We very well know how apps are enriching people’s lives, changing the world and letting developers innovate at their best. This has made App Store a vibrant and an exciting ecosystem for a lot of developers and more for the users.

If you have just finished building your brand new app and want to head to the App Store for submission, you may have to think again because of the store’s review guidelines. Not all apps get approval to go live in the Store immediately. Thus you need to be familiar with the process for submitting apps.

Now the question arises how much time would it take for Apple to review your app? Well, there are many factors that govern this, like the app features (Apple Pay, maps, in-app purchases), type of the app (iOS, MacOS, watchOS, tvOS) and complexity. Most apps take not more than a week to get approval, but some might take as long as 2 weeks or even more.

We have compiled a checklist of the important dos and don’ts to help improve your chances of getting your app in the App Store on first submissions.

Getting your app ready for submission

After you have built your app, make sure you follow these as prerequisites for submission:

  • Should have a computer with OS X and Xcode (in case you built your app using any of the cross-platform development tools that don’t require Xcode)
  • Should have a registered Apple developer account to submit an iOS application. Apple charges USD 99/year for the Apple Developer Program (non-enterprise)

Once you have the app ready, apart from making sure that it is functional and doesn’t crash on any supported devices or OS versions, there are a couple of things you need to take care of to ensure a smooth approval.

The things to take care of

1. Eliminate the word ‘Beta’ or ‘Trial’

Labeling your app as a beta, demo, trial versions, preview or something like ‘Version 0.5’ would take it to rejection because Apple is quite strict about any indication which shows that the app is not yet ready or is unfinished. Instead, using TestFlight would help. Learn more about what it is here TestFlight Beta Testing.

2. App features

If your app doesn’t use enough features to justify it being released as a native app, Apple will reject it. Certain businesses release apps just as marketing tools and not offering any unique functionality to its users. Some times these apps fall through the App review radar, but most times they don’t. So make sure your app offers enough value for its users and is not released just to get your brand name out there.

3. Human Interface Guidelines (HIG)

Apple stresses a lot on the usability of an app. Your app’s UI should be simple and easy to use. While they don’t have any preferences on the final design, Apple does provide certain guidelines that you are expected to follow in your apps

  • using original designs (although a lot of copycat games violate this and still pass the review process)
  • the design should be useful, unique and “app-like”, not a packaged website
  • an app that competes with Apple’s apps – in terms of functionality or look & feel will be rejected

4. No misleading app name

Choose an app name that identifies what your app does and does not infringe any trademarks or copyrights. If you use a particular display name just to pack in keywords, Apple is likely to reject the metadata and ask you to submit it again after reviewing.

5. App description and metadata

The app description should accurately describe what the app does. If at any point Apple feels that the description is misleading, they can reject the app leading to a further delay in getting it live. The same goes for app preview videos and screenshots. Use them to let the user know what your app does. The app screenshots should show the app’s functionality, not just splash screens and login screens.

Apart from the app descriptio and screenshots, there are other details you are required to submit when sending out your app for review – the categories the app falls in, what content it unlocks with in-app purchases (if any), app keywords, the kind of content the app has (to determine the age group the app is appropriate for) etc. All this content should accurately describe your app.

Do make it a point to go through the App Store review guidelines before you submit your app to Apple for review.

Having trouble getting your app approved for the App Store? NewGenApps has been working on iOS apps for the past 8+ years and have helped our clients get 800+ apps live on the App Store. Do get in touch and let us help you get your app live.