Dark Side of the App Store

Kristaps Grinbergs
5 min readSep 25, 2019

I am an Apple fanboy and I admit that. But one of the most frustrating things in being an app developer is dealing with the App Store review and compliance teams. This time I would like to share my experience with these problems.

Even Apple’s former app approval chief has said that he is ‘really worried’ about the company’s anticompetitive behavior.

App Store review rejections

Quite recently I jumped on a project which promotes vegan food places in Latvia. All these food spots are validated by the project manager and have to have at least three proper vegan meal options. I thought it would be a great idea to make an app for that because on the go it is always easier to use it from your phone. App adds extra features like navigation, searchable list and more features that are not available on the website.

So far this app has been released with 5 version updates each time adding extra features to it. People love and use it a lot. Even data shows that app retention, ratings, and feedback from social media is very good.

But sadly Apple App Store review team thinks differently. They have rejected the last update due to minimum functionality. I had a call with Apple representative and they even explained that approving this app has been a mistake by them.

Guideline 4.2 — Design — Minimum Functionality We found that the usefulness of your app is limited by the minimal amount of content or features it includes.

The app is free and it does not include any adds. It uses only iOS standard UI elements. App Store has plenty of scams and very bad apps so treating an app that complies with all user interface guidelines, supports new iOS 13 and is widely used is not understandable to me. Not to mention that this project tries to solve environmental and animal rights issues which is a big topic right now.

App Store Scams

Kristaps Grinbergs

Blockchain, mobile and fullstack developer. Startup founder. Conference speaker. Mentor. Passionate about building products, sustainability and Web 3.0.