53 Replies
      Latest reply: Nov 17, 2017 10:07 PM by mthomaas RSS
      ZeldaLink Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

        We have spoken to many developers in previous months who have run into issues with the new 4.3 Design Guidelines rules & had their apps rejected, seemingly by a bot, or in general, by a reviewer because of similarities to previous apps. They have been asked to combine their similar apps into one container app.

         

        We understand why Apple is finally cracking down and doing this. They are trying to clean up the Appstore of clones, useless junk & other spam apps.

         

        In the process however, this has seemingly hurt indie developers who are not using templates, and design their own games from scratch. We've spoken with several developers, many who pride themselves in creating unique content such as educational & games for children, receieve these notices with no method to appeal, and auto-responses making the same blanket statement, ending in frustration for the developer & wasted months in development time.

         

        They are asked to combine their apps or games into one "single container app" to reduce the clutter in the Appstore. While the idea of this sounds great in theory, it is flawed in exection, simply because some apps and games are not meant to be combined.

         

        Take a first grade educational app for instance. Say you program a math game that caters to 1st grade kids. Then you use that engine or framework to develop a math game for 3rd or 4th graders. Combining these games would make no sense from a marketing perspective, and from the perspective of a parent who is purchasing the app for their child who needs a math game for first graders only . We have actually spoken to parents and customers in an email survey, who said they would not like this change, and it would make it more difficult for them to find the app they need to install for their child's specific age group. They have asked us to not combine these apps that they have stored on their device, as they like to have separate applications and games for each of their children, in their respective age groups & content supplied.

         

        This is just ONE example or highlight of how this actually ruins the end user experience. Forcing developers to combine apps into one container app does not benefit customers, especially those that are accustomed to having the one single app for it's functionality and purpose. That applies to educational games, tools that target a specific market group, or diet apps that target specific dietary needs and so forth.

         

        Apple - We beg you. Please reconsider this new guideline, and don't be so heavy handed with the rejection notices. We understand the need to clean up the Appstore, and provide a better experience for users, & remove spam, but taking the guidelines this far is not the way to clean up the store.

         

        We feel this is hurting the end user experience, and many of our customers love having the single application or game, rather than one larger bloated file installed on their device.

         

        Don't force developers into combining apps into one container app. It does not make sense for the end user experience, and does not make sense from a marketing or distribution perspective whatsoever, and actually hurts the end user experience. Combining 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade math games does not equate to a better store experience, just as combining diet apps from various diets, does not help that person who is trying to get healthy, & wants a very specific diet app tailored to their specific needs.

         

        Please reconsider revising this guideline, as I don't feel we are alone in this battle.

         

        We appreciate the ability to be able to publish games to one of the best Appstores on the market. We hope that Apple revises these guidelines, so things aren't so heavy handed and difficult for indies, who are already struggling to make ends meet in this very competitive marketplace.

         

        Sincerely,

         

        Appstore developer

        • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
          artpol Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

          One year we had developed an application for eCommerce to start to sell them with a specific set of changes to our many customers.

          I'm in shock, our first 2 applications have already been rejected with reference to "Design - spam".

           

          What differences can be in eCommrce application? 

          Every application has similar activity - category, product list, product card, shopping cart, checkout.

          What a unique design it is possible to come up with a common business process?

            • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
              ZeldaLink Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

              I feel it is less about what differences are inside the application, and more about Apple wanting to reduce the clutter in the Appstore.

               

              I am all for reducing the number of junk apps, clones, flappy games, and spam, but to outright tell all developers that they have to combine several games into a container app, some of which just don't belong together is overstretching this guideline.

               

              Apple needs to soften up the 4.3 guidelines, and allow developers to continue to publish apps that are branded toward the specific target market. eg: diet apps should not be combined. I as a customer would not want to download an app with multiple varying diets when I'm only looking for one specific one.

               

              Same with travel apps - if I want an app that caters to Paris traveling, I do not want NYC, Rome, London, Milan, & other cities in a bundle.

               

              The idea behind the agreement is well intended, but it's taken too far, without consideration for marketing & other things that come into play with the Appstore.

