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Apple Issues Safety Guidelines for Developers to Follow while Submitting an App


The number of internet users on mobile has already reached 52% globally. It is also predicted that this rate can reach up to 80% in the near future. This is because of the ease of access to mobile phones. Almost everybody has a mobile phone with them. Also, it is easier to create mobile apps, rather than creating desktop apps. Apple’s App Store is a huge treasure chest of apps with up to 2.2 million apps available on it. This is definitely a great way to reach potential customers around the globe.

In the last few years, Apple has revolutionized the way apps are developed and distributed today. Apple is now opening the Mac App Store to hundreds of thousands of app development companies and millions of users. In regards to that, Apple has issued certain guidelines which will make the process of submission as smooth as possible. Even a tiny fault can lead to rejection. Let’s get to know more about these guidelines.

Guidelines about functionality

The first guideline by Apple describes how apps work, how they are installed, how they update, and what technologies are used. Any apps that have a bug, or crash, or is not performing as suggested will be rejected. Same goes for beta, demo, or trial versions of an app. Even the apps that use hidden features, or non-public APIs and are inconsistent with the app, will be rejected. Apps that are not too useful or that do not have any lasting entertainment value will be rejected.

  • Apps that are used as marketing materials or advertisements.
  • Apps that suggest consumption of alcohol or illegal substances.
  • Apps with inaccurate data or incorrect diagnostics.
  • Apps that download or install additional code.
  • Apps that download other standalone apps.
  • Apps that install kernel extensions.
  • Apps that present a license screen at launch.
  • Apps that use optionally installed technologies.
  • Apps that do not run on the OS that’s running currently
  • Apps that add their icons to the dock or leave shortcuts.
  • Apps that do not comply with Mac OS X File System Documentation.

Also Read: What Developers Need to Know About GDPR and How To Create a GDPR Compliant App?


The next rules are for apps in relation to how they identify and advertise themselves in the App Store. The app icons and screenshots should also be appropriate and should stick to the 4+ rating to continue appearing in the app store. They should also be assigned correct Category, Ratings, Genres, and Keywords. If there is an attempt to cheat in user reviews or app rankings, it can result in termination from the developer program.

Location Services

This rule forbids apps from collecting, sending or using a user’s location data without a notification and obtaining consent.


Developers must also follow the guidelines relating to Apple copyrights and trademarks. This suggests the forbidding that third-party apps are endorsed by Apple, confusing app with other Apple products, misspelling Apple trademarks etc.

User Interface

Apple insists developers on following the Apple Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines. But any apps looking similar to existing Apple products will be rejected.


Any app that opens additional features or functionality outside the App Store will be rejected. Apps can not rent content or services that might expire after a period of time.

Scraping and aggregation

Any app that scrapes information from Apple sites or creates ranking using content from Apple sites will also be rejected.

Damage to products

Any app encouraging to use an Apple product in a way that may cause damage to the device will be rejected.

Objectionable Content

Apps that are offensive, defamatory, or target any individual or group will be rejected. Satirists and Humorists are exempt from the ban. Apps with realistic images of people or animals being killed will also be rejected. Apps presenting extremely objectionable or crude content will be rejected.


Apps can not transmit or use a user’s data without giving any notifications and obtaining the user’s prior permission. Any app targeting minors for data collection will also be rejected.


Apps that contain pornographic material, that is, explicit images or descriptions or displays of sexual organs and activities will be rejected. Even apps that contain user-generated content will be rejected.

Religion, Culture, Ethnicity

Apps that contain commentary about religions, cultures or ethnic groups in an offensive and mean-spirited manner will be rejected. Apps may contain religious quotes, and it may provide commentary but it can only be educational or informative.

Contests, Lotteries, Charities etc

Apple is not a sponsor or involved in any of the activities that relate to contests, or lotteries or charities. Apps allowing a user to directly purchase a lottery will be rejected.

Legal Requirements

In order to be reviewed and accepted, the apps must comply with all the legal requirements relating to the submission of the app over the App Store. False or fraudulent representations will be rejected. Apps supporting criminal activity, illegal file sharing, anonymous or prank calls will be rejected.

Complying with the guidelines

Any developer that wants to submit an app and get reviewed and accepted, must follow and abide the rules and regulations for the apps and must comply with the legal requirements relating to the submission of the app. In case your app gets rejected and you want to know the reasons, you can contact the Resolution Center. This guide will help iOS app developers in following the rules and submit a valid app.