An iOS developer claims the latest version of their app has been rejected by Apple solely because a screenshot dared to mention the forbidden word “Android.”
It’s hardly noticeable — you’ll need to squint to see it — but Apple allegedly wants it gone just in case it reminds iPhone and iPad users that other platforms are available.
We know that Apple doesn’t like developers to mention Android and other platforms in their App Store descriptions and metadata. That’s somewhat understandable. Petty, but understandable.
But it turns out that rival platforms cannot be mentioned in screenshots, either — not even if you need a magnifying glass to see them.
Robocat learned this the hard way when they submitted Breaking 1.3 for approval and had it rejected. An email from Apple states that the update violates Apple Store review guideline 3.1, which reads, “Apps or metadata that mentions the name of any other mobile platform will be rejected.”
“We understand the guidelines and the fact that Apple has to draw the line somewhere,” Robocat developer Michael Flarup told Cult of Mac. “In this particular instance however, the guidelines come off particularly silly as Breaking is essentially a lightweight news reader.”
“The screenshot in violation is showing a news feed with arbitrary content. It’s got nothing to do with the app itself.”
Robocat also pointed out that the screenshot in question has been in the App Store since Breaking version 1 — it’s still there now — so even Apple’s own review team needed more than two months and five different releases to spot it.
Apple’s review policy certainly has its advantages, but there are plenty of disadvantages, too, and this is one of them. While it’s obvious why Apple wouldn’t want apps to advertise availability on rival platforms, rejecting an update for an innocent (and tiny) mention in a screenshot seems incredibly mean.
Robocat has updated its screenshot now and resubmitted Breaking version 1.3, so it should be available to download soon. In the meantime, you can download version 1.2.1 from the App Store now.