               

              So the topic is really less about what is inside the app, and more about taking the Developer's freedom to market their game to a specific target group or audience. That is now being dictated by the Appstore, which I feel is very unfair toward developers who are not spamming or cloning games, but rather, providing a specific audience with the exact app they are looking for. After all, marketing is 100% of what makes an app successful these days. The gold rush days of the appstore are over, so if you don't have marketing,  you don't have a specific target market in mind, then you don't have any reason to release an app in the first place. And that is what scares us the most as indie developers.

               

              If these rules are not amended, then we will  have to change the course of our business entirely, and it will be very unfortunate to our existing customers, who are already livid with us over these changes, none of which we have any control over.

                • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                  KMT Level 8 Level 8 (9,645 points)

                       >Apple needs to soften up the 4.3 guidelines

                   

                  Be careful what you wish for - keep in mind that every time that happens, bad actors (watch out for them to come here to complain & spam yet again) drive trucks thru the result.

                   

                  Some of your ire goes towards those posers, as well, where Apple is yet again forced to react to schemes where the only goal is to game the process and sadly help ruin the store for well behaved devs in the process.

                   

                  Good luck in any case.

                   

                  Ken

                    • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                      djibouti Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                      If Apple would apply the guidelines logically then there would be no problem. The process is already very subjective, they just seem to be making this particular clause objective with no consideration to value or how it hurts an entire ecosystem of legitimate indie developers.

                        • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                          KMT Level 8 Level 8 (9,645 points)

                          Again, if the bad actors didn't constantly abuse the process, Apple would have more room to apply the guidelines as you and others see fit. The spammers that game the store are the root cause for such revisions to the guidelines, where decent devs often suffer as a result.

                           

                          This sort of scenario began long ago, as soon as devious devs saw the potential, and sadly becuase of them, I doubt it will stop here.

                           

                          As always, be sure to file bugs against the process to let yourself be heard. Good luck in any case.

                           

                          Ken

                      • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                        ledak Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

                        >That is now being dictated by the Appstore, which I feel is very unfair toward developers who are not spamming or cloning games, but rather, providing a specific audience with the exact app they are looking for. After all, marketing is 100% of what makes an app successful these days. The gold rush days of the appstore are over, so if you don't have marketing,  you don't have a specific target market in mind, then you don't have any reason to release an app in the first place. And that is what scares us the most as indie developers.

                         

                        How is this not spamming or cloning? Apple is going in right direction - App Store is flooded with copycat apps.

                    • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                      cblaze22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                      We are in the same boat but your setup is exactly what the problem is with bloat.  You can have a single app with InApp purchases. That actually makes sense. In our case we have similar apps with different content per competitor and separate businesses.  Putting both of them in a container app makes no sense.  This is what Apple is not distinguishing from a business standpoint.  We also make no money off of this, it's business value to the small business that now they can't afford because of these extreme rules.

                      • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                        praveen9999 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                        Hi Fellow devs,

                         

                        Is there any solution on this yet. six apps of our company got rejected in the last week and the message says the same?  Very desperate to know if anyone got a different solution from apple other than using a "container" app.

                        • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                          osadev Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                          We've been caught up in this as well and its incredibly frustrating. We have an app through our event registration vendor. We're being told that we need to have multiple events per year within the app, five or more, for Apple to approve it as a stand alone app that we would deploy on our own. I would absolutely be okay with deploying it on our own if it had a chance of actually resolving the issue.

                           

                          For us the problem is our app is for a single, large, conference that happens once a year, a major event for the industry it represents. We go through our registration vendor because it uses the existing integrations we've developed with that system and other systems we use. What I don't understand is why its okay for Apple to have a separate app for WWDC which happens once a year, but is requiring anyone else to have five separate events a year within an app for it to qualify as a standalone.

                           

                          This just seems like an extremely heavy handed approach that provides a less transparent user experience.


                          Current User Process:

                          1. Register to attend event.
                          2. Attend event, search store for event by name.
                          3. Download app, enjoy event, onsite beacons and socialization functionality.

                           

                          New User Process:

                          1. Register to attend event
                          2. Attend event, try to find app in store by event name, fail.
                          3. Try to find event link in email or program book.
                          4. Search for name of event vendor.
                          5. Download vendor app.
                          6. Download event within vendor app, enjoy event, onsite beacons and socialization functionality.

                           

                          As it stands our vendor is telling us we have no real option with them, and from what I have been reading it appears our only choice might be fully custom development at a heavy cost to both create and maintain.

                           

                          It is hard to me to see how this is really beneficial for anyone.

