The App Store review process is very strict to ensure that apps comply with Apple’s guidelines. And soon, this whole process will get even more strict. That’s because Apple recently announced that developers would be required to detail why their apps use certain APIs before submitting them to the App Store.
App developers will have to explain why they’re using Required Reason APIs
As detailed on the Apple Developer website, some APIs are now classified as “Required Reason APIs.” This means that in order to use them in an app, the developer must describe to Apple the purpose of that API in the app. The company explains that the measure aims to crack down on fingerprinting, a technique for tracking users across different apps and websites.
Starting this fall, with the release of iOS 17, tvOS 17, watchOS 10, and macOS Sonoma to the public, developers will be notified about submitting apps using a Required Reason API without describing the reasons for using it. From spring 2024, apps that use these APIs without a valid reason will be rejected.
“To prevent the misuse of certain APIs that can be used to collect data about users’ devices through fingerprinting, you’ll need to declare the reasons for using these APIs in your app’s privacy manifest. This will help ensure that apps only use these APIs for their intended purpose,” Apple explains.
New rules could result in even more app rejections
While this measure was created with privacy in mind, some developers told 9to5Mac they’re concerned about app and update rejection rates increasing further. For example, Apple says that UserDefaults is one of the “Required Reason APIs.” For those unfamiliar, this is a basic and fairly common API that stores user preferences for an app, which means lots of apps use it.
This can result in developers having their apps rejected simply for forgetting to add an explanation for using the API. At the same time, it’s hard to imagine how Apple will control the use of this API since most developers can simply say they’re storing user preferences with it.
Apple will let developers appeal a rejection and submit a request to approve a situation that is not covered in the current guidelines. More details can be found on the Apple Developer website.
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