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March 08, 2024

Updated policies, upcoming features and clarifications

Apple has updated their App Store Review Guidelines to support updated policies, upcoming features, and to provide clarification.

Apple’s own summary can be found here.

The complete set of changes can be seen below:

App Store Review Guidelines

Apps are changing the world, enriching people’s lives, and enabling developers like you to innovate like never before. As a result, the App Store has grown into an exciting and vibrant ecosystem for millions of developers and more than a billion users. Whether you are a first -time developer or a large team of experienced programmers, we are excited that you are creating apps for the App Storeour platforms, and want to help you understand our guidelines so you can be confident your app will get through the review process quickly.


The guiding principle of the App Store is simple—we want to provide a safe experience for users to get apps and a great opportunity for all developers to be successful. We do this by offering a highly curated App Store where every app is reviewed by experts and an editorial team helps users discover new apps every day. We also scan each app for malware and other software that may impact user safety, security, and privacy. These efforts have made Apple’s platforms the safest for consumers around the world.

In the European Union, developers can also distribute notarized iOS apps from alternative app marketplaces. Learn more about alternative app marketplaces and Notarization for iOS apps. You can see which guidelines apply to Notarization for iOS apps by clicking on “Show Notarization Review Guidelines Only” in the menu to the left.

For everything else there is always the open Internet. If the App Store model and guidelines or alternative app marketplaces and Notarization for iOS apps are not best for your app or business idea that’s okay, we provide Safari for a great web experience too.

On the following pages you will find our latest guidelines arranged into five clear sections: Safety, Performance, Business, Design, and Legal. The App Store is always changing and improving to keep up with the needs of our customers and our products. Your apps should change and improve as well in order to stay on the App Store.

A few other points to keep in mind:mind about distributing your app on our platforms:

  • We have lots of kids downloading lots of apps. Parental controls work great to protect kids, but you have to do your part too. So know that we’re keeping an eye out for the kids.
  • The App Store is a great way to reach hundreds of millions of people around the world. If you build an app that you just want to show to family and friends, the App Store isn’t the best way to do that. Consider using Xcode to install your app on a device for free or use Ad Hoc distribution available to Apple Developer Program members. If you’re just getting started, learn more about the Apple Developer Program.
  • We strongly support all points of view being represented on the App Store, as long as the apps are respectful to users with differing opinions and the quality of the app experience is great. We will reject apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, “I’ll know it when I see it”. And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.
  • If you attempt to cheat the system (for example, by trying to trick the review process, steal user data, copy another developer’s work, manipulate ratings or App Store discovery) your apps will be removed from the store and you will be expelled from the Apple Developer Program.
  • You are responsible for making sure everything in your app complies with these guidelines, including ad networks, analytics services, and third-party SDKs, so review and choose them carefully.
  • Some features and technologies that are not generally available to developers may be offered as an entitlement for limited use cases. For example, we offer entitlements for CarPlay Audio, HyperVisor, and Privileged File Operations. Review our documentation on developer.apple.com to learn more about entitlements.

We hope these guidelines help you sail through the App Reviewreview process, and that approvals and rejections remain consistent across the board. This is a living document; new apps presenting new questions may result in new rules at any time. Perhaps your app will trigger this. We love this stuff too, and honor what you do. We’re really trying our best to create the best platform in the world for you to express your talents and make a living, too.

1. Safety

When people install an app from the App Store, they want to feel confident that it’s safe to do so—that the app doesn’t contain upsetting or offensive content, won’t damage their device, and isn’t likely to cause physical harm from its use. We’ve outlined the major pitfalls below, but if you’re looking to shock and offend people, the App Store isn’t the right place for your app. Some of these rules are also included in Notarization for iOS apps.

