Mobile Application - Rejected By Apple?

Mobile Application - Rejected By Apple?

The 'concept' of the app that I submitted to the AppStore for approval was rejected. I was planning to utilize that structure for my company's apps to access mobile versions. They say that the coding was excellent and it met all of the strict standards for submission with no problems, but the 'concept' of launching a web application from within a native iOS application (hybrid) was unacceptable. I proceeded to discuss the OutSystems platform with them and what my intentions were. They still said no. As a matter of fact, they are opening an investigation into the OutSystems Now application that is currently on the AppStore! They said that if, like mine, its' main purpose is to launch web applications on the OutSystems platform, it will also be removed from the AppStore! 
I took the OutSystems Now source code you provided on and modified the code so it doesn't prompt for the environment URL and hard-coded the URL to my personal environment. I rebranded it and removed all the OutSystems logos. Other than that, it's exactly the same thing. That's why I was sure it would be accepted.

Any idea what's going on? I was looking forward to leveraging this new functionality.

Hi Daryl,

Thank you for your question.  Please note  that  there are  two distinct  concepts here: 1) to create new apps based on the source code we provide with OutSystems Now and 2) to submit new apps to the Apple AppStore.

When a developer wants their app to be listed in the Apple App Store, there are several guidelines on what will or not be approved by Apple; some of them are not very clear for general purpose, as they heavily depend on:

  • What is the exact functionality you have in your app - is it just a mobile web site?

  • What native capabilities do you actually use from the device / platform

  • Whether Apple considers it to be “relevant content” - yes, I know this is pretty subjective

  • and even the specific interpretation of the person behind your specific app approval.

That said, the approval process for your specific app is unfortunately out of our hands, since it depends on Apple’s interpretations of their guidelines. And it is pretty independent of how you build that app - much more dependent on what the app actually does. It is frustrating to see such  an important expectation from our users (that their app will be findable and installable from the App Store), but still Apple creates so much overhead and constraints on developers targeting their platform to do so.

Let me give you some pointers on how you might approach this, based on our experience. This can eventually raise the chances for your app to be approved:

  • The app should not just be a piece of web content, be sure to make real use of the device’s capabilities such as Camera or barcode scanning, native geolocation,… If your app already does that, give that visibility to Apple during your approval process to “prove” that you would not be able to deliver that app as a simple mobile web application, and relying on the device capability is critical for your users.

  • Give a bit more attention / put a bit more effort on the native shell, by making it be a more prominent part of your app. We’ve seen scenarios where just adding a native four button menu to the app was enough to get the app approved.

  • Give visibility to Apple that a fundamental aspect of your application is that the navigation and authentication between the several functionalities in your platform (the apps you deploy in the platform) is based on a native and secure single sign on and long term authentication process, built specifically for iOS. Something that would not be possible on a simple web app.

These are specific points to some hypothesis of  main rejection reason you’re getting from Apple… they don’t override the fact your app still needs to be good looking, functionally relevant, not-buggy, etc.

Also, if you’re planning to distribute this app inside your enterprise, a better - at least less bureaucratic - approach might simply be to engage on and use the Enterprise App Store program: Apple’s recommended way to “Distribute proprietary, in-house iOS apps to your employees”. This bypasses the approval process, and still allows your users to make use of all the device capabilities, while leveraging the rapid iteration provided by OutSystems Platform.

In every app submission we’ve made to Apple we still need to go through this “education”. And, as always, we’re here to help if you need some help creating a kick ass app.