App Store review ridiculousness: Apple rejects AppleInsider's iPhone X app update because ...

Posted:
in iOS edited December 2017
Apple's strict control of the App Store and content available on it continues to be both a blessing and a curse, as AppleInsider itself discovered this week, when the iPhone X update for our app was rejected simply because we published a news story about jailbreaking.




I was notified by our developers at Crafted Monday evening that the new app update, which has been in the works for some time, was officially rejected by Apple. The reason? Last Friday, we published a news report on Alibaba researchers who apparently cracked into iOS 11.2.1, allowing it to run unauthorized code.

This process, known as "jailbreaking," is frowned upon by Apple. And, presumably, any apps that help people to jailbreak their iPhone are banned from the App Store.

AppleInsider's news story, meanwhile, simply covered the fact that iOS 11.2.1 had been hacked, and provided no details on how to actually jailbreak.

Those facts did not matter in Apple's App Store review process, however.

As managing editor of AppleInsider's editorial content, I don't have direct control over our development team. But I have received the countless emails and tweets from readers who are upset that the AppleInsider app has not yet been updated for iPhone X.

Often, these notes are incredulous. After all, we're an Apple-focused website, they say. We should be among the first to add support for new Apple devices, they assert.

The economics of app development aside (in which I have no part from a business perspective), such complaints and perceptions are ultimately a bad thing for the AppleInsider brand. In other words, it's in our best interest to launch our iPhone X app update as quickly as possible.

As an independent website, AppleInsider prides itself in providing fair, sane and measured coverage of both Apple products and Apple as a company. Obviously, we won't be shying away from stories about jailbreaking because of issues in the iOS App Store review process.




But our own experiences do highlight the strange and downright confusing submit-and-pray App Store review situation. In our case, revising and resubmitting the app costs more time and money, in a situation where Apple could be perceived as trying to leverage editorial control of the news we publish.

Further, our rejection comes as a completely bogus, scam version of the game "Cuphead" launched on the App Store on Monday. It would be one thing if Apple's review process caught all of the truly bad actors, but our own app was wrongly rejected for editorial content while a $4.99 ripoff, designed to trick and take money from customers, was freely available to purchase on the store for hours.

Heaven forbid you're able to read about jailbreaking, though.

In theory, the App Store review process should prevent situations like the fake "Cuphead" release. And if, in practice, it caught those kinds of apps while sometimes mistakenly snagging others, some might argue that's an acceptable tradeoff.

Unfortunately, in reality, App Store screenings are not consistent or reliable enough to build and submit an app with complete confidence that it will be approved. As evidenced by AppleInsider's situation, a submitted app update can become ensnared by a completely unexpected issue that has nothing to do with the functionality of the app itself.

For now, you can still download the AppleInsider app for iOS, and even read about the latest jailbreaking news, if you so desire. Just know that the app doesn't support the iPhone X -- yet. And unfortunately, that's out of our control.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 94
    This is actually kind of hilarious (from an outsiders perspective) 
    [Deleted User]mwhiteSpamSandwich1STnTENDERBITSSolirepressthissingularitycornchiplightknightmavemufc
  • Reply 2 of 94
    Neil, I’m worrying about you... at this pace, you’re bound to get a gastric ulcer! Also, people at Apple seem to have started on the eggnog a little bit too early this year.
    nhughescornchip
  • Reply 3 of 94
    What Apple did makes no sense. No sense at all.
    jbdragonmavemufc
  • Reply 4 of 94
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,477member
    Well, if true, I would have to agree with AppleInsider on this one. If true, that is. I’m betting this will suddenly be resolved and the reason will not have been editorial content. The reason will turn out to be some low level idiot who threw the switch for some inane reason.

    It’s no secret that Apple does discriminate against certain tech journalists because of past offenses. Leo La Porte is one example. Years ago he was caught on tape at an Apple event streaming the keynote on his iPad. Since then he has never received an invitation to any official Apple event. Other tech sites are banned from attending events because of their steadfast anti-Apple positions, Gizmodo being the biggest example. To this day Gizmodo is outrageously anti-Apple because of the iPhone 4 skulduggery.

