Android, and when you open up the Marketplace, 99.9999% of the apps are useless piles of shit. I got an iPhone, and was so excited to open up the App Store. I did, and I found that 99.999% of the apps were useless piles of shit, many of which didn't even run on my devices.

I have no idea what Apple is trying to achieve with the App Store. If every app were a Top 10, that would be amazing, and that's what you'd think you get from all the human curation. (How can every app in an app store be the best? Reality distortion field, trust me.) Instead, you just spend a million hours getting your crap app through human reviews until the human is like "you know what? FUCK IT" and they just let it in. The result is an App Store that's probably going to have laws made against it, for absolutely no gain for the end user. I don't get it.

As an app developer this is my experience as well.

It's way easier to get good ratings on the App Store than on the Play Store. I was confused why, until I noticed that it's just that the standards for apps of iOS users are way lower. There is so much trash around. Especially trash that wants to scam you for money and gets thrown into your face at the top of the list. They crave for anything that isn't a complete pile of shit.

On Android it's different. There is lots of good apps and thus users are way more critical even if the app is the exact same one as on the App Store.

Some apps are "too simple" but at the same time, something along these lines is OK by Apple's standards:

"Thanks for purchasing the Acme Kettle! In order to boil your water, you need to download an app! But don't worry, it's easy! You just need to create an account, enter your personal data, accept our legally binding terms and conditions and verify your phone number and your email, "for your safety"! Oh and we will push mandatory OTA updates to your kettle's firmware! We may remove functionality to your Kettle from time to time, to protect you and your loved ones!

Release Notes

v 0.0.112 - we are sunsetting the "boiling" functionality. the ability to boil water has been removed. Acme Corporation recommends using the kettle as a jug, it's ideal for cold drinks!"

Or re-enabling the "boiling" functionality requires upgrading to their subscription plan, to help pay for their online service which checks that you are using official Acme branded water.

This is exactly why I didn't get the Joule sous vide immersion circulator despite it being recommended by some big name sites when it first came out. Why would I get something for cooking that can't be used without an app on a phone?

I don't agree with apple that this should be rejected, but it does seem like something that would work better as a web app. Also then it would be available to people on other platforms as well.

I honestly sometimes wish apple had kept to its original plan of only having web apps instead of native apps. I hate constantly being told to download some app for something that works perfectly fine as a website.

Especially when they decided to deliberately break the web app to get you on the app.

With the nerfing of web apps this is too fscking anti-competitive of Apple. If web apps were in fact first-class (or even first-and-a-half class) citizens, I would give them a pass.

They have a weird little back and forth going in this regard, lots of the stuff on their app store is basically a webpage (or literally one, if it's a webview app) but then they keep holding features back from Safari so you need to be on the store to access them. I don't envy people in that situation, where you've got a good website but your iOS users want one or two small features that can only be offered via the app store.

Maybe this is a controversial opinion but I think I agree with Apple here.

The Google and Microsoft stores are absolutely full of completely useless featureless apps, many of which exist only to trick you into thinking that it is something else.

My general mental rule is "could this app be a website"? And in this case it absolutely could be.

> My general mental rule is "could this app be a website"? And in this case it absolutely could be.

By this logic the overwhelmingly vast majority of the App Store's catalog shouldn't exist.

...and I wouldn't necessarily object to that outcome, but still.

> My general mental rule is "could this app be a website"?

More to the point: "Is this app interactive?"

I'm not convinced this one is. It displays information and allows the user to passively do things with that information (like adding shows to their calendar or buying tickets), but there's nothing the user can do to customize their experience within the app.

Ah, so Reddit for example should not be allowed an app?

I mean, that's a bad example, the Reddit app is absolute garbage.

I guess airbnb shouldn't have an app

Or Uber, Lyft, Spotify, Netflix, food delivery sites, basically any website (according to the GP)

There is a pretty big difference in apps where you have an account and interact in real-time with service providers, notifications are a critical part of it, etc.

