How to appeal to AppStore review after AppStore rejection?

Appstore review
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If your app faces Appstore rejection by Apple, you will need to reply and support your claim by the necessary documentation that you are the owner of the app’s content. 

If you receive a notice that in the Appstore review your app submission faced Appstore rejection, you’ll receive an email like this: 

The App Review process is one of the most challenging and stressful parts of publishing an app on the App Store. There is still a great deal of mystery surrounding App Review a decade after its inception. Apple publishes a lot about how to pass App Review, but virtually none about what it is.  

We know Apple hires and trains employees whose primary responsibility is reviewing incoming app submissions. Submissions are reviewed according to the App Store Review Guidelines by these reviewers. When something seems suspicious about your app or it violates certain guidelines as per the Appstore Review team, which is not uncommon, your app may face Appstore rejection. Additionally, Appstore Review includes automated checks to detect things that would be difficult for a human to detect, such as private APIs.  

In the event that you’re rejected by Apple, you can use the Resolution Center in App Store Connect to resolve it. However, if your app has some major disputes with the Appstore guidelines, you can also make an appeal to the App Review Board. 

Following all the guidelines is difficult. It can be hard to understand long documents based on App Review because they change frequently. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert to do this. In spite of the fact that the specific guidelines evolve over time, understanding the guiding principles behind them can help you sail through App Review. 

 How to avoid Appstore rejection? 

Based on real-world experience and a close reading of Apple’s guidelines, here are Apple’s guiding principles: 

1. Provide value to the users:  

It is important for apps to be useful, unique, and provide long-term value. Your app will surely face Appstore rejection if it’s simply a shell around a static website. It may also be difficult to stand out if your app falls into an already saturated category – such as calculator apps. The Appstore Review team is very strict about app quality and usability to ensure the best experience for the users. 

2. High-quality UI & UX:  

An application that crashes does not work correctly, or looks incomplete will be rejected by Appstore Review. A fully-functional URL must be included in all metadata. Remove all placeholder content (like “Lorem Ipsum”, stock images, etc.). Also, make sure you keep up with the latest app design and user interface requirements. From time to time, Apple removes old apps that don’t work as per the guidelines of the App Store. 

3. Never defraud or cheat Apple:  

Make sure you don’t try to evade or cheat the Appstore Review team. Apple’s platform capabilities should be used in the way it was intended. If you do get creative, make sure it’s not illegal. Users should not be exploited, harmed, or unfairly profited from. 

4. Users come first – respect them:  

Besides not cheating or harming your users, Apple also expects you to respect their privacy and data. When requesting sensitive information, you should properly ask for permission. Identify content that is offensive or questionable and assume they will not want to see it. Tracking them isn’t necessary if you don’t have to. If you are building apps for children, you must be extra careful. If your app violates even a single guideline it will face Appstore rejection. 

5. Take full responsibility & accountability of your app:  

Whether your app is driven by third-party systems or backend systems, you are responsible for everything that happens in it. A good example of this requirement is if you show user-generated content; Apple expects that you provide some kind of content moderation. Comply with the Appstore Review Guidelines when it comes to software frameworks and dependencies.  

It is Apple’s goal to create a safe, healthy Appstore ecosystem. App Store users should feel safe when discovering and downloading any of the nearly two million apps available. Users will continue to come back if you keep up the good work. 

How to appeal to AppStore review? 

If your app didn’t pass review and you feel Appstore Review team misunderstood your app’s concept and functionality, or that you were treated unfairly by Apple during our review, you may choose to submit an appeal to the App Review Board. If you file an appeal, make sure to: 

  • Go through the Rejection Message from Apple that carries information about your APP rejection. 
  • Make sure to consult App Store Review Guidelines once again before making an appeal to the Appstore Review. 
  • Provide specific reasons why you believe your app complies with the App Store Review Guidelines. 
  • Submit only one appeal to the Appstore Review board per submission that didn’t pass review. 
  • Respond to any requests for additional information before submitting an appeal. 

You can appeal to AppStore review after app rejection by either click the link in the email, or signing into you developer account

You could make an appeal to the Appstore Review Board if your app faced Appstore rejection following the instructions below. 

