The App Store Approval Process

I’ve recently been doing a chunk of iPhone development, and had a chance to experience the App Store approval process for myself. And I’m going to make one thing very very clear: Either things have got a lot better, or all the press hype is exactly that – hype.

Submission One

On my first submission of SimpleGPS it took 6 days to get to “In review” status, and was promptly rejected about 2 days later. Apple had taken a fairly reasonable exception to part of my marketing material. Specifically, the claim that SimpleGPS could find your location without an internet connection, as this is only possible on iPhone 3G or 3Gses at present.

Submission Two

I fixed my marketing material to deal with Apple’s concern, and went ahead with my second submission. I got an email back about rejection after a similar length of time, this time noting that it did not work in aeroplane mode. I queried this rejection, on the grounds that my marketing material clearly stated you needed a good GPS lock, while they clearly didn’t have one, as the GPS in their unit was turned off. Within a day, I had a response from them, acknowledging this, and restarting the review of my application. 3 days later, SimpleGPS was in the store!

Submission Three

After some feedback from my users, I had a simple update ready, and submitted it shortly before christmas. This approval was the slowest I had experienced, taking a whole 12 days to get through the process. To be fair though, in the middle of this, they had a christmas break!

Submission Four

It’s unknown whether apple spent this time improving their systems, or merely catching up on the backlog, but something has improved. I had submitted a second minor update to SimpleGPS on the 29th of December, and expected to wait a week or so before checking back. After another developer noted that he had just had his app accepted in 1 day, I checked back, and discovered that my update was also dealt with.

Conclusion

Apple’s approval process doesn’t seem to be needlessly slow, and the speed of response appears to have improved drastically post-christmas. Secondly, the feedback I’ve got from apple has been fair, and reasonable. Thirdly, Apple have responded to questions I’ve had quickly, and even reversed decisions after discussion with me. The media hype about how awful this process is seems to me to be bull.