Browsing a list of events is nothing like it

What if it uses GPS and sorts the list by proximity to events? Does that make use of the phone’s capabilities?

You say it sarcastically, but yes, I do hold that view. Our current norms are absurd.

What app so you think deserves to be an app

Especially now that you can add a website as an icon to the home screen and it largely feels like a real app.

That feature is much too hidden to consider it a viable option for the mainsteam.

>My general mental rule is "could this app be a website"? And in this case it absolutely could be.

Can't every app other than a browser, phone and messaging be a website?

I'm sure you'd love it when Apple starts pushing a whitelist of "high quality" URLs to your phone banning you from going to any other website to keep you safe from the trashy parts of the web.

That's a slippery slope argument, and a bad one.

We need a law to open up these devices. Just because it's a Duopoloy instead of a Monopoly doesn't mean we should be forced into using a device only the way these companies dictate.

The whole idea of the App Store is, to me, actually worse than no App Store at all. If you want to find popular software, normally you google for it, and go with the recommendations from a trustworthy publication. Yes there is malware on the internet, but there is also malware in the App Store! Let the market try to solve these problems since Apple and Google can't.

The App store taxes minus their expenses is more than federal taxes, and even taxes you if you make a net loss unlike the government.

There really isn’t all that much malware on the App Store. I like the way things are to be honest, apple does its best to protect my device, ecosystem and privacy and it works for me without having to expend brain cycles. If I wanted an open phone I would just jailbreak the iPhone or get an android.

Except Apple is also heavily going against Jailbreaking, with multiple lawsuits in the past, and system updates made specifically to patch them out, and nothing else.

Sure, you can stay on older iOS Versions, but you would be loosing actual improvements

And that's why we should open up stores by law if necessary.

Apple shouldn't be the one to tell me what kind of apps I can have on the device I've bought with my money.

You already knew what you were getting into when you bought it, and Apple is far from having a monopoly.

I feel like this is a counter productive non-solution. The free market, in this case, isn't as free and full of competition as we would like. Smartphone OS's are basically a duopoly, and Android has serious challenges of its own.

That being said, a choice has to be made because two different entities have mutually exclusive rights: Do you side with an individuals' right to install whatever they want on a device they purchased? Or, a large company's right to restrict devices however they see fit?

Personally I side with an individuals' right to install whatever they want on a device they purchased. Without that "right to repair" individuals are only renting their devices from a duopoly. Very unsatisfying!

There's competition of regulatory regimes—mandatory and strict (could be stricter, IMO) vs. optional and looser.

Absent government outlawing a bunch of the bad behavior Apple tries to curb, I like being free to have that choice to opt into their regime. When corporate dragnet spying and other hostile bullshit is outlawed and the laws are effectively enforced, sure, I'd want Apple to tear down the walls on their garden.

(please don't just post "but you wouldn't have to use alt stores!" in response—it's been done to death on here, and everywhere else, differences opinion are apparently irreconcilable and we're not likely to gain any ground here today, and Android's still kickin', so the option for that kind of environment does exist for those who want it)

Amusingly, advocacy of optional regulatory regimes enforced by corporations is usually a right-Libertarian position. Not that that's necessarily a point in its favor (see again: I'd much prefer this crap simply be illegal) but those folks do love free markets.

> There's competition of regulatory regimes—mandatory and strict

Ok, well then there is similarly competition of regulator regimes in the literal sense.

> I like being free to have that choice to opt into their regime

Different governments, are competing with different set of laws. I like the fact that I can have these government laws.

And if Apple does not like these laws, then it can opt out of the EU market, when their laws come into effect.

They can opt into a different country, by not selling their product in a place that has laws that they don't like.

Except that it takes 5 mins even for a non-technical person to install CalyxOS and you get full control over your device and what apps you install using between FDroid and Aurora Store with 100% feature parity with mainline Android.

