Sunday, April 8, 2012

How do I contest an iPhone app store review?

I have an application in the app store. I have submitted 3 updates to the app. 2 of those 3 updates have been rejected based on something that has not changed at all since the original submission.

I recognize that they have a different person each time review my application.

However, the net effect is:

  • How do I effectively contest a review? I have replied to the review response email each time and never once received a response. If I didn't have customers who expect bugfixes and updates, I'd just resubmit as-is and expect a different reviewer.

  • Is there any phone number, or other way to actually talk to a human about this? The most recent rejection was based on "Infringing on Apple's trademarks" which was ludicrous.

Source: Tips4all


  1. Follow their suggestions and be polite. Even though you may disagree with their take on more subjective items like the usage of UI elements, take their advice and adjust your application to match. It doesn't matter if there's something that has been in your application from day one. I had a table view that improperly retained a selection when it shouldn't, something that had been in there from the launch of the App Store. When they pointed it out, I corrected the error and the application passed review a couple days later. Sometimes you really are the one at fault.

    If after reworking you still receive a rejection and have no idea how to work around it, write an articulate, polite response to the reviewers asking for clarification and possible suggestions. Resist the urge to run out and start yelling to the world at large that Apple is specifically suppressing you and your innovation. That will only hurt you in the long run. Remember, there are real people at the other end of that From: address.

    Anyone who's dealt with the U.S. patent system will find similarities here. Sometimes you get a patent examiner who picks apart every last element in your filing, and sometimes you get a patent issued with ridiculously broad claims. In both cases, you're dealing with organizations that have a huge volume of applications to sort through (although the patent office is far more restrictive). I've found that the patience and willingness to accept changes that works with one organization helps when dealing with the other.

    Beyond all this, it helps to cultivate relationships with the people at Apple. They do want to assist you, and their engineers are extremely helpful people. WWDC is coming up and is a great place to get to know these engineers, as are the other Apple-hosted tech events. If you develop an advocate for your work within the company, that can definitely help with the review process.

  2. I've had a similar problem with an update getting rejected. You still must address the rejection issue even though the current in store app has the same problem.

    The only way I know of to talk with a real person is to pay $199 for an ADC support ticket.

    Since this seems to be a fact of life right now for the App Store, it's affecting everyone. So our customers, clients and users will have to bear with us while Apple works the kinks out and scales up.

  3. You don't. You can't. You just have to resubmit.

    Its one of the biggest problems with the app store.

  4. I have seen a few people complaining about this as if the fact that an app slips past the first reviewer is somehow granting them a precedent.

    Consider the App Store reviewers as testers. If you hand off successive versions of an app to test, would you claim that a bug picked up in the second round of testing had a right to exist because it was missed the first time?

    They are testing your app against UI and business guidelines as seriously as they are also seeing if it crashes. I'd be thankful for the range of eyeballs - it is one way to guarantee that the iPhone firehose of app delivery doesn't spout out too many inconsistencies!

  5. It's one the larger issues with Apple's feedback system. No way to "fix" poor viewers.