WWDC 2020: Apple tweaks app review process, will now let developers 'challenge' the company guidelines

Several software developers told Reuters they are frustrated by the fact Apple retains the final say in review process.

Apple Inc on Monday said it would let software developers “challenge” the guidelines that govern its app review process and will end its practice of blocking routine bug fixes over minor violations.

Apple’s App Store is the only way for developers to distribute their software to consumers’ iPhones and iPads. Apple keeps between 15 percent and 30 percent of revenues generated by developers in the store, making it a key part of its growth strategy as the pace of iPhone upgrades has slowed.

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Apple App Store

Apple App Store

To get into the store, apps undergo a review process governed by Apple guidelines. Some rules, such as requiring apps to offer an option to use Apple’s in-app purchasing and split revenues with the iPhone maker, have become a flash point.

Software makers have long been able to appeal to Apple’s rulings, but several told Reuters they are frustrated by the fact Apple retains the final say.

AWeber, a Pennsylvania-based maker of email marketing software, went back and forth with Apple for months last year over whether it needed to remove account creation links from its app and add in-app purchasing.

“They’d flag something, we would make some modifications, and they would flag something different,” Tom Kulzer, the company’s chief executive, told Reuters.

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In a news release, Apple said it will now provide a “mechanism” for developers to “challenge” the guidelines. A spokesman declined to elaborate.

Apple also said it will no longer delay routine bug fixes over App Store guideline violations unless they relate to “legal issues,” instead requiring fixes at the next major release.

Developers said those delays angered customers.

“The fact you don’t learn about it until you’re trying to push a bug fix has a really negative impact on customers,” said Andy Fowler, chief technology officer at Michigan-based sales software maker Nutshell.

As per the press release, the developers can also give feedback during new developers forums via new channels created by Apple. According to the company, " In these forums, developers are encouraged to share their suggestions, large and small, so that Apple may continue to implement changes and improve the App Store experience for the entire developer community."

(With inputs from Reuters)

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