  • 2.3 Accurate MetadataASR & NR
    • 2.3.1
      • (a)ASR & NR Don’t include any hidden, dormant, or undocumented features in your app; your app’s functionality should be clear to end users and App Review. All new features, functionality, and product changes must be described with specificity in the Notes for Review section of App Store Connect (generic descriptions will be rejected) and accessible for review. Similarly, marketing your app in a misleading way, such as by promoting content or services that it does not actually offer (e.g. iOS-based virus and malware scanners) or promoting a false price, whether within or outside of the App Store, is grounds for removal of your app from the App Store or a block from installing via alternative distribution and termination of your developer account.
      • (b) Egregious or repeated behavior is grounds for removal from the Apple Developer Program. We work hard to make the App Store a trustworthy ecosystem and expect our app developers to follow suit; if you’re dishonest, we don’t want to do business with you.
    • 2.3.8ASR & NR Metadata should be appropriate for all audiences, so make sure your app and in-app purchase icons, screenshots, and previews adhere to a 4+ age rating even if your app is rated higher. For example, if your app is a game that includes violence, select images that don’t depict a gruesome death or a gun pointed at a specific character. Use of terms like “For Kids” and “For Children” in app metadata is reserved in the App Store for the Kids Category. Remember to ensure your metadata, including app name and icons (small, large, Apple Watch app, alternate icons, etc.), are similar to avoid creating confusion.
    • 2.3.10 Make sure your app is focused on the iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS or watchOS experience, and don’t include names, icons, or imagery of other mobile platforms or alternative app marketplaces in your app or metadata, unless there is specific, approved interactive functionality. Make sure your app metadata is focused on the app itself and its experience. Don’t include irrelevant information.
  • 2.5 Software Requirements
    • 2.5.18ASR & NR Display advertising should be limited to your main app binary, and should not be included in extensions, App Clips, widgets, notifications, keyboards, watchOS apps, etc. Ads displayed in an app must be appropriate for the app’s age rating, allow the user to see all information used to target them for that ad (without requiring the user to leave the app), and may not engage in targeted or behavioral advertising based on sensitive user data such as health/medical data (e.g. from the HealthKit APIs), school and classroom data (e.g. from ClassKit), or from kids (e.g. from apps in the App Store’s Kids Category), etc. Interstitial ads or ads that interrupt or block the user experience must clearly indicate that they are an ad, must not manipulate or trick users into tapping into them, and must provide easily accessible and visible close/skip buttons large enough for people to easily dismiss the ad. Apps that contain ads must also include the ability for users to report any inappropriate or age-inappropriate ads.
  • 4.4 ExtensionsASR & NR

    Apps hosting or containing extensions must comply with the App Extension Programming Guide, the Safari App Extensionsapp extensions documentation, or the Safari Web Extensionsweb extensions documentation and should include some functionality, such as help screens and settings interfaces where possible. You should clearly and accurately disclose what extensions are made available in the app’s marketing text, and the extensions may not include marketing, advertising, or in-app purchases.

  • 4.5ASR & NR Apple Sites and Services
    • 4.5.2ASR & NR Apple Music
      • (ii) Using the MusicKit APIs is not a replacement for securing the licenses you might need for a deeper or more complex music integration. For example, if you want your app to play a specific song at a particular moment, or to create audio or video files that can be shared to social media, you’ll need to contact rights-holders directly to get their permission (e.g. synchronization or adaptation rights) and assets. Cover art and other metadata may only be used in connection with music playback or playlists (including App Store screenshots displaying your app’s functionality), and should not be used in any marketing or advertising without getting specific authorization from rights-holders. Make sure to follow the Apple Music Identity Guidelines when integrating Apple Music services in your app.
  • 4.8 Login ServicesASR & NR

    Apps that use a third-party or social login service (such as Facebook Login, Google Sign-In, Sign in with Twitter, Sign In with LinkedIn, Login with Amazon, or WeChat Login) to set up or authenticate the user’s primary account with the app must also offer as an equivalent option another login service with the following features:

    • the login service limits data collection to the user’s name and email address;
    • the login service allows users to keep their email address private as part of setting up their account; and
    • the login service does not track users ascollect interactions with your app for advertising purposes without consent.

    A user’s primary account is the account they interactestablish with your app A user’s primary account is the account they establish with your app for the purposes of identifying themselves, signing in, and accessing your features and associated services.

    Another login service is not required if:

    • Your app exclusively uses your company’s own account setup and sign-in systems.
    • Your app is an alternative app marketplace, or an app distributed from an alternative app marketplace, that uses a marketplace-specific login for account, download, and commerce features.
    • Your app is an education, enterprise, or business app that requires the user to sign in with an existing education or enterprise account.
    • Your app uses a government or industry-backed citizen identification system or electronic ID to authenticate users.
    • Your app is a client for a specific third-party service and users are required to sign in to their mail, social media, or other third-party account directly to access their content.

