App Review Denied - Troubleshooting

Why was my app denied?

RELATED ARTICLE & VIDEO: Knowing The Rules of Apple & Android (Click Here)

If your app submission was rejected by either Apple or Google, this is because your app does not comply with at least one of their guidelines or policies.

First of all - Don't Worry! This is a very common occurrence and (in most cases) will not affect your app account negatively.

When your app submission gets denied by either Apple or Google, they send you reviewal notes explaining why your app was denied.

  • If you are unsure what you did wrong after reading their reviewal notes, we recommend replying to Apple/Google's review of your app to ask for more details.

Please take note that Apple and Google each have fully outlined policies. We HIGHLY recommend reading through them, here they are linked below:

https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/

https://play.google.com/about/developer-content-policy/

  • Note that Apple’s policies are much stricter than Google’s, so you can use Apple's guidelines as a general rule of thumb for your app.

Troubleshooting The Most Common Reasons for App Rejection

1. Design

Apple and Google place a high value on apps that are simple, refined, innovative, and easy to use, and that’s what they want to see reflected in their app stores. Your app must have a solid use or a reason to for users. Apple and Google want apps in their app store that users will repeatedly return to and use consistently. Aim to create a unique user experience.

Do:

  • Design your app to be consistently updated with new content, such as articles, videos, podcasts, and more
  • Set up push notifications to get users more likely to return to and reuse your app
  • Be creative and create something unique to your app

Don’t:

  • Design your app with no reusability or minimal functionality
  • Plagiarize / copy any current apps
  • Have the main purpose of the app link to a website – they want users to stay on the app

2. Payments

There are many ways to monetize your app.

In-app purchases are a feature that’s currently in development for 22apps. This will be a way to unlock features or functionality within your app through an in app purchase.

Apple and Google generally don’t allow purchases to be made outside of their app through a 3rd party payment system, though there are a few notable exceptions:

  • Person-to-Person Services: If your app enables the purchase of real-time person-to-person services between two individuals (for example tutoring students, medical consultations, real estate tours, fitness training, etc), you may use purchase methods other than in-app purchase to collect those payments.
  • Physical Goods and Services Outside of the App: If your app enables people to purchase physical goods or services that will be consumed outside of the app, you must use purchase methods other than in-app purchase to collect those payments.

If you don’t fall into either of these categories, and you wanted to sell something digital (for example, an online digital course), there is a workaround, though it can be tricky to set up. Apple and Google mainly don’t want anything linked from your app to a purchase page, or a checkout page. Here are a couple workarounds to sell your content:

  • You can link in your app to have users sign up for your mailing list, join your social medias, notify them of an upcoming webinar, or even input a contact section in your app where users can get your email or phone number to message you. You’ll be able to sell to them on any of these platforms.
  • Link to a funnel, where users can get a free gift (such as a video or pdf or something useful), and have the funnel take them through to your item of purchase. Generally, Apple and Google will let this slide, as long as you aren’t directly selling from the app to this product.

Here are a few good guidelines to follow as you set up monetization within your app:

Do:

  • Sell person-to-person services or physical products and services through a website link in your app
  • Insert links to contact you, or to visit your social medias within your app
  • Utilize in-app purchases to unlock features for your app (once in-app purchase functionality is available in 22apps)

Don’t:

  • Set prices that are clear rip-offs
  • Manipulate reviews or attempt to inflate your chart rankings un-organically
  • List prices within your app for a purchase that is not compliant (ie, displaying text that says “$200 for my online course” – this would not get approved.)
  • Put links in your app that go directly to a purchase of a digital product or service.

3. Sensitive Apps with extra conditions - Health and Health Research, Kids, and more

Certain types of apps will have extra rules and specifications in order to make sure customer privacy and safety is ensured. Here are a few notable ones:

  • Health and Health Research - Health, fitness, and medical data are especially sensitive and apps in this space have some additional rules to make sure customer privacy is protected. Most of these rules will naturally show up when you're inputting the information about your app into the app stores, though there’s a couple things to think of before submitting your app:
    • Add a Medical Disclaimer - a statement declaring that the content on your app is for informational or educational purposes only, and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals.
      • If you don't want to add a full disclaimer, even a little bit of text saying “consult with your doctor before trying” is always a good thing.
    • Citations - It can often help to reference a credible source for any medical or health related information you are displaying in your app.
  • Kids – For many reasons, it is critical to use care when dealing with personal data from kids, and we encourage you to carefully review all the requirements for complying with laws like the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), and any other applicable regulations or laws. Here are a few other things to note:
    • Apps not in the Kids Category cannot include any terms in app name, subtitle, icon, screenshots or description that imply the main audience for the app is children.
    • Apps intended primarily for kids should not include third-party analytics or third-party advertising. This provides a safer experience for kids.

A Few More Things To Note

Screenshots – Screenshots are a required part of uploading your app to Apple and Google’s app stores. A few key tips:

  • Screenshots should show the app in use, and not merely the title art, log-in page, or splash screen. They may also include text and image overlays (e.g. to demonstrate input mechanisms, such as an animated touch point or Apple Pencil) and show extended functionality on device, such as Touch Bar.
  • Try not to be misleading with your images or description of your app.
  • If you aren’t sure where to start, we recommend simply screenshotting the main screens of your app while testing on your phone, and using those images to upload.

Filing an Appeal

If you find that Apple or Google's review is incorrect about the compliance of your app with their guidelines, you can respond to the app denial and appeal their review. 

  • Be clear and concise in your response, and try to provide as much detail as possible.

Appealing to Apple:

  • To appeal a review from Apple, go into your app within App Store Connect.
  • Navigate to Apple's review of your app, and from there you can type and send your response to the review.

Appealing to Google:

  • To appeal a review from Google, follow this link and click File an Appeal:

https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answer/2477981/my-app-has-been-removed-from-google-play?hl=en#zippy=


Re-Submitting Your App

Apple and Google both require you to submit new app files when re-submitting for reviewal. This means that you have to generate new files through 22apps and re-submit them.

To learn how to do this, click here: Re-Submitting Your App

If you have any questions about this article, feel free to reach out to our support team! We're happy to help.