                            • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                              KMT Level 8 Level 8 (9,645 points)

                                   >What I don't understand is why its okay for Apple to have a separate app for WWDC which happens once a year, but is requiring anyone else to have five separate events a year within an app for it to qualify as a standalone.

                               

                              I was buying what you were selling until you said that...

                                • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                  osadev Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                  But how exactly is it different? Maybe there is something about WWDC I don't quite understand, I've never personally gone so I'd be happy to know. Does it consist of multiple events throughout the year? My understanding is they have a single event that happens once a year. Other examples of this would be CES, or Infocomm.

                                   

                                  These are large, strongly branded events, they happen once per year, I wouldn't expect that WWDC would be hidden under a vendor's branding, nor would I expect CES, or Infocomm to be either.

                                   

                                  But these event apps have a use throughout the year, in our case the event app provides a way for attendees to write and share notes on technical content and a quick and easy way to access technical papers in the months following the event. It's also an engagement tool with exhibitors from the event even well after the event itself for the year.

                                   

                                  As just an example, our largest event happened back in March, we're still seeing daily usage of the app, specifically the 2017 event. Sure its no where near the numbers we saw on a daily basis during the event, but people do still use the app and the content, even well after the event has ended for the year.

                                    • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                      KMT Level 8 Level 8 (9,645 points)

                                           >But how exactly is it different?

                                       

                                      Because you're not Apple, it's their ecosystem, their store, their guidelines, their event and they can do what they want, including pushing back on devs re-selling their account privileges so 3rd parties can sideload apps to the store at a discount.

                                       

                                      If you believe you have a use case that qualifies you for another look, feel free to file a bug against the process with those details - be sure to add your report # to your comment for reference, thanks and good luck.

                                        • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                          osadev Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                          We are at the moment unfortunately somewhat a the mercy with how our vendor chooses to proceed and are currently deciding on how we will move forward as the container app is unfortunately not an option for our two large events. I am on the forums now as I research this problem to better understand what is going on without the marketing speak from our vendor trying to sell us on a solution that isn't really a fit. And truthfully what I'm hearing and seeing from many vendors on the events side is that they're not getting much leeway with Apple for having exceptions.

                                           

                                          I accept that this is Apple's ecosystem, but I do wonder why they wouldn't be leading by example in this case. If the goal, and what they want to see, is container apps versus highly specific apps I would assume would essentially do as they say. As a company Apple has never been particularly shy with innovating, and that innovation generally starts with their own products and services.

                                           

                                          I meant it more as, if their concern is the user experience and there is a reason they feel the user experience is best one way, it would be great information to help developers moving forward to understand what specific types of things would make an even app stand out. What specific qualities make something worthy of a solitary presence within the store? Does brand size/recognition factor into the equation?

                                           

                                          I do, overall, understand some of their point. We currently have three apps, one each for our two large events and a container app for our smaller events. For the smaller events it really doesn't make sense to give each a separate presence, they have a smaller audience and footprint and it allows us to give our smaller events some sort of presence in the stores for attendee without breaking the budget.

                                           

                                          Apple unfortunately hasn't done a very good job of communicating exactly what the lines in the sand are, so its leaving companies and customers who rely on them, stumbling in the dark, trying to figure out what to do. I will be honest I am concerned that even if we build our own app, it will be rejected, event apps can only really distinguish themselves so much, end of the day they really all share the same basically core functions and layout. As a non-profit and a small business taking on that expense only to be still denied is a major risk.

                                            • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                              KMT Level 8 Level 8 (9,645 points)

                                              Well said - be sure to include that in your bug, thanks.

                                               

                                                  >Apple unfortunately hasn't done a very good job of communicating exactly what the lines in the sand are

                                               

                                              Look at it from their side. If they only made statements cast in stone, bad actors would eventually use those against them. That abuse often includes finding loop holes and then complaining that Apple never said they couldn't do what they tried "You didn't say we couldn't do that! Unfair! Leave us alone!" - that abuse comes in the form of flooding the review queues, gaming the process, spamming the store and preying on users. Where would any of us be if that went on ungated...

                                               

                                              Apple didn't just hold a meeting and decide to change things for change's sake....they have metrics that show when things are out of line. Good devs frequently end up paying the price when things like this result, so be sure to also hold the bad actors responsible if you get caught out.