Sure, it’s only half of a Duopoly. So if you don’t like Apple you have exactly one other option.

> Apple shouldn't be the one to tell me what kind of apps I can have on the device I've bought with my money.

I'm confused. Did you buy an iPhone not knowing that it's not a general purpose computer?

Because the environment and therefore opinions change over time, and Apple App Store purchase lock-in is a high barrier of entry to switch to different ecosystem.

For example, when I purchased my device, Fortnite was still available on the device, and Apple wasn't actively blocking Xbox's Cloud Streaming (back then it was xCloud Beta)

How would that preclude the belief that Apple shouldn't do that?

Anyone can believe anything, but if one is buying products that don't do what they need or want, that seems like a poor use of funds.

Example: I can buy an Xbox and curse Microsoft that I can't play The Last of Us on it, but that's really on me.

In plenty product categories its basically impossible to find a product by a company that doesn't do something that it "shouldn't" do, and nevertheless picking one of them is still better than not picking any.

Well there is an alternative solution. That alternative solution being to force Apple, under threat of legal action and massive fines, to do what we want them to do (using the legal and legislative process).

Giving nation-states control over how Apple runs their business in their countries based on what a tiny sliver of the most technically-adept users wants will somehow engender freedom. Is that the pitch?

> Giving nation-states control over how Apple runs their business ... based on

If you don't like the political process then you can vote for someone else, who will pass the right laws, or appoint the right people to make such laws.

If you don't like the legal process, then do that, leave the country, or do business elsewhere.

Countries have a right to have laws that regulate companies. The population does not belong to Apple.

That population has a right to run their country how they see fit, regardless of the objections of Apple.

And if Apple tries to get around the law, you can expect them to suffer billions and billions of dollars of fines, or further legal consequences. Countries do not belong to Apple, and they have no right to get around the legal process.

Apple - like every corporation incorporated here in the United States - would literally not exist if it wasn't granted recognition as such by at least one nation-state. God forbid there be some conditions on that massive privilege.

Conversely, though: what gives you the belief that you should get to dictate to companies built and run by other people the way in which they run their business? Why do you get to decide?

Because they are a member of the public, and companies operate under the laws that the public deliberate upon.

> Did you buy an iPhone not knowing that it's not a general purpose computer?

Just because it’s the best of two bad options doesn’t mean you have to be happy with it.

App store submissions are a pain in the ass. And a mess.

The appstore connect website keeps giving timeouts and errors. One client took me 2 hours to create all products manually. Scripts wouldn't run.

I submit around 5-10 apps per month. Much more more automized updates, same codebase, sort of same content.

The process is pretty standardized.

50 procent is accepted no problem. 50 procent is rejected.

They refer to vague guidelines written by lawyers. And when asked for specification often refuse to give an answer.

IAP products are reviewed independently so if they are not in sync that causes an app reject without notifying you.

All of it sucks.

Apple makes it complicated on purpose and they don't care much for new small developers.

Seriously, what's up with App Store Connect crapping out so often. It's just generally so slow too.

And the IAP thing you mention... Happened to me except they approved the app without the IAPs?! Users would just see these IAPs as unavailable until I had to resubmit a whole new build.

Yeah that also happened this week. It's one big mess. And they dare giving developers any form of criticism.

I submitted a bug issue once over the phone. She was nice. Took me two weeks to submit all kinds of request of screen recordings and browser details. All i got back was after 2 weeks is to update my safari and see if it keeps happening.

Once the giant is taken down, there will be few left rooting for them.

Out of curiosity, since iOS seems to have a ~20% share in Romania, why not launch on Android first (which makes business sense at ~80% market share)? And if Apple keeps dicking around, at least make it easy for the mobile site to be installed as a web app to iOS homescreens.

@Apple Seriously?

