Apple clamping down on music downloading apps, ones incentivizing ad watching and social sharing


Apple appears to have been cracking down on iOS apps which enable users to download music and software making it possible to download other file types from file-sharing networks.

But that’s not all, as the Cupertino firm is seemingly asking developers to stop with the practice of incentivizing people to watch in-game ads and share promotional messages on social networks in exchange for in-game coins, virtual items, etc.

Although iOS 8 has relaxed the rules pertaining to third-party development by providing APIs to extend system functionality and create custom keyboards, custom actions in Share sheets, photo and video editing extensions for the Photos app and more, it’s obvious that Apple wants to bring order to its App Store and is now prohibiting iPhone and iPad applications that promote apps by other developers…

TechCrunch first broke the news, adding that Apple is also clamping down on discovery tools that let folks find apps inside the games they’re already playing.

“The move will have a significant impact on the app industry as a whole, and will serve as something of a ‘reset’ in terms of how apps can achieve growth and scale,” explains writer Sarah Perez.

Poor Flurry, TapJoy and the like.

Examples of app rejections include an app that was rejected after it was updated with a new skin. Specifically, Apple has taken issue against an in-game ad for a different game and a button that offered users to watch an embedded video ad in exchange for in-game coins.

That’s a big no-no, according to Apple’s email to the developer which warns against in-game sections like ‘More Games’ that promote apps not their own.

iOS 8 app store app bundles

An excerpt from Apple’s email reads as follows:

The 2.25 rejection is for promoting other apps not your own. The attached screenshot showed an EA game as a “Free Game”.

Additionally, your 3.10 rejection was for offering free in-game credits for watching videos of other apps by developers other then yourself.

Another app was rejected after Apple found out that it offered hints after incentivizing users to share a promotional message on Facebook.

MacRumors adds that Apple appears to be asking makers of music, video and file downloading apps to change their code to adhere to its principles outlined in its agreement for third-party iOS development.

This doesn’t bode well for apps that make it easy to download music files from services like YouTube and Soundcloud, with MacRumors remarking that Apple reportedly asked some developers to completely remove audio downloading functionalities from their app.

Section 2.25 of Apple’s agreement with iOS developers warns that apps that “display apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store” will be rejected. This excludes apps which provide “significant added value for a targeted group of customers” such as health management, aviation and accessibility apps.

ios 8 app store updates

On the other hand, Apple has loosened restrictions when it comes to virtual currency apps like Bitcoin and has enabled developers to optionally mark their apps for Family Sharing, a new feature in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite allowing up to six devices to share iTunes purchases without having to share the same Apple ID.

The much-improved App Store in iOS 8 offers several new features, like video previews for apps embedded in the screenshot section, app bundles, a brand new Editor’s Choice label for highlighted apps, better search, an Explore feature to improve discoverability and TestFlight beta-test service stemming from Apple’s acquisition of its creator, Burstly.

Additionally, it’s been discovered that a new location feature puts app shortcuts on the Lock screen when a user is in the vicinity of points of interest which offer iPhone and iPad apps on the App Store.