App Store review process has over 500 human experts; less than 1% of rejections are appealed

Bill Mount

As the Epic Games v. Apple court case goes forward, we have been learning more details about internal discussions within each company about their business models and more. With the testimony of Trystan Kosmynka, one of the heads of the App Store, more information about the App Store review process […]

As the Epic Games v. Apple court case goes forward, we have been learning more details about internal discussions within each company about their business models and more. With the testimony of Trystan Kosmynka, one of the heads of the App Store, more information about the App Store review process has been revealed.

In a new document filed with the trial, Kosmynka detailed that about 5 million apps are submitted to the App Store every year and that the app rejection rate is less than 40%. In 2019, 4,808,685 apps were submitted for the App Store review process, and 36% of them — or 1,747,278 — were rejected.

According to Kosmynka, of these rejected apps, about 215,000 infringed Apple’s privacy guidelines in some way. Each app submitted to the App Store first goes through static and dynamic analysis to detect whether the app violates any App Store rules or uses private APIs. There’s also a step in the process to check if the app is similar to another one available in the App Store in order to avoid scams or copycats.

Then there’s the human review process, which has over 500 people working to review about 100,000 apps every week. As shown in the images below, they have access to multiple Apple devices to test the apps.

If an app is rejected, Apple notifies the developer about the reasons why the app was not approved for the App Store. The developer can either resubmit the app after addressing the errors pointed out by Apple or contact the company to request an appeal of the rejection. However, Kosmynka says that less than 1% of developers appeal a rejection.

Apple has been widely criticized for how it handles third-party apps on iOS, as the company is accused of using its power with the App Store to its own advantage, hurting potential competitors. While Apple says that it is concerned about privacy and security, one of Epic’s arguments is that the company fails to review every app submitted to the store, as there are scam apps available there.

Emails made public during the testimony of App Store VP Matt Fischer revealed that Apple offers access to special APIs to some major developers and companies, including Hulu. At the same time, Epic is having a hard time trying to prove in court that the App Store’s in-app purchases system is an abuse of monopolistic power, as described by a recent analysis of the case.

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