More surprises from Apple: updated posting rules on the App Store

    For iOS developers, the era of change has come: new devices, new tools, new market requirements. A lot has been said about the technical features of the updated platform and how to design and promote your brainchild on the new version of the App Store. Today we want to turn to another change, which is now less widely discussed - changes in the rules of publication .

    In recent months, Apple has adjusted and supplemented the list of official requirements for products placed on the store twice already. The first batch of edits came in June, as an advance preparation of the soil for the autumn release; the second was published recently. Each was followed by a mass sweep - the removal of thousands of applications from the market without warnings and the hope of an amnesty. Since everything is so serious, perhaps it’s worth examining in more detail what exactly has changed and whether it is worth starting to be afraid. We studied the June and September agreements and collected all the significant innovations here, under the cut.

    Looking ahead: you should not be afraid, but you can be afraid. There are a lot of changes, they are scattered throughout the text and relate to various aspects of development and publication. The lion's share of the titles that came under the distribution is an outright scam, which inspires a well-known sense of security: why should we worry, we are not scammers. But in fact, you can get caught on fairly harmless little things just out of ignorance - we have already come across several such cases.

    So, let's start with the June theses. What do you need to know here?

    1. Will be deleted without talking or warning:

    • Applications for the sale of controlled substances (with the exception of official applications of pharmacy chains).
    • Deprecated applications for which developers no longer provide support, which leads to malfunctioning.
    • Applications created on the basis of templates using special services such as "build it yourself without knowing the code."
    • Applications that use technologies, frameworks, and features that are not compatible with newer versions of OS.
    • Applications for trading binary options.

    2. The list of requirements for anti-spam products is given. Similar functions must be mentioned in the description, moreover, with a detailed explanation of the algorithm by which filtering occurs and calls / messages are blocked. It is forbidden to use the data obtained for any purposes that are not related to the application (selling, tracking, collecting user information, advertising targeting).

    3. The same applies to music applications that access user data in Apple Music.

    4.Medical applications will also be subject to more stringent controls. The description should disclose a methodology that is used for medical reports and guarantees their accuracy. Products that supposedly carry out operations that require special equipment (pressure, temperature, blood sugar level, x-ray) will be rejected right away. Be sure to include recommendations to consult a specialist for a more accurate consultation.

    5. The duration of the subscription period may not be less than a week; the subscription must be relevant on all user devices.

    6.In addition to blocking the ability to use the functionality, a circle of actions was added to watch videos and click on an advertising banner (in addition to posting, reviewing, rating or downloading another application). It is also forbidden to offer remuneration for them, cash or any other.

    7. It is allowed to use the code “from the outside”, provided that it is carried out through WebKit or JavaScript Core, and the developer is part of the Apple Development Program.

    8. Minor changes have been added to the text regarding various aspects of design:

    • Names : should not include expressions such as “for children”, “for kids”, if they do not belong to the corresponding category, as well as references to the price.
    • In subtitles it is forbidden: to refer to other applications or to give product information that you cannot confirm.
    • Icons : the use of customized icons is allowed, provided that it remains possible to return to the original. Variations of the icons should be related to the application content (for example, icons that display different types of weather for the utility with forecasts) and synchronized throughout the system.

    Now let's move on to the latest September version. Here, the list of edits is more concise and in many respects thematically echoes from and continues what was planned in the summer:

    1. Applications will also be deleted whose functionality does not match the description given. As an example, the App Store cites antiviruses in plain text, which, according to sources, form the bulk of the victims of the last purge. By the way, you can’t promise content or services that the product does not offer, not only on the market, but also offline.

    2. Authentication via Face ID should only be done using LocalAuthentication (using ARKit and other technologies is prohibited). For users under 13 years of age, an alternative authentication method should be provided.

    3. ARKit can only be used if you plan to present users with “rich, integrated experience with augmented reality”. In other words, a couple of models or animations can not do here.

    4. Inside the application, it is allowed to transfer funds from user to user, but only voluntarily and as a gift, and not in exchange for digital content or services (in this case, the transaction should be executed as an IAP). The developer does not have the right to take part of the funds for himself.

    5.Products that use technologies such as ARKit, Camera API, Photo API for face recognition, must have a user agreement and ask for consent to the collection of data. The information received cannot be used for purposes not specified in the agreement.

    6. Ethnic discrimination (along with gender, sexuality and religion) will now also be subject to sanctions.

    7. In case of emergency (for example, trafficking in persons or child abuse) Apple reserves the right to not only remove the application, but also inform the appropriate authorities.

    To summarize, the changes relate primarily to data security and some ethical issues. Of course, in the risk zone, first of all, those who have completely lost their conscience, however, with such an abundance of data collection requirements, many applications may not be moderated. In addition, Apple outlines the boundaries for freshly baked technology and also slowly begins to tighten the nuts in relation to the tools. First of all, it makes sense to closely monitor future text updates for those who work with ARKit, Face ID and other new products - as you can see from what has been said, they are now at the stage of active codification.

    Good luck and long life on the market!

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