Apple will let app makers challenge its App Store rules after a week of developer backlash

Apple will let app makers challenge its App Store rules after a week of developer backlash
Apple CEO Tim Cook.Getty
  • Apple announced on Monday that it will let developers appeal if it rejects their app from the App Store. It will also let them challenge the store's policies more generally.
  • The changes will arrive later this summer.
  • Last week, Apple sparked a row with developers by rejecting an update from email subscription service Hey, which it said broke App Store policy on in-app payments.
  • Apple is also facing an antitrust investigation in the EU over how it treats developers.

Apple has surprised developers by telling them that, from later this summer, they can challenge its App Store review process and guidelines.

Apple vets apps that want to appear on its App Store. In a press release on June 22, it said developers "will not only be able to appeal decisions about whether an app violates a given guideline of the App Store Review Guidelines, but will also have a mechanism to challenge the guideline itself."

It also promised it would no longer delay bug fixes for apps violating guidelines, "except for those related to legal issues. Developers will instead be able to address the issue in their next submission." The changes are planned for later this summer.

Complimentary Tech Event
Transform talent with learning that works
Capability development is critical for businesses who want to push the envelope of innovation.Discover how business leaders are strategizing around building talent capabilities and empowering employee transformation.Know More

The announcement comes a week after Apple provoked an outcry from developers after it refused to accept a bug-fixing update from subscription email service Hey, which it said violated an App Store payment policy.

The policy in question said developers must use Apple's own payment system for in-app purchases, from which the tech giant takes a 15-30% commission. Hey works via paid subscription, but it deliberately left the option to sign up off its iOS app, which is designed simply as a portal for paying subscribers to access their email account.


David Heinemeier Hansson, CTO of Hey's developer Basecamp, welcomed the news that Apple will let developers appeal App Store decisions.

App store rules have riled developers for a long time — music streaming giant Spotify filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the EU in March 2019. Last week, the European Commission officially opened two antitrust investigations into Apple, one of which will focus on the 30% payment levy.