                                               

                                              Apple tends to leave the guidelines vague so they can interpret on the fly and apply them case-by-case. It's really the only way to keep things moving, I think, and far better than years ago when there were no guidelines at all.  Besides, if it were easy, anyone could do it

                                               

                                              Ken

                                    • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                      Glauco Farnezi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                      Hello .. Good evening! We also went through this problem, we talked via ticket and phone with Apple. They are really blocking the White Label model, impossible to continue in this model. In our case, we opted for the "container app", we were able to develop and it was approved. Customers accepted the change.

                                       

                                       

                                      In summary there are 3 ways to solve rejection 4.3:

                                       

                                       

                                      WEBAPP

                                      - WebApp would be accessed by browser and so would not be in the AppleStore;

                                      - It's good for B2B and would have a link to give internal use access.

                                       

                                       

                                      CONTAINERAPP:

                                      - All in one app;

                                      - Each company would have its logo inside this app, however it would not be heavy because only the data of the companies that the user selects is lowered.

                                      - Each company has its data separately.

                                       

                                       

                                      NEWAPP:

                                      - Have a different application for each company without being of the same template / whitelabel format. It has to really be a unique application, especially in design.

                                      • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                        ZeldaLink Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                        Basically, the only resolution to this would be if Apple were to offer some type of new developer tier or Enterprise account.

                                         

                                        This will help weed out the devs that push out junk apps & clones using templates from various white label shops, and only serious, business app developers would be able to pay the premium of $1,000 per year, let's say, for an Enterprise developer account. The $1,000 per year would deter those that are looking to pay only $99 to get in, and push a bunch of spam.

                                         

                                        They are still bound by the rules of the guidelines, but in terms of pushing client content, & other applications like radio apps, YMCA apps, and other business apps would be allowed, so long as it's marketed toward that specific group, and not spamming the store with repeat clones.

                                         

                                        It feels like, in the process of Apple cleaning up the store, a lot of legitmate developers, those that have run a business for years, are damaged in the process. There needs to be some solution or compromise to this, for legitimate devs.

                                        • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                          hsantos Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                          Any news on this subject?

                                           

                                          We also are being affected by this changes.We build city apps and have contracts that says explicitly that an single and exclusive app needs to be published in Apple Store.

                                           

                                          The clients don't want an combined experience. They have their customs and traditions, their tourist places and exclusive services, like "ticket dispenser" for exemple. They want to keep their visual identity and take their place in the store.

                                          • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                            ccmpedidoonline Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                            If Apple were a country, it would certainly be North Korea, I can not understand how a US company can take authoritative measures like these new guidelines. My company develops apps for delivery restaurants. It is obvious that everyone has the same functionality, "ONLINE REQUEST" and Apple does not understand it. As much as we create a code base for each app, in the end everyone will have the same resources, they will use the same webservices ... This is Ridiculous! Apple will be responsible for thousands of unemployed and the destruction of many consolidated business models worldwide. A despicable company that does not care about its users and developers. I pray for God's sake, reconsider all this and allow the applications to be sent.

                                            • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                              Dev_Avantti Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                              Good afternoon.

                                               

                                               

                                              I'm having the same problem and would like to know if there is any way we can come up with collective complaint demanding Apple to review guideline 4.3.Instead of improve the experience of users and developers it's harming.

                                                • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                  ZeldaLink Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                  Someone could go to change.org, and post a petition against the new guidelines, but I'm not sure if it would do any good.

                                                   

                                                  We are not focused on the Apple Appstore anymore. If they accept our apps, wonderful. But we are NOT catering to this container app nonsense, and have our apps on other stores like Google Play suffer as a result of their policy changes.

                                                   

                                                  We are not re-skinners, or cloners, but we are collateral damage as a result of these ridiculous new policies. It's absolutely absurd to think that someone would put, for instance, a Fitness or Diet container app with 100 different diets inside of them. Same thing goes for educational apps, radio apps, school or educational system tools etc. Whoever came up with this policy, really did not think about it in detail, and it just seems like a very arbitrary and foolish move by anyone who decided it would be a bright idea to implement this new policy..

                                                   

                                                  We are not succumbing to this nonsense, and will continue to provide excellent apps to android users & other appstores alike, but we are no longer catering to Apple. They were our primary focus, but not anymore. The damage has been done, and our customers are the ones that suffer. They are the most frustrated with this new policy, and we have told them, if they want our games, they can get the devices that support them.

