Apple will provide a way for app makers to ‘challenge’ App Store rules


Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers the keynote address during the 2020 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California.

Brooks Kraft/Apple Inc/Handout via Reuters

Apple said on Monday that it’s making two changes to its app approval policies, after developers erupted in anger last week over the App Store’s rules. 

All iPhone apps are reviewed by Apple employees as part of a system called App Review, which checks the app against Apple’s “guidelines,” and makes a decision whether the app is approved or if the developers need to fix it. 

Going forward, developers will not only be able to appeal whether an app violates a specific guideline, but also can “challenge” the guideline itself, Apple said in a press release. Additionally, Apple said it will no longer delay bug fix updates if an app is found in violation of the guidelines. Instead, developers can address the issue in their next major submission. 

The changes are a sign that Apple is responding to a recent uproar over its App Store business practices.

Last week, the makers of email app Hey said that Apple threatened to remove their app after they submitted a bug fix update, spurring scores of developers to share their own complaints with the App Store.

Apple said that Hey was in violation of its guidelines by offering a subscription through its website and not offering an option to subscribe through the App Store, where Apple takes a 30% cut. Hey’s bug fix update was approved over the weekend and does not include in-app purchases. 

Apple said the changes will be implemented this summer. It added that it would hold additional sessions about the app review process at its developer conference and said it’s surveying developers for feedback. 

Separately, Apple said on Monday during its WWDC conference that it would enable iPhone users to change their default mail and browser apps, addressing an allegation made by competitors that the iPhone maker wields too much control over its platform. 

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