App Store Review Guidelines

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The App Store Review Guidelines are a document distributed by Apple Inc. to authorized developers of iOS applications that dictates what can and cannot be submitted to the App Store. It completely excludes several categories of application from iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad devices that lack a paid-up developer account. Fans of these iProducts defend Apple's practices, claiming that almost nobody demands the functionality that the Guidelines ban. Even if this is true of each individual item, there are still a lot of people who want one or more items on the list as a whole.

At one time, Apple used to guard the Guidelines as a trade secret. This posed a problem: a first-time iOS application developer would buy a $650 computer and pay $99 to join the iOS developer program only to discover that his application concepts were guaranteed to be rejected.

One leaked version of the Guidelines listed several things an iOS app can't do:

  • Video games with realistic violence
  • Russian roulette
  • Chat roulette
  • Satire of an identifiable organization
  • Card counting
  • Computer science homework, initially, because of a ban on interpreters. An iOS port of a classic video game was pulled when it was discovered that the virtual Commodore 64 that it ran in could be rebooted into the BASIC prompt, allowing the user to key in programs that Apple had not approved.[1] It took years for Apple to loosen this and allow things like Codea.
  • Apps that "download code in any way or form" or "install or launch executable code", such as a game maker that plays games that another user has shared
  • Video games published by companies now out of business, because that would require "downloading code" from a disk or ROM image, even if the image is lawfully made per 17 USC 117(a)(1)
  • Wardriving, or logging the locations of WLAN access points, because no public API allows applications other than Settings to gather this information
  • Web browsers that implement HTML features that Apple has left out of Safari
  • Launcher replacements
  • Video rentals for a period shorter than 30 days

Even if an iProduct is faster than a particular Android product, that's no help if Apple has made the choice to allow a particular application to remain exclusive to Android.

Droid does what iDon't.