    On the other hand Andy Ihnatko seems to criticize Apple on a regular basis but he is still in Apple’s good graces, probably because he is a respected tech wordsmith.

    Anyway, I’m thinking AppleInsider’s rejection will soon be history. It would be stupid for Apple to ban an app over its editorial content.
    fracjbdragonfreediverxSolirepressthiscornchipyojimbo007jony0dannybrook
  • Reply 5 of 94
    You all should issue an apology and beg for forgiveness. Like down on your knees forgiveness. 
  • Reply 6 of 94
    Neil, I’m worrying about you... at this pace, you’re bound to get a gastric ulcer! Also, people at Apple seem to have started on the eggnog a little bit too early this year.
    I’ll double up on the Pepto. 
  • Reply 7 of 94
    lkrupp said:
    Well, if true, I would have to agree with AppleInsider on this one. If true, that is. I’m betting this will suddenly be resolved and the reason will not have been editorial content. The reason will turn out to be some low level idiot who threw the switch for some inane reason.

    It’s no secret that Apple does discriminate against certain tech journalists because of past offenses. Leo La Porte is one example. Years ago he was caught on tape at an Apple event streaming the keynote on his iPad. Since then he has never received an invitation to any official Apple event. Other tech sites are banned from attending events because of their steadfast anti-Apple positions, Gizmodo being the biggest example. To this day Gizmodo is outrageously anti-Apple because of the iPhone 4 skulduggery.

    On the other hand Andy Ihnatko seems to criticize Apple on a regular basis but he is still in Apple’s good graces, probably because he is a respected tech wordsmith.

    Anyway, I’m thinking AppleInsider’s rejection will soon be history. It would be stupid for Apple to ban an app over its editorial content.
    To be clear, I don’t think Apple is trying to control our editorial content. I think that an over-eager App Store reviewer (or maybe an automated process?) followed the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of it. But it isn’t the first time our app has been rejected for unexpected and confusing reasons. This latest example is just especially bizarre. 

    Like you, I expect it will be resolved soon. But considering the fake “Cuphead” release on Monday, it’s obvious that Apple still has some improvements to the process that they need to make. 
    bloggerbloglkruppfreediverxpatchythepiraterepressthisanton zuykovSydNjSnivelydysamoriajony0
  • Reply 8 of 94
    You all should issue an apology and beg for forgiveness. Like down on your knees forgiveness. 
    I, for one, welcome our new App Store overlords. 
    king editor the gratechiasingularity
  • Reply 9 of 94

    Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives.
     :D 
    gatorguytenthousandthingsjohnfrombeyondsingularityretrogustocornchipbadmonkAndymanpaxman
  • Reply 10 of 94
    Publish the app on the Google Play store so I can use it on my Galaxy S8+
  • Reply 11 of 94
    I have a Bachelor of Science in journalism (la-di-da) and have been a journalist of sorts in the field for 24 years. I hereby declare this fairly (or unfairly) egregious.
    nhughes
  • Reply 12 of 94
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 215member
    Well, if you want to publish on THEIR platform you will have to tow THEIR line... completely.   One other reason I have always preferred your web site over the app.

  • Reply 13 of 94
    Maybe it's still payback for that whole "Asteroid" thing.
  • Reply 14 of 94
    It’s called: CENSORSHIP, boys and girls. Apple (and all the others) do it all the time.

    “Think Different”? My ass. More like: “Think the way WE want you to think. OR ELSE!"
  • Reply 15 of 94
    Call me very skeptical.  What was the actual wording of the rejection?  Without a direct quote, I'm let to believe that the "reason" is speculation rather than Apple's justification.
    StrangeDaysBubbleliciousRayz2016pscooter63macplusplusSpamSandwich
  • Reply 16 of 94
    nhughes said:
    lkrupp said:
    Well, if true, I would have to agree with AppleInsider on this one. If true, that is. I’m betting this will suddenly be resolved and the reason will not have been editorial content. The reason will turn out to be some low level idiot who threw the switch for some inane reason.

