Apple updates App Store Review Guidelines with new rules and clarifications

Apple has updated its App Store Review Guidelines with new rules and clarifications to support upcoming features in future OS releases, maximize customer protection and optimize the app review process. 

The tech giant announced the updated App Store Review Guidelines yesterday on the Apple Developer portal

The company started with the clarification of the prohibition of promoting substances including tobacco, vape, illegal drugs as well as excessive alcohol consumption. 

”Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store. Apps that encourage minors to consume any of these substances will be rejected. Facilitating the sale of controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies), marijuana, or tobacco is not allowed.”

With the updated guidelines, app developers will be required to provide accurate information including their app metadata, description, app screenshots, previews and also Apple’s new app privacy labels to ‘reflect the app’s core experience’. 


Also Read: Apple’s App Privacy Labels May Not Be Completely Accurate


The company also announced that developers shouldn’t use ‘’Rosetta’’ anymore. “Apps should run on the currently shipping OS and may not use deprecated or optionally installed technologies (e.g., Java).”

In addition, the updated App Store review guidelines also includes a clarified language in regards to the use of Apple’s in-app purchase system. The company said that gift cards, certificates, vouchers and coupons which can be redeemed for digital goods should be sold using in-app purchases. Similarly, apps that provide users with tip options should also use the in-app purchase system. 

The company highlighted that game streaming services are welcomed on the App Store, however, they should offer their games separately which can only be downloaded from the App Store. 

”Games offered in a streaming game service subscription may offer a single subscription that is shared across third-party apps and services; however, they 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.”

Apple added a new rule that will require developers to get an explicit permission from their users using the App Tracking Transparency API. Meanwhile, Apple last week announced that the App Tracking Transparency feature will roll out in early spring with an iOS 14 update

You can check out the updated App Store Review Guidelines for more details. 

Written by Sophie Blake

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