I want an app to promote my business but Apple won’t let me!

I want an app to promote my business but Apple won’t let me!

That can be true.  Apple’s approval process is a bit of a mystery and can be frustrating. We talk to customers who tell us they want “exactly what [competitor x] has in iTunes,” but Apple rejected their attempts at publishing iPhone apps.  This leads them to ask us “what’s up with that?”

Here’s the deal.  Apple has published approval guidelines.  Last fall, Engadget posted a concise summary of the Apple app store guidelines. This summary, however, is not all that instructive to the business owner with an excellent web presence or important web functionality he wants to transfer to an iOS app.

In our experience, the bottom line is that Apple will reject apps with no inherent value to the user other than as a portal to a website.  In its guidelines, Apple says:

2.12 Apps that are not very useful or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected

2.13 Apps that are primarily marketing materials or advertisements will be rejected

It’s not that Apple will reject an app that has the effect of promoting your business by (1) helping you communicate and interact with customers and employees, (2) publishing information important to your customers and employees, (3) informing about your products and services, (4) connecting to your social media, (5) demonstrating or informing about your products and services, (6) directing customers to your facilities.  In fact, these are all reasons for Apple to approve your app.  But in the app design stage, we strongly recommend that your iOS app have functionality beyond the typical website and that you implement your design with the mobile platform in mind.

Android is a Different Animal All Together

… and it cannot be ignored.  Fully 40% of the mobile devices in customers’ hands today are based on Google’s open-source Android operating system.  Arguing which platform is superior is far beyond the scope of this post.   To the business owner looking to leverage a mobile presence into more revenue and profit, the question is not relevant.

For the purposes of this article, one must know only that the Android platform has no approval procedure.  There is no “approval anxiety” associated with an Android app project.  Simply assemble and publish to the Android Marketplace.

Here’s our advice:

  • If you have an app that won’t pass Apple muster, publish it first in Android.  Refine it. And then return to Apple later.
  • If your customers primarily are Android users, dedicate yourself to the Android platform.

Apple is, and will for the foreseeable future be, a critical part of the mobile landscape.  From our perspective, it’s important to have an app presence on both the iOS and Android platforms.  Just remember that you must design special functionality into the your iOS product.

Have you had an app rejected by Apple that you think should have been approved?  Leave a comment and tell us about it.


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