10 Tips to get the App Store to Approve Your App

You’ve spent hours building your app.

The idea that started as a sketch on a napkin has transformed into an iOS application you’re proud of.

But still, you’re worried.

What if your app gets rejected from the App Store? That single move can transform your entire journey into a nightmare.

All that work for nothing. The countless hours of planning, testing, and building feel wasted.

But not to worry. You can make sure the team behind the Apple App Store falls in love with your app from the minute they start testing it.

If you follow the right strategies, you can almost guarantee that your app will be accepted. And once it’s accepted, you’re on your way to publishing your app and displaying it to the world.

In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to get your app approved.

We’ll cover ten tried-and-true tips so you can build your app stress-free, knowing you’ll land that coveted spot in the store soon after you submit it to Apple.

1. Learn from the Past Mistakes of Other Developers

To start with, you need to be mindful of the most common mistakes app developers make.

By avoiding these pitfalls, you can ensure that your app rises above the rest and gets approved. Thankfully, this data isn’t too difficult to find.

In fact, Apple publishes the biggest reasons apps get rejected.

Review the guidelines they’ve established and follow them to the letter (more on that in a minute.)

By looking at past historical trends of which apps get approved and which don’t, you can ensure yours meet the criterion for approval in the App Store.

2. Innovate Within the Boundaries of Similar Apps

Apple likes to approve apps that are unique and provide something original to the App Store. But with that said, they like to play it a bit safe.

If you want to fast-track your approval process, look to follow the general outline of similar apps that have gone before you.

Start by carefully observing other apps in your genre.

What features do they have? What kind of graphics, layout, and design elements do they incorporate? How do their App Store descriptions compare to yours?

Look for trends and make sure you’re following the general practices of others in your industry. While there’s room for experimentation and exploration with your app, be sure to include a few familiar features.

The reviewer in the Apple Store is far more likely to approve your app if it resembles other approved apps.

(Plus, it might make the process faster. The more closely your app resembles others in the same topic area, the easier it is for the reviewer to give it a stamp of approval.)

3. Strip down Your App to the Bare Essentials

I understand. You want to create an incredible app with every feature you’ve dreamed of.

But instead, simplify the app you want to create. You can always add new features later. The important thing is to get approval for the basics at first.

This makes it much easier for Apple to test it. The more basic the functionality, the faster your app will get approved.

Whatever you do, don’t include more features than needed for the specific device you’re testing. Limit the number of bells and whistles to the bare minimum when you submit your app for approval.

app thinning 2x

Not only will this help you get a great review by the Apple team, you’ll save countless hours ahead of time.

Build a minimal viable product first, and tweak and adjust your app based on feedback once it launches.

4. Test and Maintain a Process of Quality Assurance (QA)

No matter what kind of app you’re going to create, you need to run a lot of tests to make sure everything works properly.

Of course, you should test it yourself. But Apple has provided technology that allows you to go beyond just tests on your own device.

You can use TestFlight to get others to help you test, and I highly recommend this if possible before launching an app.

A good rule of thumb is that you should be using your app every day before it’s ready to deploy. Once it’s to a point where you want to use it, it’s probably ready for the App Store.

Testing is a difficult but incredibly important process. Thankfully, BuildFire can help with a lot of these tests.

We have built-in methods for testing your apps and making sure they function properly. This can save you countless hours in the process of getting your app to market.

5. Write a Detailed Description

One of the most important parts of your app is the description. This is how others, including the Apple review team, understand what your app is all about.

To succeed in the review process, you should give a full, accurate, and detailed description of the app.

Top-rated apps like Evernote provide detailed descriptions of exactly what they do (you can add in the testimonials once your app skyrockets in popularity.)

But it isn’t just world-renown apps like Evernote. Even if you’re just starting in the App Store, you need to include a compelling description.

Remember that one of the reasons apps are rejected is because they seem to similar to other apps in the store. Take full advantage of your description to make your app stand apart.

Explain exactly how yours is different from other apps in the store. What does it do differently? Why does the world need your app?

The more clearly you can explain this, the better your app is likely to do in the review process.

Even relatively simple apps like the Sound Brenner Metronome create a powerful reason for existence with a compelling description.

Don’t just throw together a description based on your own thoughts. Ask others and make sure your description accurately explains what your app is all about.

If you like, you might even consider hiring a professional writer to create a description that accurately explains your app.

6. Follow Apple’s App Store Directives to the Letter

Thankfully, Apple is very clear about their policies and guidelines. This makes it easy to review them before submitting your app to the App Store for review.