Three big and important reasons:

1. What the dev themselves use. I don't want to use an app that the dev doesn't use daily.

2. What the development experience is like (tooling and API)

3. If you wish to monetize your app at all, iOS users spend disproportionately more. It's not about % of devices so much as it is about % paying users. (Same idea for the % of the target market, how many music festival goers use iOS?)

I write a lot of popular software I don't use daily, if ever. I suspect you use something written by someone in a similar position :)

Android users are significantly less likely to pay for an app because by default you can install any apk file on Android. Basically piracy is rampant.

On iOS you have to go through the jailbreaking process first to do the same.

> Basically piracy is rampant.

This is true in a limited sense. Pretty much any app that relies on Google Play Services has a sort of DRM built-in, you can package it into an APK but it won't let you use the app without buying it. Installing it on a device without Google Play Services won't let it run at all.

Kinda scummy, but a decent tradeoff to keep pure AOSP devices without DRM.

> Android users are significantly less likely to pay for an app.


> because by default you can install any apk file on Android.

False, its because majority android apps are freemiums with shitload amount of ads, that was Google's way of introducing the app store to the masses and particularly the reason why android even survived. People try to make the general population the villain that they don't like to pay,but Google's whole business model revolved around showing ads on apps also I have rarely found irl people in my college/work life who have actually tried installing apks outside store.

In short, I hope you can put the blame on Google for making people addicted to the ad infested model.

> because by default you can install any apk file on Android. Basically piracy is rampant.

I think you're overestimating the number of people who both know you're and can be bothered. Even in tech circles I don't personally know anyone doing this. People may not be paying for apps, but the piracy is not rampant either.

maybe there's an app on Android already or maybe OP wants to learn iOS programming/SwiftUI/Swift.

The weird thing is I wouldn’t even consider this to be “too simple.” There are far, far more simple apps on the App Store. This is basically just a conference app, which arent usually much more complex than this and are basically just a (usually very ugly) wrapper for a website. At least this is trying to fit in with the visual style of the platform.

Weirdly a few years ago (7?) I made the most stupid app for a friend. The app was really bad and coded with my feet as I never did a mobile app. It was based on Ionic and just had one screen. It was a feeding calculator for horses for a brand of horse feeds. You input the weight of the animal, the age and it's level of activity and it calculated how much feed to give daily and what type of feed. The app was clunky, outright bad. It got approved on the first try. I was surprised.

My experience is that if they don't understand the market, they tend to approve. But if they understand the market, the reviewer might make the determination that market is overcrowded, so the appeal they are looking for is "differentiation". Yes, I don't work for Apple.

Thinking more on this, I'm guessing a lot of rejections come from having an application that depends entirely on receiving network data.

This is actually great news for web developers. Everything he listed on the second try will soon be available on the Web. Why make a native app, indeed?

Notifications coming in iOS 16

Share button has long been available (navigator.share)

Location - implemented long ago

Buy - ApplePay for the Web

Add to calendar, subscribe to calendar is possible

Sending emails and SMS is possible

WebRTC and speaking with people in real time

Even the Contact Picker for adding contacts from your address book! You can turn it on right now in "experimental" features. Does anyone know if it's coming in iOS 16?

Is this a new requirement? I remember for Kubecon Seattle 2018 using an iOS app (named KubeCon+CNC) that was nothing more than a schedule viewer for the event. It didn't even use native views and given how narrow the audience for the app was -- attendees for one of two 3-day conferences -- I was surprised at the time that it even existed as an app and had made it past the app store review.

I also know of at least one app, a sanitary self-certification app that allows your entry into a European country by generating a QR code to display, that is also basically a shell around a simple web app with a form. It absolutely should be an app given how convenient it makes accessing the entry requirements and generated QR code, but its existence does make these app store requirements seem absolutely arbitrary.

This sucks as a developer and I sympathize.

But, I absolutely hate when I have to download an app for something that could have been a website.

A few years ago I had made a website that worked perfectly as a website. Many people asked "why isn't it an app??"

