Using Apple’s App Review Process for Testing

Testing any piece of software is extremely important but if this software happens to be an iOS/Mac app, testing is crucial. Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines provide developers with some insight (some) on how they can avoid getting their app rejected. I say ‘some’ because its a living document that constantly changes. Quotes from the guidelines:

This document represents our best efforts to share how we review apps submitted to the App Store, and we hope it is a helpful guide as you develop and submit your apps. It is a living document that will evolve as we are presented with new apps and situations, and we’ll update it periodically to reflect these changes.

The developers may put their best efforts to provide Apple with a great application, the final and best judge of whether it should/would be approved is Apple and only Apple. This is especially applicable to apps that provide Location-based Services because a user’s location data is private and sensitive. Plus Apple’s testers are extremely thorough; if the app is using network, they would test it on 3G, wifi, and also without network; if it uses location they will test the app behavior while location services turned on and off; and so on. But, if an app is rejected despite all efforts of the developer, Apple provides detailed reasons of rejection with crash reports, screenshots, steps to replicate bugs, etc, in short everything that a developer needs to know to remove the behavior that caused rejection. Quoted from News and Announcements > iOS on Apple’s developer portal:

View Details Of Any Issues During App Review
Mar 15, 2011
You can now view details about any issues found during the review of your app from the new Resolution Center in iTunes Connect.
If your app has been reviewed and needs further refining before it can be approved for the App Store, you will receive an email with a link to the iTunes Connect Resolution Center. The Resolution Center offers additional details, explanatory screenshots if applicable, and links to information on how to resolve any issues. You can also respond directly to the App Review Team from within the Resolution Center. All communications with the App Review Team will be visible to you and the Admin and Technical members of your team.

Also the number of times same app can be submitted for review is unlimited, at least its not stated anywhere by Apple, nor has any developer complained as yet that Apple refused submission because the app was rejected and resubmitted too many times.

Knowing that Apple has a completely thorough and evolving method of reviewing App Store submissions, developers can use it for their benefit. Rather than putting too much time, effort and resources on extensive testing, developers can just develop their apps, do a little testing, submit for review, and let Apple do the dirty work. At the end of the day, they are the ones with absolute autonomy of whether something goes on the app store or not. Plus they give back everything developers need to mould their app according to Apple’s standards. Also if someone has already set a release date for their app, it would be good idea to submit a month or even two ahead of that date and provide the exact date when the app should go live after getting accepted using Release Control in iTunes Connect.

Bottom line, Apple’s Review process is the best testing process that an iOS/Mac app can go through; at least its the only best that matters.

P.S. I do not mean that one should submit an app that crashes every seconds and is full of bugs; developers should definitely take some time to test their applications. What I mean is one can do all the testing in the world and still get the app rejected; so instead of going overboard with it, just make sure the app works smoothly in normal conditions and let Apple do more extensive testing.


3 Comments on “Using Apple’s App Review Process for Testing”

  1. Shane says:

    After being rejected from apple review and I post comments/qestions what is the next step? Is it required to re-submit the binary to have them read my comments and re-review my app? My comments are asking for more clarification and therefore do not want to re-submit the same binary because it may need some modification but apple review was not clear or detailed enough.

    Do I just wait…because they know when comments are posted within the resulution center or do I need to re-submit my same binary?

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