Apple Updates App Store Guidelines, Provides More Info on Template Apps, VPNs, and More [Updated]

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 21 Dec 2017

Apple today relaxed some of its App Store guidelines related to template apps, VPNs, cryptocurrency apps, and more. Apple has cracked down on over thousands of apps this year either due to government regulations or due to violation of App Store guidelines.

In its updated guidelines, Apple has clarified that any template-based application submitted to the App Store must be done by the provider of the app’s content. This means that if a website or a hotel creates an app using a template service, they should be the one to submit the app to the App Store and not the template service or any other middlemen. Apple had started cracking down on apps that were made using template service since last month but it ended up booting off a lot of legitimate apps from the App Store in the process as well.

4.2.6. Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected unless they are submitted directly by the provider of the app’s content. These services should not submit apps on behalf of their clients and should offer tools that let their clients create customized, innovative apps that provide unique customer experiences.

Another acceptable option for template providers is to create a single binary to host all client content in an aggregated or “picker” model, for example as a restaurant finder app with separate customized entries or pages for each client restaurant, or as an event app with separate entries for each client event.

Earlier this year, Apple had removed all VPN apps from the Chinese App Store due to a change in the government regulations. The company has now updated the App Store guidelines to reflect that VPN services must adhere to local laws and be clear on what user data would be collected.

5.4 VPN Apps

Apps offering VPN services must utilize the NEVPNManager API and must make a clear declaration of what user data will be collected and how it will be used. VPN apps must not violate local laws, and if you choose to make your VPN app available in a territory that requires a VPN license you must provide your license information in the App Review Notes field.

With the rise in cryptocurrencies and trading apps on the iOS App Store, Apple has also updated its guidelines to make it clear that all cryptocurrency applications should come from original banks, securities firms and other approved financial institutions.

There are plenty of other changes made by Apple to its App Store guidelines so if you are a developer, make sure to go through them to ensure your apps don’t violate any of the new guidelines.

Update: Apple will also stop charging the yearly $99 Apple Developer Program fee for governments and nonprofits starting from early 2018. Initially, this will be limited to institutions in the United States.

[Via Apple]