If you don’t want to read through the complex rules, though, check out the App Review Guidelines Comic Book, where rules are presented with comic-style illustrations.

(Yes, really.)

App Review Guidelines The Comic Book pdf

But a cursory review of the guidelines isn’t enough to ensure you get approved by the App Store reviewers.

Instead, you need to spend a lot of time carefully inspecting each component of your app to make sure it upholds the criterion set forth by Apple’s rules.

7. No, Really: Follow Apple’s App Store Directives

It’s not a mistake to repeat this step again. Even the best app, tested and functional, can be rejected for any number of small reasons. Do your best to abide by each guideline.

While many developers work to ensure their code is up to Apple’s strict security standards, you should go one step further. Make sure the layout of your app meets the design requirements.

Apple has specific guidelines down to the type of icons you use. Make sure you follow these guidelines to stay consistent with your icons and design elements to get approved.

Custom Icons Icons and Images iOS Human Interface Guidelines

You should also carefully consider how your app will display on other iOS devices, including the new iPhone X.

The screen dimensions of this phone are different than any other iPhone, and meeting the updated requirements could make or break your approval.

The more carefully you read the guidelines, the more likely your app is to be approved. The time you spend in advance will be well worth it once you submit your app for review.

8. Be Friendly and Considerate to Members of the Review Team

Once you enter the review process, you might grow frustrated with the system.

Whatever you do, however, remember that every judgement by the Apple team is a subjective one. There’s no reason to give yourself a lower chance of success through your attitude.

Instead, be kind to everyone you contact during the process. Act as though everyone you interact with can have a hand in approving your app or blocking it.

It’s impossible to know which are the key players before the app is approved, so put your best foot forward when communicating with the Apple review team.

9. Stock up on Plenty of Patience Once You Submit

Once you’ve submitted your app, it’s over, right?

Not so fast.

The app review process can take a long time. You need to be ready to wait, and then wait some more. Years ago, wait times stretched to nearly a month.

Research has shown that the approval time for apps has decreased in recent years.

For the most recent updates, check out AppReviewTimes.com, which provides insight into current review times.

Average App Store Review Times

Currently, the approval time averages around two days. But it’s worth noting that this is an average. The reality is that few apps are actually reviewed in two days.

Most are approved much sooner, usually within a day or less. A few outliers, however, pull the average out to two days.

Average App Store Review Times iOS App Store Raw Data

It’s impossible to know ahead of time whether your app will be approved within a matter of hours or weeks, so be patient.

You will hear back!

10. Reevaluate, Fix Bugs, and Reapply

You’ve done everything right. The app was flawless, you cleared up every bug you knew of, and the design worked perfectly on every device.

But despite the effort you put in, your app wasn’t approved.

This can be hugely discouraging, but you can make a comeback. Every developer has faced this problem.

The secret is just knowing that you can bounce back stronger than ever with an improved version of the app.

Carefully review the reasons for the rejection. Work to fix any problems specifically outlined, and correct any other issues you encounter along the way.

Remember that once the Apple team sees a reason to reject your app, they may not review the rest of the app. That means there may still be undiscovered bugs hidden beneath the surface.

If you want some extra help improving your app and bringing it up to Apple’s strict standards, BuildFire can help if you use our proservices.

This is a great way to get expert advice and fix any bugs that are keeping your app out of the App Store.

If these don’t resolve the issue, you may need to write a friendly letter to the app approval team about the reasons your app was rejected.

Either way, be persistent and friendly. Look to create an amazing application that will provide value to its users, and you will be OK.

How to Ensure Your App Gets Approved by the App Store

If you’re going to build an app that fulfills your wildest dreams, you need to make sure Apple approves it for the App Store.

To make sure that happens, you need to plan out your app ahead of time. Ensure it avoids the biggest pitfalls and isn’t too far outside the normal scope of apps Apple approves.

To simplify the process, make sure you reduce the app down to its most important parts, and test those parts as much as possible. If even one feature is broken, your app might not be approved, so you want to find bugs before submitting.

You’ll also need to follow the directions set forth by the Apple Store. Look to how the app displays on different screens and make sure your icons and images meet Apple’s standards.

Include a clear description that paints a distinct picture of what your app does, how it’s different than other apps, and the benefit it will provide to the user.

Finally, be gentle and patient with the Apple review team. It may take a few weeks to get your app approved, so be willing to wait. If the review team doesn’t approve your app, make edits and apply.

With careful planning and preparation, you can create an app that exceeds Apple’s expectations and finds its way to market with zero hassles.

The BuildFire team is on your side to make sure your app receives the approval it deserves.