Why Apple Rejects Apps: 11 Common Mistakes Developers Make When Submitting

rejected red square  stamp

Any developer has had an app rejected will tell you that the screening process is quite difficult. You never know how long it will take and you never know whether the reviewer will suddenly decide to reject your app. Apple recently published a new page on its Developer website to make things a bit easier with information on 11 of the most common reasons apps get rejected in the review process.

Crashes and Bugs

Obviously, Apple wants the user experience to be as good as possible. Therefore, if an app has a crash or bug when a reviewer is testing it, it will be rejected.

Broken Links

The simplest mistake in HTML coding will render a link useless. Apple wants to be sure that all links are functioning. A link to user support with current contact information is also required. If you are offering auto-renewable or free subscriptions, or if your apps is in the Kids category, you must provide a link to your privacy policy.

Placeholder Content

If you have an idea for an image or text, but haven’t yet finalized the content, you might as well wait to submit. Apple won’t approve any app that is still in progress. How will the reviewer know what he or she is approving if the content isn’t there to review?

Incomplete Information

When you are ready to submit your app, be sure to include all necessary details for explaining what the app does. If the user must sign in to use the features, you must provide a demo account with a user name and password so the reviewer can test it. If there are special configurations, include those, too. If the features are meant to be used under very specific circumstances, you will likely be asked to provide a demo video that shows the app in use in that specific environment.

Inaccurate Descriptions

If your app doesn’t look like, or do what you claim it does, you’ll be rejected.

Misleading Users

Obviously, Apple doesn’t want users to buy an app because they think it does one thing, only to discover that it doesn’t even come close to doing what it says. If your app claims to have certain features, it had better include them.

Substandard User Interface

Apple goes to great lengths to insure that its products have a seamless user interface and expects the same of app developers. If you have bad eye for design, it might not be a bad idea to higher someone who does. Apple’s Developer page includes a link to design guides and UI Dos and Don’ts.


Including advertisements inside an app is perfectly acceptable. However, Apple has a handful of guidelines that developers must meet. If your app uses the Advertising Identifier, the ads must be displayed properly. If you claim that the app does not use the Advertising Identifier, but Apple discovers that it does, it will be put into the “Invalid Binary” status.

Web Clippings, Content Aggregators, or a Collection of Links

You can’t submit an app that simply puts a web page into a special location. The app must be designed for iOS and show content with a useable interface.

Repeated Submissions of Similar Apps

Putting a new skin on an old app doesn’t make it new. Your apps must contribute something different than each other or you may upset the reviewer. Apple recommends combining all of your apps into one if you want to better streamline your review process.

Not Enough Lasting Value

Apple may also reject your app if the reviewer doesn’t think it does enough, or doesn’t appeal to enough people. Don’t submit an app that only lets the user enter contact information, for example. There are already enough address books in the App Store that offer many more features than that.

Of course, we all know that the review process isn’t perfect. I’ve seen at least one (usually many more) app in each of the above category in the App Store. They do manage to slip by at times. However, if you want to make a good app that will have relevance in the App Store, avoid making the above mistakes when submitting for the review process.

Apple also included a list of the percentage of top 10 reasons for app rejections over a seven-day period. The current list uses data from a seven-day period ending August 28.

Reasons Apps are Rejected

Reasons Apps are Rejected 2

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik