5 Reasons Why Your App Could Be Rejected by the iOS App Store (And How to Avoid It)

The success of the mobile experience is highly dependent upon the quality and functionality of the applications available for the respective mobile platforms.  An average mobile user spends close to six hours on their mobile phone every day and 90% of this time is spent within apps. 

Apple’s App Store, which had nearly 2 million functioning applications and mobile games in 2020, is one of the largest application repositories in the world. Apple is also known to be highly dedicated to user experience and functionality and has put in place a rigorous process for approving apps that are submitted to the App Store. As per estimates, roughly one sixth of the apps that are submitted for review never make it to the App Store for public downloading. 

It is therefore imperative for developers to understand Apple’s approval process, why apps are rejected, and what they should do to ensure that their hard-earned money and time spent in app-development doesn’t go to waste. In that regard, Apple has been fairly transparent with the reasons why apps are commonly rejected. Today, we talk about the prime suspects and how you can deal with them: 

  1. Bugs and Unfinished Versions 

Apple employs one of the largest teams of engineers, testers, and QA professionals that test and validate each app that is submitted to the App Store. As per Apple, bugs and unfinished or undercooked apps with broken functionality and hyperlinks, inaccurate or misleading information are the top reason for app rejection, contributing to over a fifth of total rejections. Completeness of the app includes key guidelines such as mandatorily having a support link built into your app, presence of metadata such as version history, company information, app functionality, and others. 

How to Avoid This?
An easy way would be to ensure that your app is comprehensively tested and all bugs are ironed out before submitting the app to the App Store. Developers commonly think that small bugs or lack of functionality might not be caught, but it is wrong. To maximize the chances of getting your app approved, developers can look towards hiring a professional app testing service provider in order to ensure complete scenario coverage within the planned timelines. Carefully review Apple’s Guidelines to ensure all metadata and additional information are provided in the correct format. 


  1. App Crashes 

This is the second-biggest cause of app rejection. Apple has a very low tolerance for apps that crash during testing and review and usually, such apps are rejected immediately. Apple’s well-defined testing process puts your app through multiple testing situations including maximum concurrent incoming connections, multiple touches, and others. If you’ve not anticipated for such scenarios, your app might be in trouble! 

How to Avoid This? 

Regression and repetitive testing put your app through multiple scenarios to test performance and identify potential bugs, logic flaws, and crashes. As a developer, you must move beyond merely testing your app on one device or one emulation tool. Apps must be tested on multiple physical devices to ensure they are robust for cross-platform operation. Leading app testing service providers usually have a large collection of devices within their testing laboratories to provide maximum coverage. 

  1. Inconsistent UI and UX 

Though Android continues to be the leader in the smartphone market with a 70%+ market share, user interface and user experience are areas where iOS has been constantly rated higher than Google’s mobile OS. It is, therefore, no surprise that Apple has strict guidelines around the look and feel of apps on the App Store. The top left corner must always house the back button, controls must always be clear and visible, menus should ideally be located at the bottom of the screen. These are just some of the guidelines that Apple takes seriously and flouting these could result in your app getting rejected. 

How to Avoid This? 

Ensure that you follow Apple’s human interface guidelines. While Android might give you more freedom around how your apps are designed, Apple prefers consistency with their style as they feel these guidelines will eventually help you provide the best user experience. 


  1. Abnormally Long Load Times 

As per Apple’s standards, any app that takes more than 15 seconds to load from scratch is a candidate for rejection because users are not expected to wait for longer than that time duration. Remember that Apple expects your app to have continued loading all its data into the RAM, established connections to backend databases, and have the homepage ready for user interaction in around 15 seconds. 

How to Avoid This?
Design simple and nimble apps that load their basic functionality quickly. Test on multiple Apple devices (especially those belonging to older generations) to understand the load times and workout on how to fix them. Apps that try to perform too many functions without having one clear objective are generally frowned upon by Apple’s testing teams. 


  1. Not caring about user privacy 

User privacy is of utmost importance to any mobile company and any app that doesn’t put enough protection in place to prevent privacy incidents or actively tries to misuse confidential user data is very likely to be rejected by the App Store. This means that your app must have a privacy policy and must not utilize user information without explicitly informing the end user. Another prime example of this is the iOS advertising identifier, which mandates that to protect user privacy, user details must never be tracked down to specifics such as devices and accounts. 

How to Avoid This?
Be very transparent and upfront about the permissions that your app requires. Always allow users to choose the data that they will be sharing with you and explicitly inform them what the data will be used for. Avoid capturing and sharing of personal user data. 


These are just some of the primary reasons for apps getting rejected by the App Store. There are several other criteria that could cause your app to be rejected, including copyright infringement, similarity to other applications, usage of private APIs, external payment gateways, and others. An experienced testing and Quality Assurance Services provider like GlobalStep can guide you in terms of Apple’s guidelines for applications as well as support you in conducting comprehensive QA and testing to ensure your application is free of bugs, maximizing your chances of approval and success in the App Store. 

[Piyoosh Sah is QA Manager – Game Testing at GlobalStep. A professional who understands client requirements, involved in test planning, overseeing quality certifications and project management.]