Guess you can't make everyone happy

Only developers will ask for it to be a website. Normal people are perfectly fine with an app.

What a joke, if they reject it then there should be concrete reasons given to the developer otherwise this is just nonsense.

> > > Hello,

> > Thank you for your response. We encourage you to consider ways to make your app stand out.

> We understand that it can be difficult to determine what the best experience is to offer your users.

> While there isn’t one set answer that works for every app, the following iOS development videos offer great

>information for helping understand how your app can provide a great user experience: – Essential Design Principles –

>Design Tips for Great Games

> You may also want to review the Human Interface Guidelines available on Apple Developer.

> Best regards,

> App Store Review

That is some passive aggressive, nose all the way in the air, *bullshit*.

Be better than this Apple.

The app store is an abomination. Don't even get me started on the app store ensures security and privacy of users. If that is the case, they would not be having apps that use in-app browsers that are a security and privacy sinkhole. (TikTok and Instagram to name two of the top apps using in-app browsers)

It is just a rent-seeking racket and enough people are drinking the koolaid keeping this flywheel moving. All 'app store' platforms by bigtech players AAPL, MSFT and GOOG are guilty of arbitrary high-handedness and developer apathy.

Been there. I have an iOS app that’s been a solid top 100 in it’s category and has been featured multiple times on the App Store. I decided to port it to macOS mostly as an experiment but a few reviews had asked for it. It was a big pain (pre-Catalyst or anything else). But I got it working well enough and thought it looked decent. I submitted it only to get it kicked back with the “too simple” rejection. Yeah, it’s simple, but people love it and use it. I didn’t even bother appealing.

Even as a consumer, Apple’s arbitrary enforcement of made-up rules is infuriating. One of my most-used apps is a radio streaming app “MusiCharts”. It hasn’t been updated in years because (according to the developer) Apple refuses to let him update the app since they think it’s too trivial. Yet, it is the only radio streaming app I’ve found that can scobble to Last.fm, and it provides huge value to me. Hopefully, it will survive a few more iOS updates.

I assume you have to pay the $99 annual dev fee to submit apps for review? I wonder how much Apple makes on unused dev fees, I'm sure not tons but it does seems like they should offer partial refunds if they refuse to work with devs.

It's a bummer obviously, but is there an actual reason not to just use the website?

a huge amount of mobile users don't know what a "website" is and just use apps

But they usually use the google app to find info, rather than going to the app store.

Apps are more monetizable.

- available without internet

- you can have personalisation in the app without needing to create an account

- can have access to location without asking the user every time

The app pulls in a CSV with the list of events, so the app requires internet to work right?

(author here) the data is always cached so even with no internet, you can still access the newest data, filter it, see it on a map etc.

But really, the biggest reason why I wanted this to be an app is because I like how native apps feel as opposed to a website.

Push Notifications, map panning and zooming and the calendar integration have a low quality feel when used on the web (in iOS).

- use a service worker

- use local storage

- persist previous location, have quick way to use a map or request location if needed

Doesn't local storage expire if you don't use a site for 7 days in Safari?


("7-Day Cap on All Script-Writeable Storage" heading about half way down)

As horrendously user hostile as that is, the use case here seems to be you find an event to attend when in service range and want to check back on it when you’re nearby, which may be out of service. The 7 day expiry wouldn’t be hit.

My friend, it's possible you are about to get Apple'd. That is to say, Apple may steal your idea and publish an app just like this, because it really is a great idea.

Maybe they see through your attempts to simply use more IOS features as just that, and that you aren't really addressing the core issue which is - why do you need to publish an app to essentially view a google docs spreadsheet?

Funny as hell… Apple keeps featuring out fintech app, which is image lock up for image lockup the exact same as our website.

Seems fine. The original version was just a wrapper around a web page. There’s absolutely no reason for that to be an app.

