Skip links
Checklist: How to avoid the 10 most common App Store rejection reasons when submitting your app

Checklist: How to avoid the 10 most common App Store rejection reasons when submitting your app

With more than 200 app submissions, we’ve seen our fair share of App Store approval process challenges. It’s a process far more complicated than submitting an app to Google Play.

One of the biggest frustrations for app developers and clients is when a submitted app is rejected in the approval process before going live in the App Store.

You should start by reading the App Store Review Guidelines and follow these or take a look at the reasons that Apple lists as the most common app rejection reasons before submitting your app.

But sometimes the guidelines are interpreted differently by different reviewers (some more strict than others) and frequently change over time.

We have therefore created a list of the top 10 most classic rejection reasons by the App Store Review Team that we, and our colleagues in other app development companies, often experience:

1. Lacking app meta-data

Even though the lack of app meta-data is an easy fix, it should never be why you are rejected. In most cases, when an app is rejected due to meta-data it can be if you have not provided substantial information and that the information is incorrect.

Always make sure to check you have provided the correct information and all links are working, otherwise if rejected you will need to submit again.

2. Missing privacy policy

If your app requires users to register an account or log in to an existing account, you must provide a privacy policy either in your app or as a link inside the App Store listing. We recommend including both for good measure.

3. Missing demo accounts

If your app requires the user to login always provide the App Store Review team with a working demo account. If your app’s core functionality consists of users following or sending something to each other, it can be a good idea to provide two demo accounts that are connected.

We also found providing a video when two devices are required to demonstrate functionality helps app store approval.

4. Major bugs in the app

It may seem obvious, but if your app contains any major bugs that prevent the App Store Review team from reviewing your app, it will immediately be rejected. Make sure you thoroughly test your app before submitting for approval.

5. The Concept or Functionality of the app is against Apple guidelines

Submitting an app with features that are against Apple’s App Store guidelines will most likely not be approved. For example, submitting an app where you use IAP to buy physical products is not allowed. If a feature can be perceived as both against and pro App Store Guidelines, try to rethink the feature as you are likely to be rejected at some point, even if it is not the first or second time.

We always advise our clients to stay in a neutral area when it comes to App store guidelines.

6. The app configuration (.plist) file not specifying correct background functionality (audio control, background location, etc.)

If your app has functionality which can be used while the app is in background mode, make sure your plist files contain the right information. For example, if your app enables you to play music in the background, make sure the plist file (an apps configurations file) only enables tasks that your app supports.

Recently we have seen the App Store Review Team pay more attention to which background tasks the app is providing.

7. Only ask for personal information for app-related purposes

If you app requires users to provide personal information such as email address, date of birth and gender without it being used for a specific reason, the app will be rejected. For example, if you are making a ToDo app, asking for the user’s country, zip code or birthday is not directly linked to the apps core functionality.

You can have these fields but make sure you do not make them mandatory.

8. Make sure your video preview sticks to functionality only

According to Apple, “App previews may only use video screen captures of the app, voice-overs, and textual and design overlays.” So be careful when trying to make your video quirky with animations and do not use iPhone or iPad frame devices.

9. Dummy data still in the app

When submitting your app to App Store Review, it’s important that it does not contain any dummy data, broken or dead links or Lorem Ipsum texts.

It can be a good idea to have staging and live environment so you never end up with submitting an app with dummy data.

10. Moderating user-generated content

If your app displays user-generated content, you must include a feature that can filter objectionable material, such as a mechanism for users to flag offensive content, and the ability to block abusive users from the app.

For example, if your app contains a personal feed of images that are uploaded by other users you follow, you must give the user to option to block or report that image and user.

It might not be easy to find, but if you look closely you will see that all major social network apps have this feature. The rule is somewhat new and we believe Apple is paying close attention to apps that do not have this feature.

Also make sure you have an appropriate system that can sort and respond to these reports.


To sum up you need to address:

  1. Lacking app meta-data
  2. Missing privacy policy
  3. Missing demo accounts
  4. Major bugs in the app
  5. The Concept or Functionality of the app is against Apple guidelines
  6. The app configuration (.plist) file not specifying correct background functionality
  7. Only ask for personal information for app-related purposes
  8. Make sure your video preview sticks to functionality only
  9. Dummy data still in the app
  10. Moderating user-generated content

When you can cross these 10 things off your checklist, you will be a step closer to having your app successfully approved and live in the App Store.

Call now