                                                   

                                                  Just a very sad situation for all developers. Take care of re-skinners, cloners, and those that take advantage, but taking down other indie developers with them is just truly unfair, and unjust.

                                                   

                                                  But alas, we have to move on. The Apple Appstore is no longer our focus, and we literally have no other choice.

                                                    • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                      imperatus Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

                                                      Completely agree with you. We have an online ordering system for restaurants. We won 2 innovation startup awards. We have 100% native Obj-C and Java code. We use each OSs native components to make the apps look and feel native for each device. We customize ieach app for each restaurant to have it's own feeling and connect it to several 3rd party systems they are using like fleet management systems, POS etc. and we are now releasing apps only for google play. Our newest clients have a crippled product, even though we try to make bigger and bigger changes to each app in order to make it even more clear that they are not copycats, but apps that only share a minimum, logical amount of UX. Since we were always trying to be in par with HIGs and ASRGs we perfected our apps to have the best flow and usability for our users and we try to keep that in all our apps but Apple has different opinion on that, so it rejects every change we make. Good job Apple, thank you.

                                                      • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                        sally732 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

                                                        Beautiful reply Zeldalink. I was heart broken after apple put me through this crap 4.3 design as well.

                                                         

                                                        Well said man, I could not have said it better. It truly is time to move on to Android from this stupid apple guidline and platform. Every single day and year there is a "new" guideline and new stupidity to deal with. Enough is enough

                                                    • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                      TGTStudios Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                      I am having the same problem. There's no logic to their claim. I keep asking which games are similar enough for them to ask me to create a container app for, but I keep getting the same copy and paste answer. In the 2 years I've been developing this has never happened to me.  3 apps were rejected for "Spam". 2 bug fixes and 1 completely new app. All 3 put into review and rejected at the same time after a 1 minute review. No matter what now, they reject anything I try to do. Bug fix, new app, anything. All telling me to make a container app.

                                                        • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                          PlayAroundCode Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                          Hi, I have the same problem... No matter what now, they reject anything I try to do.  All telling me to make a container app. i have an unique app, (we think there is not other similar in all store) ... we submit.... and after one minute they reject with the same copy and paste reply... 4.3 Design spam.... absurd and frustating!!!! PLEASE, STOP USE BOT FOR APP REVIEW

                                                            • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                              JoshLPi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                              We now have the same problem too. We are basiclly dead in the water and now need to work arround this or stop making apps for iOS. All our app have different icons, colors, buttons, and content and yet they now reject them as of 2 days ago.

                                                              • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                lena.soluto Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                Request a phone call, they usually get back to you in few days and then you have a chance to explain yourself, get listened and probably get the app through (depending on the case, of course).

                                                                  • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                    KyleKai Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                    I requested a phone call 7 days ago and nothing.  Still waiting.

                                                                      • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                        KyleKai Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                        I finally got a call back, and spent almost an hour on the phone.  Not much was resolved, but they asked for a paper explaining how I plan to consolidate my apps, or in my case, why they can't be consolidated.  I emailed the paper to the reviewer, and the next day most (but all) of my apps were back in review and then were ready for sale.  I asked about the apps that are still rejected and told the review team is reviewing them and will replay soon.  What a hassle and a waste of time.  If you have not received a phone call I suggest you contact Apple through as many channels as possible until you get your call.

                                                                          • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                            getitmobilesolutions Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                            Did you receive any other feedback after that? What did they ask or argue on the phone? What did you write in the paper? Did they say if this means you should request a phone call and submit a paper everytime you submit/update an app for review or does it create an expcetion for your account or at least for the app?

                                                                             

                                                                            My company creates apps for churches and we are having the same problem. Each church wants its own app with its own brand, name, colors and visual identity but all of them need the same features (articles, musics, calendars, events and others). Because of that our apps are being rejected with the 4.3 topic justification.

                                                                             

                                                                            The main problem is that our clients (the churches) do not have any interest on having a single app with data from all the churches and a random visual identity - like Apple suggests in the review. They want their brand in the App Store but also at a minimum price. Our product offers exact that, but now with this new approach, Apple is killing our business model, frustrating our clients and disturbing our apps final users (the church members) that may lose the facilities the app brings.

