Tech-loving small business owners are probably aware that Apple recently released updated guidelines governing the acceptance of apps in iTunes. One of the changes has ruffled some feathers, particularly with those who aren't all that tech savvy. It's especially impacting companies that have relied on no-code app makers.
In the Minimal Functionality section of the update, under section 4.2.6., Apple's App Store review guidelines now state, "Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected." Since many small business owners use app generation services or independent contractors to build customized apps, this new standard could be alarming. Not all app makers and subsequent apps are so impacted, but some are according to reports about companies such as Appy Pie. However, Appy Pie tells us that only one app created on their platform (one of more than 2 million) has been impacted thus far. The company also said it is receiving more users per day than before.
Based on the work Apple has done over the past year to clean up the App Store, it looks like the focus of the guideline changes has been on removing outdated apps, copycat apps and spam apps. As you can imagine, most spam apps aren't created by diligent developers who spend hours on each design; they're created using simple templates and app builders.
While we can't say for sure that Apple's new guidelines won't change the app creation process for small business owners, it's reasonable to guess that most rejected apps will be in violation of more than just guideline 4.2.6. However, Apple is unlikely to be clear as to why your app has been rejected or ejected from the store.
Before you invest in building a coded, custom app for your business, do your homework and understand the risks involved. It is possible that an app you have created will be rejected, not only based on the rule outlined under 4.2.6. but because of one of the many other guidelines on Apple's list.
If you hire an independent developer to create an app for you, you should ask them if they've read Apple's new App Store review guidelines and how they plan on maintaining compliance. You should also ask any potential developer you hire how they will handle operating system updates, since Apple now requires all apps to stay current if they want to stay in the app store. If you plan to use a DIY app maker, make sure it does not advertise as a no-code maker and is more targeted at low-code or custom code.
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