App Review Guideline 2.14

App Store Metadata Rejection

Screenshot++, my new screenshot management app for iOS, was submitted more than a week ago to App Store Review and they returned this week to say the App Preview video was rejected.

Specifically, Apple took issue with showing screenshots being taken in apps other than mine. The offending apps weren't apps from the App Store, they were Calendar and Maps - both built into every iOS device. I (wrongfully) assumed this would be acceptable.

It appears they're strictly adhering to the rule that App Preview footage is limited to video taken within your app and your app alone.

So how do I demonstrate to a potential customer the process of taking a screenshot? I'll have to stick with in-app instruction and text in the App Store page screenshots. It's unfortunate that I'll have to stick with in-app instruction and App Store page text. Potential customers may or may not take the time to read text on my App Store page but everyone who watches the Preview video will understand the concept from example.

This may seem trivial but I have seconds to demonstrate the app's value proposition. I cannot assume that every iOS device owner knows how to take a screenshot or even knows what a screenshot is. However, the majority of iOS users have screenshots littered through their Photo Library. For this reason, Screenshot++s App Store page isn't just selling the app, it's also for educating potential customers on why they need it. 

I broke one of the rules and had my app metadata rejected. (I believed this would be accepted. I want to avoid a metadata rejection at all costs, but here I am.) To be clear, it seems the app itself passed review but the Preview video did not. 

I swiftly removed the offending video and resubmitted. I'll now have to wait another week to go through the queue and have everything reviewed for the second time.

This is my biggest problem with the App Review system. Inefficiencies waste valuable time for both the developer and Apple. I'll explain:

The original review of Screenshot++ included the app itself, Preview video, screenshots, keywords, and app description. If everything but the preview videos was approved, why should everything have to be reviewed again if it hadn't changed?

A better approach, after sending the rejection email would be to provide the developer with a selection of next steps. Either I resubmit the app (the current and only option) or Apple provides the option to make a quick metadata change if completed within a short amount of time.

Consider a better system: I receive the metadata rejection that the Preview video cannot be approved. I then log into iTunes Connect, remove the video and press 'Update' (or something equivalent). The app then goes back to the review employee who sees the change and continues with the app approval.

The above scenario eliminates the second review, saving at minimum an hour of a review employees time, and my app is available for purchase on the App Store a full week before the current system allows.