App Store Review Guidelines updated w/ clarification on App Tracking APIs, Rosetta, more

Bill Mount

Apple today updated its App Store Review Guidelines with some changes that will impact app developers. The company has clarified more details about the game streaming platforms, besides the use of the “Rosetta” brand in the description of the apps and the prohibition of apps that promote illicit substances. The […]

Apple today updated its App Store Review Guidelines with some changes that will impact app developers. The company has clarified more details about the game streaming platforms, besides the use of the “Rosetta” brand in the description of the apps and the prohibition of apps that promote illicit substances.

The updated App Store Review Guidelines were shared today by Apple on the Apple Developer portal. Apple reinforces that apps that promote the consumption of tobacco, vape, illegal drugs, or excessive alcohol are not allowed on the App Store, as well as apps that encourage minors to use these substances.

The new guidelines also require the developer to provide information that reflects the app experience, including the new App Store privacy labels. Apple has made it clearer that app descriptions and screenshots cannot have references to other apps or include inappropriate content.

2.3: Clarified the information that must accurately reflect the app’s core experience: “Customers should know what they’re getting when they download or buy your app, so make sure all your app metadata, including privacy information, your app description, screenshots, and previews accurately reflect the app’s core experience and remember to keep them up-to-date with new versions.”

Interestingly, Apple is now asking developers to no longer use “Rosetta” as an example of deprecated technology. This is probably related to the fact that the new M1 Macs use Rosetta 2 to run Intel apps, which could confuse some users.

Moreover, the new guidelines bring more clarification on the App Store in-app purchases system. First, Apple says that gift cards, certificates, vouchers, and coupons that can be redeemed for digital services must be sold through in-app purchases. Apps offering tip options for developers should also use the App Store payment system.

Once again, Apple states that game streaming services are allowed on the App Store, but each game must be available as a separate app on the App Store. The company had already included some related rules in the App Store Review Guidelines in September last year.

3.1.2(a): Clarified how certain games can offer a subscription across third-party apps and services: “Games offered in a streaming game service subscription may offer a single subscription that is shared across third-party apps and services; however, they must be downloaded directly from the App Store, must be designed to avoid duplicate payment by a subscriber, and should not disadvantage non-subscriber customers.”

Apple has also added a new rule requiring developers to have explicit permission from users before tracking them, which is part of the new App Tracking Transparency APIs. New APIs included in iOS 14.5 allow developers to measure the effectiveness of advertisement clicks within iOS apps that navigate to a website while maintaining user privacy.

You can check the full App Store Review Guidelines at the Apple Developer website.

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