As of May 1st, Apple will be cracking down on App Store submissions. In a note published to app developers today, Apple revealed that it is going to begin officially rejecting new and updated apps that access the unique device identifier or UDID of an iOS device.
In addition, after May 1, newly submitted apps and app updates must be designed to support the Retina display of both the fourth generation iPad and the iPhone. Apps are also being forced to include full screen iPhone 5 support, rather than offering mere compatibility.
Starting May 1, the App Store will no longer accept new apps or app updates that access UDIDs. Please update your apps and servers to associate users with the Vendor or Advertising identifiers introduced in iOS 6. You can find more details in the UIDevice Class Reference.
Starting May 1, new apps and app updates submitted to the App Store must be built for iOS devices with Retina display and iPhone apps must also support the 4-inch display on iPhone 5. Learn about preparing your apps by reviewing the iOS Human Interface Guidelines.
Apple actually began phasing out developer access to the UDID in mid–2011, warning developers that they should begin to create unique identifiers specific to each individual app. If you’re not sure what the UDID is, let me explain.
The UDID is an alphanumeric string that uniquely identifies your iPad or your iPhone from all other devices. Each individual device has its own UDID. While developers were able to access the UDID for usage statistics and marketing in the past, Apple has been moving away from such uses for privacy reasons.
Apple’s use of the UDID came under scrutiny after several apps, such as Path, began accessing device information without user permission, prompting congress to get involved and take a look at Apple’s privacy policies. After this inquiry, Apple reaffirmed that it would disallow the use of the UDID, and it looks like the time has come for all developers to find an alternative solution.
While Apple has rejected some apps that use the UDID already, that will become standard policy, leaving developers to find a new way to track usage statistics and implement marketing tactics. Apple has released an alternative, the iOS Advertising Identifier, which is a non-personal identifier for iOS devices that developers can use instead, as it does not link personal information to specific devices.
Requiring Retina support for apps is also a huge step for Apple, marking a move towards the phasing out of non-Retina devices. Both the full sized iPad and the current iPhone sport Retina displays, and Apple is rumored to be launching a Retina iPad mini at some point this year.