App Store Review Guideline updates now available
September 11, 2020
The App Store is a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great opportunity for developers. These guideline changes and clarifications support new features in upcoming OS releases, better protect customers, and help your apps go through the review process as smoothly as possible.
Updates are noted below. For complete details, see the App Store Review Guidelines.
2.5.16: App Clips, widgets, extensions, and notifications should be related to the content and functionality of your app. Additionally, all App Clip features and functionality must be included in the main app binary. App Clips cannot contain advertising.
3.1.2(a): Games offered in a streaming game service subscription must be downloaded directly from the App Store, must be designed to avoid duplicate payment by a subscriber, and should not disadvantage non-subscriber customers.
3.1.2(a): Apps that offer auto-renewing music and video subscriptions with prior approval by Apple may also be included in pre-defined bundles with cellular data plans offered in cellular carrier apps.
3.1.3(a): Reader apps may offer account creation for free tiers, and account management functionality for existing customers.
3.1.3(d): Person-to-Person Experiences: If your app enables the purchase of realtime person-to-person experiences between two individuals (for example tutoring students, medical consultations, real estate tours, or fitness training), you may use purchase methods other than in-app purchase to collect those payments. One-to-few and one-to-many realtime experiences must use in-app purchase.
3.1.3(f): Free Stand-alone Apps: Free apps acting as a stand-alone companion to a paid web based tool (eg. VOIP, Cloud Storage, Email Services, Web Hosting) do not need to use in-app purchase, provided there is no purchasing inside the app, or calls to action for purchase outside of the app.
3.1.7: Display advertising should be limited to your main app executable, and should not be included in extensions, App Clips, widgets, notifications, keyboards, watchOS apps, etc.
3.2.2(vi): Apps should not require users to rate the app, review the app, watch videos, download other apps, tap on advertisements, enable tracking, or take other similar actions in order to access functionality, content, use the app, or receive monetary or other compensation, including but not limited to gift cards and codes.
3.2.2(x): Apps offering personal loans must clearly and conspicuously disclose all loan terms, including but not limited to equivalent maximum Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and payment due date. Apps may not charge a maximum APR higher than 36%, including costs and fees, and may not require repayment in full in 60 days or less.
4.9: Streaming games
Streaming games are permitted so long as they adhere to all guidelines — for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate metadata for search, games must use in-app purchase to unlock features or functionality, etc. Of course, there is always the open Internet and web browser apps to reach all users outside of the App Store.
4.9.1: Each streaming game must be submitted to the App Store as an individual app so that it has an App Store product page, appears in charts and search, has user ratings and review, can be managed with ScreenTime and other parental control apps, appears on the user’s device, etc.
4.9.2: Streaming game services may offer a catalog app on the App Store to help users sign up for the service and find the games on the App Store, provided that the app adheres to all guidelines, including offering users the option to pay for a subscription with in-app purchase and use Sign in with Apple. All the games included in the catalog app must link to an individual App Store product page.
After You Submit: If you still disagree with the outcome, or would like to suggest a change to the guideline itself, please submit an appeal.
Bug Fix Submissions: For apps that are already on the App Store, bug fixes will no longer be delayed over guideline violations except for those related to legal issues. If your app has been rejected, and qualifies for this process, please use the Resolution Center to communicate directly with the App Review team indicating that you would like to take advantage of this process and plan to address the issue in your next submission.
2.3.1: Don’t include any hidden, dormant, or undocumented features in your app; your app’s functionality should be clear to end users and App Review.
2.3.1: All new features, functionality, and product changes must be described with specificity in the Notes for Review section of App Store Connect (generic descriptions will be rejected) and accessible for review.
2.3.7: Choose a unique app name, assign keywords that accurately describe your app, and don’t try to pack any of your metadata with trademarked terms, popular app names, pricing information, or other irrelevant phrases just to game the system.
3.1.3: Other Purchase Methods: The following apps may use purchase methods other than in-app purchase. Apps in this section cannot, either within the app or through communications sent to points of contact obtained from account registration within the app (like email or text), encourage users to use a purchasing method other than in-app purchase.
3.1.3(c): Enterprise Services: If your app is only sold directly by you to organizations or groups for their employees or students (for example professional databases and classroom management tools), you may use purchase methods in addition to in-app purchase to collect those payments. Consumer, single user, or family sales must use in-app purchase.
3.1.3(e): Former 3.1.5(a) renumbered.
3.1.3(b): Multiplatform Services: Apps that operate across multiple platforms may allow users to access content, subscriptions, or features they have acquired in your app on other platforms or your web site, including consumable items in multi-platform games, provided those items are also available as in-app purchases within the app.
3.1.5: Former 3.1.5(b) renumbered.
4.5.2(i): MusicKit on iOS lets users play Apple Music and their local music library natively from your apps and games. When a user provides permission to their Apple Music account, your app can create playlists, add songs to their library, and play any of the millions of songs in the Apple Music catalog.
5.1.2(vi): Data gathered from the HomeKit API, HealthKit, Clinical Health Records API, MovementDisorder APIs, ClassKit or from depth and/or facial mapping tools (e.g. ARKit, Camera APIs, or Photo APIs) may not be used for marketing, advertising or use-based data mining, including by third parties. Learn more about best practices for implementing CallKit, HealthKit, ClassKit, and ARKit.