How to Avoid Getting Your iPad App Rejected

To avoid having your iPad app rejected by Apple, read the documentation, steer away from Apple trademarks and images, and stay away from content that's questionable in any legal sense. These kinds of things will get your app rejected before it ever has a chance to shine in the App Store:

  • Linking to private frameworks: Apple rejects apps that call external frameworks or libraries that contain non-Apple code. In addition, you can't download interpreted code to use in an app except for code that's interpreted and run by Apple's published APIs and built-in interpreters.

    Private frameworks and interpreted code may hide functions that Apple would want to know about. (Some private frameworks have been found to mine personal information from iPhone users without their knowledge.) Apple already knows about most of the private frameworks, so don't bother with them.

  • Straying too far from Apple's guidelines: Be sure to follow these guidelines, which are published in the iPhone Developer Center.

  • Copying existing functionality: Although you should use the functionality provided for developers, you shouldn't simply copy something that Apple already does. Mini Web browsers — apps that essentially show Web pages and do little else — are particularly vulnerable. For example, a simple iPhone app that duplicated the functionality of Safari's bookmark button was rejected.

  • Using an inappropriate keyboard type: If your app needs a phone number or other numeral-only input, and it presents a keyboard that also includes the possibility of entering standard alphanumeric input, it will most likely be rejected.

  • Being oblivious about whether your user lost connection: The iPad is all about using the Internet. If your app uses a network connection, it's your app's responsibility to tell the user if and when his or her iPad loses its network connection while using your app.

Although no one knows the true figure, the vast majority of submitted apps are accepted into the App Store. Besides the typical rejections (mostly for bugs or for improper use of artwork or trademarks in the app), some apps were rejected for pornographic images, some were rejected for being too similar to Apple's own apps, and others fell into some gray area that Apple hadn't anticipated — for instance, apps that are intended to help people cheat at gambling in casinos.

Before you upload your app and its data, make sure you haven't run afoul of any of Apple's rules about trademarks, copyrights, and artwork. Be sure to peruse Apple's posted Guidelines for Using Apple's Trademarks and Copyrights. Here are some tips:

  • Use the same icon for the app (the bundle icon) and the App Store page icon.

  • Icons must be different for lite and pro versions (such as free and paid versions).

  • Don't use any part of an Apple image and certainly none of the company's trademark images or names (including photos or illustrations of the iPad, or even the word iPad).

  • If you use any of Apple's user interface graphics, you must use them in the way they were intended. For example, the blue + button should be used only to add an item to a list.

  • Don't infringe on other trademarks, either. Your app's title, description, and content must not infringe upon other non-Apple trademarks or product likenesses.

  • Keyword terms must be related to your app's content. You can't use offensive terms, and it's a big no-no to refer to other apps, competitive or not.

  • Don't include pricing information in your app's description and release notes, mostly because it would cause confusion in other countries due to pricing differences.

  • Don't mention Steve. Apple will reject any app that mentions Steve Jobs in any context, even as a clue in a puzzle — it doesn't matter how trivial the reference; just the name is enough.

  • Don't try to fool the ratings. Apps are rated accordingly for the highest (meaning most adult) level of content that the user is able to access. If you hide it, they will find it!

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