1. Go to My Apps and select your app to make an appeal in the Appstore Review. 

2. Click on View App Review Issues & Messages under your App name. 

3. Under In Progression, Select Resolve next to the Review Status as shown below 

4.  At the left bottom, select Reply to App Review and Fill the necessary details in the Reply Field. 

5. A file/document can also be added by selecting ATTACH FILE with your reply. 

6. Go through all the filled details once and hit REPLY 

Why my app was rejected by Appstore? 

There are several reasons why your app may face Appstore rejection. However, the major reasons that we come across are that the app violates certain Appstore guidelines which as mentioned below.  

1. Guideline 5.2.3 Legal: Intellectual Property – Audio/Video Downloading 

You may have included content or features in your app that violate the rights of one or more third parties. As a result, you are potentially allowing unauthorized access to a third-party audio or video streaming service, a catalogue, or a discovery service. You should not infringe on the rights of others with your app or its contents. Any claims made against Apple because of an app that infringes another party’s rights are your responsibility. 

Next Steps 

To resolve this issue, please upload evidence proving that you are authorized to use the third-party audio or video streaming, cataloguing, and discovery services in your app in the Appstore Review Information section in App Store Connect. Unless otherwise stated, you acknowledge that submitting falsified or fraudulent documentation may result in your Apple Developer Program account being terminated and your apps being removed from the App Store by following the 3.2(f) part of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement.  

For this, you will have to make an appeal to the Appstore review team. Apple will require documentation of your app’s broadcast license if you receive this kind of rejection. Attach your documents as a PDF or similar format; by clicking the “Attach File” link below the reply box.   

2. Guideline 4.2.6/ Guideline 5.2.1 Standard practice of Apple for template-based apps:  

Guideline 4.2.5 – Design – Commercialized Templates and App Generation Services 

In this case, your app appears to be created from an app creation service or a commercial template and was not submitted by the owner or provider of the content within the app directly. 

Guideline 5.2.1 – Legal – Intellectual Property 

Your app was created from a commercialized template but was not directly submitted by the owner of the business, brand, or service. 

Next Steps 

Apps produced for businesses or organizations must be submitted under their own Apple Developer Program account in order to resolve this issue. If you own the business or organization the app is designed for, you may provide documentation. A copy of your rights to incorporate third-party content into your app is not sufficient documentation.  

In the event that you receive this kind of rejection, you will need to state that you are the station owner/content owner and provide any documentation you may have concerning your ownership of the station. Here also, you will have to make an appeal to the Appstore review team. Attach your documents by clicking the “Attach File” link below the reply box. Since this developer account belongs to you, the app, or the station’s network, your app is submitted under the correct account. 

As we said earlier, there are several reasons for which your app may face Appstore rejection. Read more about the top reasons why your app could face Appstore rejection and how to avoid them

How to reply to the Appstore Review Team 

If you receive an email from Appstore review asking for some additional information about your apps intended audience like the following list. We have provided examples as suggestions for your reply to such questions, but please make sure the information is as per your app. 

  • What’s the purpose of your app?  

Answer: To provide a mobile app for the readers of our blog, giving them access to our content, submit their content and develop a blogging community through the app.  

  • For whom or what intended entity is the app being designed?  

Answer: The app is designed for our blog readers. 

  • What is the target audience for your app?  

Answer: The intended audience is our website blog readers and other interested people. 

  • Does the app supports or includes or is specifically made for financial or a government entity?  

Answer: No. (Write yes is your app involves any kind of governmental or financial entity.) 

  •  Do you own or represent the publishing, media, or newspaper group?  

Answer: I represent the blog for which the app was designed. 

After an appeal to the Appstore review team is sent, Apple’s review team follows up quickly. Most of the time, they reply within a few days. 

 If you don’t understand – look up for other people’s experiences 

You may not understand Apple’s specific reasons why your app faced Appstore rejection, even though Apple provides you with a specific reason via mail.  

At times, Apple’s reasons can be vague or broad without being very specific. Whenever there’s uncertainty, seek help.   

You can read & go through other people’s problems at Apple Appstore forum

A lot of people have already documented their issues and solutions to similar problems. If you research the rejection reason, you’ll come across a host of problem/solution posts. 


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