With close to two million applications in its software stores, Apple reportedly doesn’t have much time to devote to testing most new submissions. Details leaking out about the process show that a typical app either gets approved or blocked in 5 or 10 minutes.
A lot of them get blocked.
Every submission is looked at by an Apple employee, but these examinations have to quick. The reviewers have a quota of between 50 and 100 apps a day, according to CNBC.
Before a human looks at it, submissions go through an automated filter looking for problems.
All this is clearly not a rubber-stamp process, as 40% of apps are rejected. In most cases the reasons are obvious: they have bugs or are judged to be attempts to scam users. If bugs are found, the apps are approved after they’re fixed and re-submitted.
There are reportedly over 300 App Store reviewers based in Sunnyvale, California. The department recently opened satellite offices in Cork, Ireland, and Shanghai, China. They look at iOS, watchOS, tvOS and, of course, macOS software.
An Executive Review Board is the final arbiter
Developers whose products are rejected can appeal to an Executive Review Board. This is led by Phil Schiller, Apple SVP of Marketing, but much of the day-to-day work is done by VP Ron Okamoto. Still, Schiller is involved in major decisions, like banning software from Infowars.
Many of the people involved in Apple’s software review process stay anonymous because threats come from developers angry if the software that’s their livelihood is blocked or even just tied up in the process.
Apple‘s App Store guidelines
A lengthy page on the Apple’s developer website spells out the rules software must follow in order to successful pass review.
“The guiding principle of the App Store is simple — we want to provide a safe experience for users to get apps and a great opportunity for all developers to be successful,” write Apple, who describes its software store as “highly curated.”
Apple charges developers 30% to 15% of their revenue generated through its software store, which is the topic of complaints and even lawsuits by devs.