                                                                             

                                                                            We have already submitted responses to the reviews;

                                                                            We also tried creating a new account without a single reference to our main account in the name of one of our clients (name of the church).

                                                                            Both attempts resulted in the same 4.3 text review.

                                                                             

                                                                            Any information that you can provide us will be very helpfull because we are desperate.

                                                                        • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                          Masatoshi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                          When did you get a phone call Lena? I think recently they have stopped telling the exact reason for 4.3.

                                                                      • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                        KyleKai Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                        Same with me.  I have 14 apps and all they say is I need to combine the rejected app with my other apps.  What other apps?  Do I randomly combine several non-related apps into one container app and hope it will pass review?  This is supposed to help the user, they say.  So what do I tell the thousands of users that bought my rejected app and have to purchase another container app to get the same feature set? That doesn't help them at all. Dumb and dumber.

                                                                          • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                            Masatoshi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                            I got the 4.3 rejection for this app. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id1272669652?ls=1&mt=8


                                                                            This app is a law reader app. I have spend full 3 months to develop this. It also built on several years worth developing resources. I released it a month ago as an updated version of the existing app, which had over 1500 good users' reviews.  It was by far the best app compared to similar apps from other developers.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id916069107?ls=1&mt=8 It is very handy app for law students and practitioners.


                                                                            The first several updates were fine, but suddenly I got 4.3 rejection on Oct 28.  And the reviewer refused to say the exact reason.  Only a template reply.  No proper reply, no phone call. Yesterday I made a "container app" as they suggested and uploaded it.

                                                                             

                                                                            https://www.dropbox.com/s/z26xxfapsk56ant/Screen%20Shot%202017-11-08%20at%207.46.21%20AM.png?dl=0

                                                                            This includes my other app https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/20th-industrial-property-law-commentary-reader/id1217317638?ls=1&mt=8

                                                                            Of course I don't know which apps should be contained in the app because they don't tell the exact reason at all.

                                                                            These are two different apps, targeted for different users and purposes, but they are both law apps and aesthetically similar.


                                                                            I also removed ALL OF MY LAW APPS from sale, including the previous version app.


                                                                            I got 4.3 rejection AGAIN this morning.


                                                                            I don't know what to do. I don't have any more law apps to consolidate.  Do they want me to combine a calendar app and a handwriting app, and a law app into a single app?? I'm making iOS utility apps for almost 10 years.  I'm not a spammer or copy cats.  I don't even make a game.  All of my apps are utility apps and I have been trying to be helpful for users.  This is a very serious situation for all the small developers.

                                                                              • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                                Masatoshi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                                I'm experiencing very weird situation now.

                                                                                 

                                                                                • Yesterday morning, my app finally got approved.

                                                                                • I have changed a little bit, re-submitted it as an update yesterday.

                                                                                • The app got rejected again this morning.

                                                                                 

                                                                                [8 Oct] Build 7534 - Rejected because of Guildeline 4.3 breach

                                                                                [9 Oct] Build 7591 - Approved

                                                                                [10 Oct] Build 7692 - Rejected because of Guildeline 4.3 breach

                                                                                 

                                                                                The differences between these builds are

                                                                                • Bitcode (off for 7591, on for other two)

                                                                                • Firebase Core/AdMob, Fabric, Crashlytics (I removed them in 7591. Other builds contained these frameworks)

                                                                                As well as screenshots and store descriptions.

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

                                                                                When it was rejected, it was rejected super fast like one minute. When approved, it took 30 minutes.

                                                                                 

                                                                                I'm suspecting any one of Firebase Core/AdMob, Fabric, Crashlytics, or the combination of all of these, made the Review Bot think the app was made from a template.

                                                                                Or, it was just a coincidence, or the reviewer showed a temporary mercy for build 7591.

                                                                                 

                                                                                I'll keep on checking.

                                                                                  • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                                    mthomaas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                                    Thanks a lot, I'll try your suggestion with bitcode and metadata (I don't use admob etc.).

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Do you have any more tricks to share?

                                                                                     

                                                                                    My experience: After couples of attemps to make apple approve my app, I've tried to create a new separate dev account for one of my apps, and I again got 4.3 and message saying "identical apps".

                                                                                     

                                                                                    So my question is, how apple bot spots identical or simular apps and what could we do to pass thro this algorythm, at least on a separate account. If fair review doesn't work, we should at least find a workaround...