    It’s no secret that Apple does discriminate against certain tech journalists because of past offenses. Leo La Porte is one example. Years ago he was caught on tape at an Apple event streaming the keynote on his iPad. Since then he has never received an invitation to any official Apple event. Other tech sites are banned from attending events because of their steadfast anti-Apple positions, Gizmodo being the biggest example. To this day Gizmodo is outrageously anti-Apple because of the iPhone 4 skulduggery.

    On the other hand Andy Ihnatko seems to criticize Apple on a regular basis but he is still in Apple’s good graces, probably because he is a respected tech wordsmith.

    Anyway, I’m thinking AppleInsider’s rejection will soon be history. It would be stupid for Apple to ban an app over its editorial content.
    To be clear, I don’t think Apple is trying to control our editorial content. I think that an over-eager App Store reviewer (or maybe an automated process?) followed the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of it. But it isn’t the first time our app has been rejected for unexpected and confusing reasons. This latest example is just especially bizarre. 

    Like you, I expect it will be resolved soon. But considering the fake “Cuphead” release on Monday, it’s obvious that Apple still has some improvements to the process that they need to make. 
    How about giving us an email at Apple so we can let them know that this kind of censorship and hypersensitivity is unacceptable.  
  • Reply 17 of 94
    Just tell them by this standard they have to ban their News app too. (Many articles of this jailbreak news on there)
    chiadysamoriagilly33
  • Reply 18 of 94
    SendMcjakSendMcjak Posts: 66unconfirmed, member
    I had something similar happen ... it just proves to me there, even at a company like Apple, there are some less-than-genius employees.
  • Reply 19 of 94
    Seeing the actual wording of the rejection would be nice. As is it sounds like secondhand info -- that you're reporting on what your dev told you. But did you see the rejection personally? What did it say?
    Bubbleliciousmacplusplusrandominternetperson
  • Reply 20 of 94
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,477member
    launfall said:
    nhughes said:
    lkrupp said:
    Well, if true, I would have to agree with AppleInsider on this one. If true, that is. I’m betting this will suddenly be resolved and the reason will not have been editorial content. The reason will turn out to be some low level idiot who threw the switch for some inane reason.

    It’s no secret that Apple does discriminate against certain tech journalists because of past offenses. Leo La Porte is one example. Years ago he was caught on tape at an Apple event streaming the keynote on his iPad. Since then he has never received an invitation to any official Apple event. Other tech sites are banned from attending events because of their steadfast anti-Apple positions, Gizmodo being the biggest example. To this day Gizmodo is outrageously anti-Apple because of the iPhone 4 skulduggery.

    On the other hand Andy Ihnatko seems to criticize Apple on a regular basis but he is still in Apple’s good graces, probably because he is a respected tech wordsmith.

    Anyway, I’m thinking AppleInsider’s rejection will soon be history. It would be stupid for Apple to ban an app over its editorial content.
    To be clear, I don’t think Apple is trying to control our editorial content. I think that an over-eager App Store reviewer (or maybe an automated process?) followed the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of it. But it isn’t the first time our app has been rejected for unexpected and confusing reasons. This latest example is just especially bizarre. 

    Like you, I expect it will be resolved soon. But considering the fake “Cuphead” release on Monday, it’s obvious that Apple still has some improvements to the process that they need to make. 
    How about giving us an email at Apple so we can let them know that this kind of censorship and hypersensitivity is unacceptable.  
    How about you get a clue and understand what the article said. It’s not about censorship, it’s about issues in the review process for the App Store. In all likelihood this was caused by an automated process that went by the letter of the rules, or some lower level reviewer who did the same. It’s almost 100% going to be resolved and the app approved because of an error and not censorship. But hey, trolls believe what they want to so have at it.
    freediverxpscooter63chia
This discussion has been closed.