Apple’s app review process seems to get its share of knocks in the developer press, but we at Makalu recently had a positive experience which demonstrates that, at least from time to time, the process actually works.
Earlier this month, we submitted version 1.4 of our RaceSplitter app for review. This version contained two changes:
Live results publishing. Users can now publish live results online, at any time during the race. Now, the whole world can follow the event, as it unfolds.
New account signup screen. In order to publish race results, the app must be logged into the user’s account. In the past, the account creation process happened upon the first publication of results. That caused problems, though, for some users, given that the account creation process happened right in the middle of timing their event. To address that, version 1.4 introduces the account creation process on first-launch of the app.
After about a week of waiting, the app was rejected, with the stated reason being that the app requires the user to provide personal information (i.e. create an account) in order to access “non-account related app features”.
Having recently read another developer’s blog about a rejection due to requesting the user’s email address “too early in the process”, we weren’t too surprised to see the rejection. But we were surprised by the stated reason, since it was flat-out wrong; our app does not require an account to use non-account related features.
Discussing that in the office, we just concluded that we must have been sent the boiler-plate response to all non-compliances with the particular referenced section of the App Review Guidelines, and that it really didn’t matter (to Apple) whether the response was actually accurate or not.
Since we urgently needed the live results publishing feature for an event at the end of this month, we were considering removing the first-launch account creation screen, but then decided to see what would happen if we responded to Apple’s feedback — simply stating that they’d made a mistake.
We did that, along with making an expedited review request. To our pleasant surprise, Apple responded that they would take our feedback into account, and one day later, we got news that the app had been released from review, and was ready for sale.