Focusing primarily on design and development, many apptrepreneurs tend to overlook what comes after the building and testing of an app. Namely, publishing your app on the app stores can sometimes be a challenge, yet a neglected aspect of product development.
As easy as it sounds, the app store review and publishing process requires thorough preparations. The number of guidelines, rules, requirements, and limitations you need to take into account are huge. In fact most of them should be considered early in the process of app development, not after it.
That is why we have put together this comprehensive guide to the app store review process, using our experience and the industry’s best practices. In this article we will answer the most common questions related to the app store review process.
Apple is known for its strict requirements for the apps that are submitted for review. That is why the first thing you should do when planning an iOS app launch is to get familiar with the App Store Review Guidelines.
How do I publish my app on the App Store?
First of all, you will need to enroll in the Apple Developer Program. The membership fee is $99 per year. Yet, your developer account will allow you to access all the Apple resources and tools you need to build and publish as many apps as you need.
The process of submitting your app for review is pretty complicated. First, you will have to create a unique app ID, provisioning profile, and generate a distribution certificate using your Apple developer profile.
Then you will need to use XCode to sign the app using the certificate you generated earlier, create a product archive, and add it to your iTunes Connect profile.
In your ITunes Connect profile, you can fill out all the information about the app, test it once more, and submit it for review.
Source – developer.apple.com
You can find a more detailed technical guide to the App Store app submission process here, but we strongly recommend using professional assistance to avoid rejection and to speed up the process.
What information will I need to submit my app to the App Store?
To submit the app for review you will need to fill out several forms and provide the following information:
- an app name
- an app icon (optimized for different devices)
- a description
- a rating
- keywords (for App Store Optimization)
- video preview (optional)
- a support URL
- copyright information
How long does it take to get an app reviewed by Apple?
Apple claims to be reviewing and testing the submitted apps manually, that is why it takes on average 2 days. The official sources state that 50% of apps are reviewed in 24 hours, and over 90% are reviewed in 48 hours. Thus, it rarely takes more than 2 days to get your app approved or rejected.
Until recently, it took over 7 days to review and approve an app. The situation changed in 2016.
Why can an app be rejected by the Apple Review Board?
The following list contains the most popular reasons for an app to be rejected:
- Performance issues – the app is incomplete, lacks some information, it is unstable, or has bugs.
- The app is considered to be spam (the app is submitted multiple times or is blatantly replicating another app).
- The app does not meet Apple’s design requirements.
- The app does not comply with the in-app purchase policies.
- There are violations of the Program License Agreement.
- The app doesn’t meet the rating requirements.
- The app doesn’t have the minimum required functionality.
Source – developer.apple.com
What to do if your app was rejected?
Check the guidelines one more time and try to understand the reason for the rejection. You can also reach out to the Review Board and ask for advice on how to improve your app so that it meets the platform standards.
If you are 100% sure that the app complies with the requirements, you can appeal the rejection and have your app reconsidered by the Review Board.
Are there any other ways to distribute my iOS app?
Yes. In addition to the public release on the App Store, you can choose to launch your app to a limited number of people using the ad hoc distribution plan (limited to 100 devices) or the Enterprise Program (membership fee is $299 per year) for the sole use inside of your organization.
Just like the App Store, Google Play has its own app submission and review process.
How to submit an app to the Google Play Store?
First, you need to create your Google Play publisher account. You will need to pay one-time registration fee of $25. There are no additional charges in the future, no matter how many apps you publish.
If you are planning to publish paid apps, you have to create a Google Wallet Merchant account.
The process of submission is similar to that of the App Store. You will need to prepare and sign the final version of your app, using the Android Studio and the Google Publisher account.
Similarly, you will be required to provide the app information and assets, including app icons, screenshots, and description.
You can find more information on how to submit an app to Google Play in the official guide.
To avoid mistakes and to make sure your app gets approved, we recommend using professional assistants from a trusted development provider.
How long is a standard review process for Android apps?
Unlike a manual review process at an App Store, Google uses an automated algorithm to pre-analyze all submitted apps for obvious content violations or malware. Yet, the algorithm is not perfect. Consequently, after the app passes this screening process, it will be manually tested by a team of reviewers.
Despite combining the machine-aided evaluation with the manual review, the Play Store review process is still much faster than the one at the App Store. It usually takes from 1 to 7 hours to get your app approved.
Why can my app be rejected and what to do about it?
Most of the reasons for rejection are the same as they are at the App Store. This might be due to the violation of the Google Play policies or some performance issues. In any case, you will get an email explaining the reason why your app was rejected. You can appeal the rejection or fix the existing issues and try to resubmit the app.
Take into account that your app can be suspended if there are multiple rejections. This might also affect your developer account, so be careful about this.
Despite the lower costs and shorter review process for the Google Play Store, don’t give up on Apple – iOS apps usually generate more revenue.
That is why we recommend taking a closer look at each of the platform’s benefits. Find more information here.
Even if your product is the most useful and beautifully designed app in the world, if it doesn’t comply with the platform’s requirements and policies, it will be rejected. Thus, there is only one surefire way to pass the App Store/Google Play review process: understand and follow the official requirements and guides each platform provides.
To increase your chances for success and speed up the review process, pay attention to the following aspects:
- Make sure your app is thoroughly tested and doesn’t have any bugs.
- Prepare all required information and design assets in advance. Use professional designer/copywriter services to ensure the best quality of your assets.
- Don’t get too carried away with app store optimization – it can lower your chances for approval.
- Don’t publish your app at the end of the week: In case there is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately, you will have to wait for several days.
- Hire a trusted technology partner to help you with the tech aspects of the app submission.
Having a reliable and experienced development team by your side can help you overcome all challenges and successfully submit your app to the stores. We at Eastern Peak have successfully brought dozens of mobile apps to the market, helping our customers get through the app review process. If you want to discuss your next project, contact our sales team.
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