Apple’s review process for apps has recently come under scrutiny after a public battle with the developers behind email app Hey.
A Push Toward Transparency
After originally approving the app, Apple then reversed course. But after a public outcry, the app is available to download with some changes.
A number of app developers took to Twitter after the original story broke to tell their stories of dealing with the App Review team. Many of them detailed a broken system and a serious lack of consistency about App Store rules and more.
One of those developers was Kosta Eleftheriou. He’s behind the great app FlickType, which we named as our 2018 AppAdvice Apple Watch App of the Year. You can read about his frustrating battle in this Twitter thread.
For the longest time, I've been afraid to speak up about my story with App Review, fearing I'd put my popular app at risk. I've now decided that being transparent and sharing my experience to help others is worth it, so here it goes:👇— Kosta Eleftheriou (@keleftheriou) June 20, 2020
And Eleftheriou has just launched a petition to highlight a way Apple can improve its communication with developers.
The main way that developers and the App Review team communicate is through the Resolution Center. But developers are unable to access previous correspondence.
Eleftheriou discusses more about the lack of transparency in a blog post:
Unless we’re talking about your most recent submission, all communication you have ever sent or received through the “Resolution Center” is inaccessible to you. Rejection notices, appeal results, anything you might want to reference to better understand previous grey-area decisions about your product – it’s all gone. Unless you have meticulously and manually kept copies of all correspondence, what happened in the past will forever stay in the past. But why should it?
It’s not hard to see why Apple is doing this. It is hard, however, to see a reason that benefits anyone but Apple. In doing so, they gain more peace of mind, less worry about consistency and correctness in applying the public guidelines. The appeal mechanism helps them improve, but only to the extent that Apple deems necessary. If we ever wanted to know how well Apple is enforcing the guidelines, we have to take their word for it. But who guards the guardians, when App Review’s accountability to the world has been intentionally reduced to the bare minimum?
With app review being such an important part of the process for developers, it only makes sense for them to view all of their correspondence with Apple during this process.
You can view the petition and sign here.