Apple this week released a silent policy update that restricts developers from changing their app’s descriptions and metadata in the App Store without submitting for a review process.
Additionally (and really, the bigger story), is that Apple have also started denying applications which use so-called “hot code” SDK’s.
Simply put, apps with code that would allow their content to be easily modified without repeating Apple’s manual reviewing process would be denied.
Apple’s stated reasoning is that such code may not be intentionally malicious, but could leave apps vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks or hijacking after launch. They haven’t stated as such, but they could also suspect that some users of hot code services publish apps without features that might violate the App Store terms of service, but who intended to re-add these features after approval, effectively skirting Apple policy.
How does this affect me?
In all likelihood, it doesn’t.
If you use certain hot code services (like the popular Rollout.io, which has seen its share of headlines since the policy change and who have subsequently released a statement), then you might have to think about re-working your app to ditch the offending code.
Ultimately, services like Rollout are fighting back, but there’s no guarantee Apple budge under the pressure.
If you are working with hybrid apps rendered in a webview, the policy does not apply as the changes sent to hybrid apps don’t pose the same device security risks as altering binary code in a native app on the fly.
Where do we go from here?
Carry on as usual, (probably) nothing to see here.
In fact, Apple’s hasn’t actually changed its policy, it has just started more closely interpreting and enforcing its previous restrictions on altering the code of already installed apps.
For those of you who are affected, we’ll keep you updated in the weeks to come as the dialogue between Apple and the companies who earn their bread on such services evolve.
Got an opinion on this update? What about hot code services in general? Leave a response below and let us know what you think!
Appademics Magazine is a community-driven online publication for current and aspiring app developers. If you’d like to read more of our content, be sure to follow us using the button below, or connect with us via twitter or Facebook.
Got an idea for a story, article, or tutorial? Read about contributing to the publication here.