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A complete checklist for App Store submission in 2023

As an experienced technology provider, Emphasoft has helped many startups submit their newly developed apps to the App Store. Today we are going to share the complete checklist that helps us get approvals from the Apple team quickly and launch mobile apps into the world faster. 

Note: Even with the tips we’ve shared today, there is no guarantee that your app won’t be rejected. The good news is that it’s not as big of an issue as it may seem. In fact, it is common for mobile apps to be rejected multiple times before they appear in the App Store because the review process is really thorough. That’s why we encourage you to pay close attention to the checklist to make sure you give Apple as few reasons as possible to slow down your release. 

Also, before you move down to our checklist, make sure you’ve fully read and complied with App Store review guidelines

#1 Ensure all features work and the app doesn’t crash

You’d think this advice is self-explanatory and basic, so it doesn’t need to be on the list. Yet, many companies cut down on testing time and skip some tests altogether. In our experience, it’s never worth it. Even if the moderation team approves the app and has it go live, you’ll risk your reputation if users download the app and it fails to deliver. With over 5 million mobile apps out there, we don’t have the luxury of a second chance. Users will simply delete the app that doesn’t work and avoid it moving forward. 

#2 Check that the app doesn’t drain the device’s battery

Even if your app works perfectly fine and everything is good, if it drains the battery beyond a set limit, the Apple team will reject it. 

#3 Check all icons and links

Apple has a lot of products, and you need to have icons for all sizes and screen resolutions ready for submission. All links in the app have to be checked too. In our experience, clients may have all links functioning and all required icons provided, but if they miss just one icon or one of the links doesn’t work, the Apple team shows no mercy.

#4 Provide description and screenshots for the app 

You’ll need to submit the detailed app description and screenshots along with everything else. Don’t treat it as a formality because that’s what all App Store users will see prior to downloading your app. Essentially, this is your chance to sell the app to them, so this step needs to be taken seriously. 

#5 Provide enough functionality 

Less may be more, but if your app is too simple, Apple will reject it on the grounds of it not providing value to the users. Also, if you build an app that is simply a frame for the existing website, this will be instantly rejected because you’re not really creating anything new, hence, not solving any user issues.

#6 Add option to complain or block 

If you create an app where users communicate with one another, such as Tinder, there should be an option to block someone. And if your app allows users to add content, for example, like on Instagram, the app submission will be declined if there’s no option to report improper content. 

#7 Add copyright information to the app description 

If your mobile app includes any copyrighted content, you must specify it in detail in the description section of the app. The same applies to mobile apps that include violent or pornographic content. 

#8 Provide username and password for testing

The Apple team tests everything. If your app requires authentication or OTP codes to access it, provide everything so that the tests can be completed and the app approved. Don’t make them sign up for the app, just give them credentials and make everyone’s life (and your approval chances) better. 

#9 Specify why you need access to other apps 

Client data and safety are taken seriously these days, so if your app needs access to anything else on the user’s phone, do your best to outline why it’s necessary. 

#10 Terms and conditions and privacy policy

Although seen by many as a mere formality, T&Cs and privacy policies, which are looked at carefully during the app evaluation. You don’t need to have the final version of these documents ready, but prepare decent texts that your final ones will be based on.

Final thoughts 

Submitting mobile apps to the App Store is notoriously tricky, but with the right mindset and focus you can minimise rejections, or even get approved the first time you submit it! There are many nuances that go into the process, and it’s often best to partner with an experienced provider who can streamline the process for you. The Emphasoft team has been developing mobile apps from scratch and submitting them to the App Store for many years. Feel free to reach out to us, and we will be happy to consult you on any step of the process, and help release the app faster and easier than you would on your own. 

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