Apple says less than 1% of app rejections appealed by developers

And Apple rejects A LOT of apps.

What you need to know

  • Apple says that it rejected between 33-36% of apps submitted from 2017-2019.
  • Despite this, it says that less than 1% of app rejections are appealed by developers.
  • Apple's Trystan Kosmynka told the court the decisions are usually upheld.

Apple has told the court in the Epic Games trial that less than 1% of App Store app rejections are appealed by developers.

Speaking on day four of the Epic Games vs Apple trial, Apple's senior director of marketing Trystan Kosmynka testified regarding the App Store and Apple's app review process. Counsel for Epic Games pressed Kosmynka on how Apple reviews apps and asked about whether the process had the potential for mistakes.

"It's a human process", Kosmynka stated, "we do make mistakes. But we certainly try to rectify those mistakes when we learn of them". Kosmynka stated that one way to look at mistakes was through appeals, revealing that less than 1% of App Store app rejections are appealed and that most of those decisions are upheld. Kosmynka said that he thought "the number of mistakes are a small fraction of the overall effectiveness of the process."

Figures presented at the trial reveal that Apple rejects a staggering number of submissions for its App Store:

  • 2017 - 5.177 million submissions, 1.69 million rejections (33%)
  • 2018 - 4.79 million submissions, 1.7 million rejections (35%)
  • 2019 - 4.8 million submissions, 1.74 million rejections (36%)

As noted during the trial the App Store only has around 2 million apps on it, so it's clear the submissions include updates to existing apps.

Kosmynka also stated that the amount of time it takes to get an app reviewed was not a frequent complaint from developers, stating the last time he reviewed an app it took five minutes.

Kosmynka also confirmed that Apple once referred to complaints about apps from third parties that violated App Store guidelines as as "UTB" or "under the bus", to reflect that a rival app or press article had thrown an app "under the bus" by alerting Apple it was in breach of guidelines. Kosmynka says that Apple later changed this term to ARC, App Review Compliance, sometime before 2016.

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