Apple recently overhauled its App Store in more ways than one, firstly the platform was completely redesigned. And secondly, Apple got serious on copycat & one size fits all app shops.
Here’s our walk through of Apple’s recent updates;
Over the past year as part of an extensive housekeeping operation, Apple has removed hundreds of thousands of clone apps, 32-bit titles, spamware and other software ahead of its roll out of iOS 11.
In Apple’s recent App Store Review Guidelines, the company is applying more stringent rules not only to existing Apps but also for App Store submissions. These updated guidelines specifically target clones and apps created using templates or app generation services.
Within the guidelines, Apple refers to “commercialised templates & app generation services” as its main target. Meaning Apple will curb the submission, sale, and maintenance of apps created using templates, which means only original apps & content will be allowed.
In the past developers could cash in on the latest app craze, copying games such as Flappy Bird and rebranding them with new copy and graphics. While this practice is normally frowned upon, it hasn’t stopped agencies and developer’s doing it to make a quick profit.
This is just one of many revisions Apple is making to the App Store ahead of iOS 11. They will also be applying the same rules to spam apps; apps that push pirated content, apps that lack 64-bit support and titles that show no recent download activity. The latter, a measure to remove abandoned apps, kicked off last September.
While the above-mentioned face the cull, Apple doesn’t want third-party app production tools to be dissuaded in the clean-up process. By targeting only those apps that fall foul of rule 4.2.6, the company can keep the App Store clone free while at the same time fostering an environment for amateur developers.
The App Store Redesign
Content, Content & More Content
The first change in this new redesign is a completely redesigned homepage that Apple calls “Today”. Not only does it feature apps and showcase new releases, but it’s also a new platform for developers to share unique stories about their apps and how they impact the user’s life. This is done through different forms of pictures, video and more. In addition, it also includes how-to’s, guides, tips, and interviews with developers and influencers.
Originally Apple allowed up to 255 characters for app names. But, back in 2016, Apple changed this to 50 characters. Now with iOS 11, this has been culled again to 30 characters, forcing developers & marketers to come up with shorter and more catchy names.
Before iOS 11, developers could change an app’s description whenever they wanted to. But now, you can only change the app’s description when you’re submitting a new version of your app. So you better make it count.
A new feature added above the description section, this section will be used to communicate; marketing messages, limited-time events, new features, content, announcements, offers or discounts. It also has a 170-character limit.
You can now feature up to three app previews, which are 30 second long short videos, to help you showcase your app. They also auto-play with muted audio unless expanded.
Promoting In-App Purchases
Subscriptions and in-app purchases are now treated differently and are split into two separate sections on the product page. In-app purchases can also now appear in search results, the Games and Apps tabs, or even be featured on the Today page.
App ratings are now based on all versions, and not just the latest submitted one.
Apple will disallow custom review prompts in all apps. They will now provide their own API that you can add to allow people to submit their review within the app, without ever leaving it. They also limited the number of times these prompts can appear to users (three times per year), as many apps were abusing the feature.
Apple has compressed the search results to show more apps than before.