Tarting it up with shit that no one wants or needs doesn’t change the fact that this would be just fine as a web page.

My first app was rejected for the same reason. I think if the first reviewer is having a bad day you're out of luck, and then the next reviewer is going to see the history and feel empowered to do the same

Why doesn't Apple make a section for lower tier apps? Or just a notice, that it doesn't meet the "high" standards but you can download it and it is safe.

Maybe it isn't worth the cost of reviewing them and dealing with refunds and support?

IMO morally we should not support closed platforms. Technical people and especially developers are more responsible than others. I find the apologia around this disturbing.

> Buy tickets button (which should always point you to the correct website to get tickets from) There you go, being tickets "digital", Apple wants a 30% cut, and they are basically forcing you to implement in-app payments. It sucks man!

Try change the wording from "Buy Tickets" to "Get more information" or "Visit Website" to get around the review process, and work from there

First to OP: Why are you denying users the use of your service by beating this dead horse? Does that really in any way serve your users?

The current state of affairs with iOS is the context is which we must make decisions. So many of the posts here strike me as useless complaining about the reality on the ground which cannot be changed.

You want to hack? Simple - get an Android or PinePhone.

You want to share your hacks with friends? Simple - make a PWA.

You want to make an app for the general public and don't want to deal with app store bureaucracy? Simple - make a PWA.

Your app requires native features? Then learn to navigate the app store approval process.

I have several friends and colleagues who have launched public apps. Some went the PWA route. Some went the app store route. All have achieved their mission. It's informative to hear their answers as to their choice. Those that choose the PWA route mostly did so because they already had a web service, and just wanted a good mobile version. Those that went the app store route said in effect that it's not really an app (in the minds of their user audience) if it's not in the app store, and were not already providing some service via the web.

Granted this is a small sampling of half a dozen. I would love to have a wider sample to review as I am interested in transitioning from desktop web to mobile app development, and want to invest myself in a good foundation. Does anyone know of a good (and recent) article where developers of successful apps are interviewed and ask to explain their platform decisions?

A final comment is this. I think Apple is working to make PWAs a viable choice partially to reduce their approval burden and incentivize developers of "simple" apps - like that of the OP - to go the PWA route.

This completely unsympathetic and unempathetic comment elides the root problem: it isn’t that Apple exercises strict oversight over its App Store, it’s that 1) that oversight is applied inconsistently, and 2) they do not provide transparency into the specifics of their oversight. This whole situation could have been avoided if the reviewers had been specific about what they took issue with, instead of wasting valuable developer time.

That you are blaming a fellow developer is most unbecoming.

I may be unsympathetic but I am most certainly not blaming the developer.

I had this happen. What they want to see is things that really use the phones features or something that makes it mobile

This frustrated me at first but then i did some thinking and came up with some ideas.

I got mine over the line by having a favorites list that uses core data and the ability to sent notification reminders.

Both are using core aspects of iPhone so more likely to be considered unique enough for App Store.

If the mafia doesn't like your store, you can't offer your product.

Fanboys triggered.

Please, build MORE simple apps. I would pay for a suite of simple Android applications that respect privacy, take least amount of "disk" space and RAM, load and work as fast as platform allows it. Replacements for bloated system apps, like calendar, messages, email etc., also some other apps like qr reader, notes and similar.

There's some of these on F-droid.

With the Digital Markets act coming into power and the author hailing from Romania the one light at the end of the tunnel is that this soon will be over and at the very least users will be able to sideload your app. At this point I wouldn't waste any more time trying to appease the App Store bureaucracy.

I also don't think this app should have been rejected.

However, if we assume that the rejection policy was correct (just for the sake of argument), I don't see how adding things like parallax, push notifications, or even a map, makes the application substantially different in the context of this rejection.

Did you read TFA? Apple didn't explain why the app was too simple, so OP had to complex it up blindly b/c they offered no guidance.

I did read TFA, did you read TFC? haha.

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