Virtually all experienced Indian app developers from app development companies
are already aware of Apples long list of guidelines on app development and submission for review. The guidelines cover Safety, Performance, Business, Legal, and Design. However, this article focuses on Safety. It is useful to both experienced and new Indian app developers and non-Indian app developers can benefit from it too.
The rate of fraud and identity theft has reached an alarming stage and nobody jokes with the safety of his data anymore. The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal
only worsens the situation. So, Indian app developers should spare no expense on the safety of users’ data. From its end, Apple also wants to ensure that all apps on their App Store offer the highest level of safety.
Safety also includes saving users from upsetting or offensive content and content that can damage their device. When Indian app developers and other developers begin to upload unsafe apps on App Store, it will gradually reduce the trust and credibility that Apple has built over the years. So, to avoid all that, here are Apple’s safety guidelines for iOS apps that all Indian app developers should understand.
Your app should not include objectionable content. By this term, Apple means content that is annoying, disgusting, upsetting, insensitive, and quite offensive. It does not have to be offensive to everyone before the content gets rejected. Once Apple feels that the app has some content that will be offensive to a good number of people, the app will be rejected.
Shedding more light on it, the term objectionable content also covers defamatory content and discriminatory ones against certain race, gender, sexual orientation, national, and religion. If any content of your app is targeted at certain famous individual or group or affiliations, it will also be rejected. So, all Indian app developers should take note of all these.
Realistic images of animals or people being killed, tortured, or maimed is absolutely unacceptable on App Store. If for any reason, your app will include any of such, then App Store is not the right platform for you to promote your app. Look elsewhere. Any content that is deemed to promote violence or drugs will be rejected too. Content that portrays illegal or reckless use of weapons for unjust causes are also prohibited as it also promotes violence. In addition, sexual or pornographic materials are also prohibited. Although there are several apps built to stimulate erotic feelings, they belong to another category.
Apps that are intended to give false or inaccurate information will not pass through App Store even if it is for fun. Apps that are meant to give prank phone calls, SMS, or MMS are not allowed. App Store encourages customers to review your app so you must respond to their reviews with respect and decorum even if you find their comments offensive. Customers are always right. If you have to respond, you should respond to the issue raised by each user and don’t take things to a personal level.
If you intend to prompt users for reviews, you should use the API provided by App Store
as using custom review prompts will get your app sanctioned.
User Generated Content
Some apps work with user generated content and this kind of apps usually encounters challenges like anonymous bullying, infringement of intellectual property… etc. While you may not be able to eradicate such cases completely, Apple expects you to take certain steps to prevent them. On that note, Apple expects you to meet the following requirements
1. You must publish your contact information for users to reach you easily
2. You must be able to identify and block abusive users as quickly as possible
3. Your app must have mechanism through which users can report offensive content and you must also offer timely response to such concerns
4. You must also have an effective filtering method to filter off objectionable materials from being posted to/on your app
Is your app meant for kids? Then you also need to know some of the safety guidelines for apps in Kids Category on App Store. Since the app is meant for kids, you should not include any link that will take them out of the app. There should not also be any purchase prompt except if it has parental control in place.
Whatever content you have on your app must be designed towards giving kids a great experience. You must always follow the guidelines in all your updates to the app. Parents should be able to trust your app for their kids.
If your app provides vital data, it should also state how the information is sourced. This is particularly for apps that play in the medical niche. If your app provides certain data about a user, you should be able to validate the accuracy of the data or your app will be rejected. In fact, apps that claim to take blood oxygen levels, blood glucose levels, body temperature, blood pressure, and x-rays using only sensors are prohibited. The results cannot possibly be accurate.
Medical apps should encourage users to still consult their physicians in addition to the information they get from the app before taking medical decisions. Apps can be misleading. According to Apple, all medical apps must receive regulatory clearance before they are launched. So you are required to include a link to any proof of medical clearance along with your medical app on App Store or it will be rejected.
You must be easily accessible to the users of your apps at all times. So, your contact should be clearly stated on your app. In fact, it is becoming important to have multiple contact channels. So, your phone number, email address, website, Twitter handle, Facebook page, and other contact information should be on your app. Remember, these contact information will be verified during review and if they are found to be false, your app will be rejected.
You should be able to prove that users’ data is secure on your app. Besides, you should also seek users’ permission before processing or disclosing their data to third party especially when you serve residents of European Union. You don’t want to cough out 20 million Euros.
By adhering strictly to these safety guidelines
, your app should easily pass App Store’s safety assessment.