App Store Review Guidelines: 12 Common Mistakes Developers Make

In-App Purchase Apple App Store

How to get rejected from the App Store thanks to In-App Purchase ? In-App Purchase from App store can be frustrating and can result in a bottleneck for your growth. Follow our checklist to avoid wasting your time and energy.

First of all, you may read App Store Review Guidelines available here as these guidelines are evolving fast.

Forget to add your in-app products with your app submission

Never forget the easiest thing ! If your In App product is not added with your build for submission … the Apple App Store Review team won’t be able to review it and will immediately reject it.

Make it NOT work

A basic again but if your content / service isn’t unlocked right after purchase that’s a direct and easy rejection.

Forget or fail restoration

Restoration must be made available everywhere a purchase button and of course Apple asks you to make it work too. They expect your users to be able to restore a previously made purchase.

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Use In App Purchase when you shouldn’t

In App Purchase cannot be used for physical goods or services consumed exclusively outside of the app (3.1.5(a) of the guidelines).

The sad thing is that you won’t have the 30% of your revenues taken by Apple and will have to deal with a 1 or 2% taken by Stripe, Adyen, MangoPay, … but if you are sad to lose an opportunity of rejection, you can make payments with Apple Pay.

Don’t use In App Purchase when you must

Distributing digital goods is fun but must pass through In App Purchase. Yes I said MUST so that’s an easy step to rejection. Use a regular credit card payment and get rejected.

Use the wrong type of In App Purchase

Offer a subscription when you shouldn’t, use non consumables as consumables you will have a lot of discussions with the review teams and will probably have some new friends.

If your content is fixed and doesn’t evolve using a subscription will most probably get rejected.

If, after having so much fun, you want to make sure to select the right type, have a look at our article.

Link to a website where credit card payment is possible

You love playing 🐈 and 🐁? You might not be able to beat the best players around like Netflix but give it a try. Apple totally forbids you leading your users from your app to another payment method. Now that you know the rule it offers a numerous amount of possible rejections. So in every Web Views inside your app you can have a logo or a menu leading after some clicks to a payment section of your app to subscribe. Your users will most probably never find it but why would you miss an opportunity to fool the reviewers. Well the guys at Cupertino are quite good at that game but have you tried the terms and conditions section yet ?

You can also be rejected if Apple catches you sending an email or a push leading to a Web payment after subscription.

This game is the funniest because it can lead you to be removed from the App Store. Have fun !

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Don’t be clear about the renewing subscriptions

Isn’t it great to have recurring money coming in 🤑? When users keep paying and paying and paying  … It’s even better when they didn’t noticed they were purchasing a subscription and when the one-time payment was in fact a weekly one 💰.

For some reason Apple decided the app developers had to detail the terms of renewal 🙄.

Extracted from the Paid Applications agreement section 3.8:

(b) You clearly and conspicuously disclose to users the following information regarding Your auto-renewing subscription: • Title of auto-renewing subscription, which may be the same as the in-app product name • Length of subscription • Price of subscription, and price per unit if appropriate

So to get rejected for that motive you need to:

  • Don’t explain what the user is purchasing
  • Give a wrong price (wrong amount, different currency, forget the duration) or put the details in very very very small.

Missing Terms and conditions or Privacy policies

Let’s continue on the same trend, Apple reaaaaaallllllyyyyyy wants you to be transparent with your users so playing with that is leading to direct rejection.

Once again from the Paid Applications agreement section 3.8:

Links to Your Privacy Policy and Terms of Use must be accessible within Your Licensed Application.

They are really careful about auto-renewing subscriptions and about you displaying terms of use and privacy policies. if not, you will receive the following:

We noticed that your app did not fully meet the terms and conditions for auto-renewing subscriptions, as specified in Schedule 2, section 3.8(b) of the Paid Applications agreement.

We were unable to find a link to your Terms of Use in either the app description or the License Agreement section of App Store Connect.

Sometimes, even if the terms of use and privacy policies are available on the product page they ask you to add the link in your app description on the App Store or in the EULA.

Force users to register

If your user can use the app with no registration and that you require them to create an account prior to making the purchase, there is a good chance for you to be rejected. Your users should be able to enjoy the purchase without having to create an account if it was not needed before. The purchase is tied to the device and as it is restorable you can restore it on another device. The bad thing is that following Apple’s advices will most probably increase conversion rate because you are removing the step of registration from the conversion path. You can push that step to an optional one post purchase and explain to your users that they will be able to enjoy their purchase on other devices.

… or to go pay on the Web to activate the app

If you offer an application that blocks the user on a login screen which conduct him to go on the Web , register and pay.

Want some more ?

If your app offers internal promo codes you will also be rejected

Your app unlocks or enables additional functionality with mechanisms such as promo codes, which is not appropriate for the App Store.

Guideline 3.1.1 – Business – Payments – In-App Purchase

If you mention that your In-App Purchase will be used for a donation

We noticed that your app includes a donation as part of an In-App Purchase cost, which is not appropriate for the App Store. 

Guideline 3.2.2 – Business – Other Business Model Issues – Unacceptable

There is one last chance

… and you are going to have to count on Apple for this one. The app review team is using the In App Purchase sandbox environment (the test environment) which is not really stable and rejects the purchases of fails to grab the products.

If the review team fails to purchase because of a “Cannot connect to iTunes Store” … well it’s a rejection and you will have to resubmit your app.

As you can see In App Purchase is a great amount of fun. Enjoy it.


What if you want to pass?

Well I heard that some people who followed these advices had no rejections.



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