                                                                                  • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                                    Japps Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                                    I just had a look at your apps, they seem very high standard and clean and I am pretty sure they UI details are very original.


                                                                                    
 

                                                                                    This really shows how the app review team is incompetent with regards to reinforcing these guidelines, they are just taking things out of context now.

                                                                                    
 

                                                                                    Perhaps they want to comibne your "Law" app with your "eLaws and IP Law Container App".?

                                                                                    
 

                                                                                    That's the only thing i can think of.

                                                                                      • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                                        Masatoshi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                                        My app is getting approved. There are things that I have learned so far.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        • My app "Law" can download 8000 laws from the Japanese Government website.  I would say it was a spam if I have released 8000 independent apps for each law.  But the actual app is made for general purposes for law students and practitioners.

                                                                                        However, the app was rejected because of the other app "IP Law Commentary book reader", which is a specialised for reading and referencing intellectual property law PDF published by Japan Patent Office.  (I don’t still know the actual rejection reason because they didn't answer any questions.)

                                                                                        They are both law apps and they have similar functionalities, but the commentary reader app is made for a very specialised purpose.  Combining them (which I had to do) reduces user's experiences.  It's like combining Safari and iBooks just because they are both reading apps.  The review team don't understand anything about laws and how apps are actually used.  They just decided just by their appearances and decided that they had to be a single app because they “look similar”.

                                                                                        These two apps use similar UI parts.  Superficially they look similar, the core logics are very different. Target users are different, the purpose of the apps are different.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        • When they say “your app provides the same feature set as many of the other apps you've submitted to the App Store", "many of other apps" can be a single app.  I don't know how they decide they are "the same", but I guess they determine by their appearances, if they share the same class names, etc.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        • They never reply, they never tell detailed rejection reasons, they never tell what to do. They just send template messages.  App Review Board never replies.

                                                                                        I don't know why they don’t answer, but this simply increases their jobs.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        • "Another app" that has the same feature set must be removed from sale to pass the review.

                                                                                  • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                                    Masatoshi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                                    I have asked Apple which apps are very similar.

                                                                                    The answer was, "TRADE SECRET" so to speak.

                                                                                     

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Hello,

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Thank you for your reply. Just as we would not share information from your Apple Developer Program account with another developer, we do not share the details of apps submitted under other Apple Developer Program accounts.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    During our review, we found that this app duplicates the content and functionality of other apps submitted to the App Store, which is considered a form of spam and not appropriate for the App Store.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Apps submitted to the App Store should be unique and should not duplicate other apps. We encourage you to create a unique app to submit to the App Store. For more information about developing apps for the App Store, visit the https://developer.apple.com/develop/">Develop section of the Apple Developer website.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    We look forward to reviewing your future submissions.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Best regards,

                                                                                     

                                                                                    App Store Review
                                                                                      • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                                        Japps Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                                        I must say, while Apple's original intention with cleaning up the app store was good, I think they are now making more mistakes by killing off more innocent devs than actually killing of real spam apps.

                                                                                          • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                                            ZeldaLink Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                                            I wholly agree.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            It's because they have to review hundreds upon thousands of apps per week, and how are they going to catch all the spam as individual reviewers? The task is nearly impossible, so they cast the net wide using an algorithm that detects spam or clones, and innocent devs get caught up in the web in the process.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            While I agree it's good that Apple is cleaning up spam, I fear this new guideline is actually doing more damage than good, and legit devs will be impacted in the process, and eventually focus on other platforms as a result.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            This guideline is very time consuming and costly to many indies, and does not make it worthwhile to pursue app development with Apple. Apps that were a huge gamble before, are an even bigger gamble now.

                                                                                      • Re: 4.3 Design Guidelines - Apple please reconsider how this is enforced.
                                                                                        mthomaas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

                                                                                        Guys, if you have enough resources there's still another way: you could create separate account for each of your apps (would work fine for white label and similar business models).

                                                                                        As i have said above, I've tried that way and also got 4.3 rejection, so our aim now is to figure out how apple's review algorithms find identical or similar apps and how we could pass through it. We should find a way to confuse/obfuscate code and app's structure, so the bot can't identify copies.

                                                                                        If there's no fair review, we should find our own way to make it fair. I understand that this method would help those who just spam on AppStore, but at least that'll attract apple's attention to our problem and problem in its algorithm