• 09.03.14

Bad Design Is One Of The Top 10 Reasons Apple Rejects Apps

While Apple reveals the most common mistakes developers make, a whole 42% of app store rejections are still unexplained.

Bad Design Is One Of The Top 10 Reasons Apple Rejects Apps
[Photo: Flickr user Beebe]

To millions of developers, Apple’s App Store review team can seem like an inscrutable shadow watch, where apps are rejected for the most arbitrary reasons. Apple, of course, usually cultivates such airs of mystery, but in a semi-rare bout of (partial) transparency, the iPhone maker has built a rainbow-hued chart, updated weekly, showing the top 10 reasons why apps have been rejected. And as it turns out, a sizable chunk of apps are rejected simply because they are poorly designed.


While 14% of apps are rejected for not providing all the necessary information Apple requires, and another 8% are rejected for being buggy, 6% of apps are rejected simply for violating Apple developer guideline 10.6 which is basically Apple’s “dont submit shit” policy”:

Apple and our customers place a high value on simple, refined, creative, well thought through interfaces. They take more work but are worth it. Apple sets a high bar. If your user interface is complex or less than very good, it may be rejected.

Given some of the totally rubbish apps that have passed the monocle-wearing scrutiny of Apple’s crackerjack team of design arbiters, I guess it’s comforting to hear that Apple rejects any apps for bad design, let alone 14%. You wouldn’t think it, looking at some of the more sketchy recesses of the App Store.

Apps are also commonly rejected for being fraudulent in some way — for example, for using another app’s icon, or being uploaded with a misleading description.

But don’t mistake this for total transparency. Although Apple’s chart is better than nothing, the company lumps a full 42% of all App Store rejections under the “Other” category. This category is made up of apps that have been rejected for reasons that, taken individually, account for less than 2% of all rejections.

This makes sense, since there are a lot of App Store guidelines, and worse, many of them are maddeningly vague. For example, one reason Apple says it can rejects an app is because it “crosses the line,” and Apple thinks you will “know it when you cross it.” There are a lot of arbitrary decisions that may potentially be hidden in this so-called transparency.

You can check Apple’s full breakdown of App Store rejections here.