Updated App Store Review Guidelines

Apple has announced that it is revising its App Store guidelines with a handful of notable changes. The latest version of the guidelines offers new details for template/white-label apps, cryptocurrency trading clients, VPNs, and more.

Template based apps

Apple has clarified its controversial language on template-based or white-labeled apps, which we mentioned in an earlier story. It was reported earlier this month that the company was cracking down on apps generated using template services, but that decision ended up having a detrimental effect on many legitimate apps.

4.2.6 Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.

Apples intention was to free up the App Store with identical looking apps to offer a more high-quality experience.

The updated App Store guidelines, however, offer more lucidity. Apple now says that any apps built around a template or using a template service must be submitted by “the provider of the app’s content”. This means that if a local restaurant builds an app using a template, it must be the business itself that submits the app to the App Store — rather than the template service.

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.

This allows template services to continue living in the App Store, but it will also force more businesses to pay $99 per year for a developer membership. In the same step Apple is going to waive its $99 developer fee for government and nonprofit apps in the U.S. in early 2018.

Cryptocurrency apps

Other changes include cryptocurrency apps such as Coinbase. Apple says that apps facilitating Intial Coin Offerings must come from established banks, securities firms, or other approved financial institutions:

Apps facilitating Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”), cryptocurrency futures trading, and other crypto-securities or quasi-securities trading must come from established banks, securities firms, futures commission merchants (“FCM”), or other approved financial institutions and must comply with all applicable laws.

HealthKit and HomeKit frameworks

Apple will also start working harder to ensure that frameworks like HomeKit and HealthKit are used for their intended purposes, not to allow other features or capabilities:

Apps should use APIs and frameworks for their intended purposes and indicate that integration in their app description. For example, the HomeKit framework should provide home automation services; and HealthKit should be used for health and fitness purposes and integrate with the Health app.