Disclaimer: This is a venting post with no happy ending, so feel warned and don’t get disappointed at the end. Also this is a very personal opinion, as this is a personal blog.
I have an app at the App Store called “Fun Photo Booth” and me and my designer are releasing content updates around major holidays with some new content so people would find it more relevant at the exact times. On the 16th of January I uploaded a St.Valentain’s content update and a major bug fix. I thought one month in advance will be enough for the review to go through.
The app got rejected later on on few counts. I was pretty surprised because the only updates to the app itself were adding few images and changing one line of code. So here comes:
Apple Fail #1: App which is currently live gets rejected on multiple accounts, which went through approval already 2 times. Great way to build trust with developers…
One of the accounts were that my app update with desired name “St. Valentains’s Photo Booth” is infringing Apple’s patent on the name “Photo Booth”. I actually tried to argue with Apple on that account. I felt incredibly unfair that they are rejecting “St. Valentain’s Photo Booth” to the App Store, while there are present hundreds and hundreds of apps containing “Photo Booth” in their name for example “Photo Booth+”, “Photo Booth Classic” and “PhotoBooth” etc. etc. etc. Well … Apple decided exactly “St.Valentain’s Photo Booth” is infringing their patent. For some reason.
Another account on which the app was rejected was “What are you using iCloud for? iCloud cannot be used as storage.” Literally. The app reviewer literally rejected my application because it was using iCloud for storing files in the cloud. This is ridiculous! I actually sent them back a link to apple.com’s iCloud page.
Apple Fail #2: The particular app reviewer either didn’t understand English language or didn’t have any idea what iCloud is. From the way the message sent to me was written I’d guess it was the former and the latter
After we exchanged several messages through the Resolution center, Apple called on the phone. I spoke with a nice girl, who said everything was alright and after I emphasized on the fact it was an update for St.Valentain’s she said they’ll look into resolving the matter if I change the name of the app. So I did. I changed the name of the app, so I could go online for St.Valentain’s.
I didn’t hear anything from Apple for about 3 weeks. St.Valentain’s was long due, when I got a message from them in the Resolution’s center that they tried to call me but didn’t find me. I sent them my new phone number, and so they gave me another call. I’d like to mention again that St.Valentain was long due at that point and my update was killed by them.
I spoke with a guy this time, again very polite (as Apple is always on the phone btw)
He told me they cannot let the app to the App Store the way it is. “Well my update is killed now” I said “so just tell me what exactly is the problem, so I can solve it and start thinking about the next update”. “We cannot let you save to iCloud with a gesture” he said. That was totally incomprehensible to me. “What are you talking about?” I inquired. “You save to iCloud by using a gesture, we cannot allow this” he responded. This went for a while like that. It turned out the reviewer of my app, rejected it on the grounds he believed he had to use some kind of a gesture to save to iCloud (I honestly don’t know what he/she had in mind) – my app saves to iCloud when the user taps a button with an iCloud logo on it.
Apple Fail #3: The app reviewer didn’t figure out a button is to tap on.
The guy on the phone who was some kind of manager, excused himself for killing my app update and promised to work with the review team to resolve the problem and helping me out to get my next update to the App Store. I never heard from Apple about my app anymore.
The app is still rejected. I didn’t have any feedback about it. I don’t know what is the problem with it.
My previous version is still live on the App Store. It still has the major bug I wanted fixed with this update.
It’s been more than 60 days since January the 18th when I submitted the update to Apple.
None of the apps infringing Apple’s patent on the “Photo Booth” name have been removed from the App Store.
The things from my perspective look like this:
People who either don’t speak the language or are not familiar with the Apple products and services have the say whether my product goes to the App Store or not. Apple is very slow during the whole process and usually sends out canned responses. And it’s not the first time they kill one of my apps …
I really love Apple and the App Store, but way too many things in the story above feel just wrong. And I really know it’s not acceptable to say Apple is not perfect, but it’s just how it isThe post was originally published on the following URL: http://www.touch-code-magazine.com/the-60days-and-counting-app-review/