  • 5.1 PrivacyASR & NR
    • 5.1.1 Data Collection and StorageASR & NR
      • (v) Account Sign-In: If your app doesn’t include significant account-based features, let people use it without a login. If your app supports account creation, you must also offer account deletion within the app. Apps may not require users to enter personal information to function, except when directly relevant to the core functionality of the app or required by law. If your core app functionality is not related to a specific social network (e.g. Facebook, WeChat, Weibo, TwitterX, etc.), you must provide access without a login or via another mechanism. Pulling basic profile information, sharing to the social network, or inviting friends to use the app are not considered core app functionality. The app must also include a mechanism to revoke social network credentials and disable data access between the app and social network from within the app. An app may not store credentials or tokens to social networks off of the device and may only use such credentials or tokens to directly connect to the social network from the app itself while the app is in use.
      • (viii) Apps that compile personal information from any source that is not directly from the user or without the user’s explicit consent, even public databases, are not permitted on the App Store or alternative app marketplaces.
    • 5.1.5 Location ServicesASR & NR

      Use Location Services in your app only when it is directly relevant to the features and services in your app only when it is directly relevant to the features and services provided by the app. Location-based APIs shouldn’t be used to provide emergency services or autonomous control over vehicles, aircraft, and other devices, except for small devices such as lightweight drones and toys, or remote control car alarm systems, etc. Ensure that you notify and obtain consent before collecting, transmitting, or using location data. If your app uses location servicesLocation Services, be sure to explain the purpose in your app; refer to the Human Interface Guidelines for best practices for doing so.

  • 5.4 VPN AppsASR & NR

    Apps offering VPN services must utilize the NEVPNManager API and may only be offered by developers enrolled as an organization. You must make a clear declaration of what user data will be collected and how it will be used on an app screen prior to any user action to purchase or otherwise use the service. Apps offering VPN services may not sell, use, or disclose to third parties any data for any purpose, and must commit to this in their privacy policy. VPN apps must not violate local laws, and if you choose to make your VPN app available in a territory that requires a VPN license, you must provide your license information in the App Review Notes field. Parental control, content blocking, and security apps, among others, from approved providers may also use the NEVPNManager API. Apps that do not comply with this guideline will be removed from the App Store and blocked from installing via alternative distribution and you may be removed from the Apple Developer Program.

  • 5.5 Mobile Device ManagementASR & NR

    Mobile Device Management Apps that offer Mobile Device Management (MDM) services must request this capability from Apple. Such apps may only be offered by commercial enterprises, educational institutions, or government agencies, and in limited cases, companies using MDM for parental control services or device security. You must make a clear declaration of what user data will be collected and how it will be used on an app screen prior to any user action to purchase or otherwise use the service. MDM apps must not violate any applicable laws. Apps offering MDM services may not sell, use, or disclose to third parties any data for any purpose, and must commit to this in their privacy policy. In limited cases, third-party analytics may be permitted provided that the services only collect or transmit data about the performance of the developer’s MDM app, and not any data about the user, the user’s device, or other apps used on that device. Apps offering configuration profiles must also adhere to these requirements. Apps that do not comply with this guideline will be removed from the App Store and blocked from installing via alternative distribution and you may be removed from the Apple Developer Program.

  • 5.6 Developer Code of ConductASR & NR

    Customer trust is thea cornerstone of the App Store’s successecosystem. Apps should never prey on users or attempt to rip off customers, trick them into making unwanted purchases, force them to share unnecessary data, raise prices in a tricky manner, charge for features or content that are not delivered, or engage in any other manipulative practices within or outside of the app.

    • 5.6.2 Developer IdentityASR & NR

      Providing verifiable information to Apple and customers is critical to customer trust. Your representation of yourself, your business, and your offerings on the App Store or alternative app marketplaces must be accurate. The information you provide must be truthful, relevant, and up-to-date so that Apple and customers understand who they are engaging with and can contact you regarding any issues.

  • After You Submit

    • Timing: App Review will examine your app as soon as we can. However, if your app is complex or presents new issues, it may require greater scrutiny and consideration. And remember that if your app is repeatedly rejected for the same guideline violation or you’ve attempted to manipulate the App Reviewreview process, review of your app will take longer to complete. Learn more about App Review.
    • Bug Fix Submissions: For apps that are already on the App Store or an alternative app marketplace, bug fixes will no longernot be delayed over guideline violations except for those related to legal or safety issues. If your app has been rejected, and qualifies for this process, please use App Store Connect to communicate directly with the App Review team indicating that you would like to take advantage of this process and plan to address the issue in your next submission.