Reasons why an App gets removed from Google Play or Apple Store and solutions to them
If you’ve got your eyes set on the mobile app industry, you have no doubt tried your hand at app development. With the app development industry progressing by leaps and bounds, it is natural that you would find it interesting. So, maybe you’ve developed a perfect app idea, and you’ve got a great team working on it.
If you have decided to launch the app on Apple Store, or Google Play Store, you might want to make sure that your app follows its policies. It is not uncommon for people to find their app removed from the store. Google removed apps, or Apple store removed apps might find it difficult to make their way back, and developers might be left wondering why their apps were removed.
If you’ve been in this situation before, or just want to avoid such an incident, read on to learn more.
Why are apps removed from play store
If you’ve ever received a notification alerting you that your app has been removed, it is natural to wonder why. With hundreds of thousands of apps pouring in every day, and with the various criteria that app stores set, it is difficult to figure out when and why the store deleted the app.
Some of the most common reasons why they do this are given below.
Malware and malicious content
Both Google and Apple say that they do not allow apps hosting malware or malicious content on their stores. In fact, they constantly perfect their algorithm to detect malware and malicious content at all times.
Now, of course, you might not be trying to do something illegal, but, likely, you have inadvertently broken the rules. This might be something as simple as implementing third-party code from other sources. This might look seemingly innocent on the outside but could later result in illegal data collection or disruptive ads that you might not be aware of.
Every app store will, without a doubt, have strong customer privacy policies. Apps that do not ask the permission of users before accessing personal information are taken down. The privacy needs of your customer should be a priority as a developer, irrespective of the app store policy. That is why, if your app accesses any sort of information without user permission, it gets taken off Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Even if you do need permissions, be sure to explain to the store why you are accessing this data, and what functionality it supplements. This is especially true for Apple, as you have to explain clearly why the permission is being requested. In fact, at the end of it, they may even decide you do not need the data for any number of reasons.
This includes any location information, app-use, third party control like parental control apps, camera, email accounts, and browser history or related information. So, be sure to ask for minimal permissions, and explain why you need them.
Adware that block core functionality
If your app displays ads that are disruptive to either the functionality of the app or the phone, you’ll find it rejected. Google recently stated that it doesn’t matter how many users you have, or how popular your company is, if the app’s core functionality is compromised due to ads, it will be pulled off of stores. Recently, Google decided to pull nearly 600 applicants in February 2020 for disruptive ads.
In an attempt to end disruptive adware, Google is developing a new Machine Learning algorithm to detect out of context ads as well. So, if you don’t want to find your app removed from the play store, make sure to double-check for disruptive ads that could cause an issue.
Uniqueness and value
While it is very difficult to generate completely new ideas for apps, it won’t do to implement the functionality of existing apps as is. App stores look for apps that give a unique value to their users. Adding a new feature not only gives you a profitability edge, but it is crucial if you don’t want your app removed from Apple Appstore or Google Play Store. Even if your app is not unique, it must have some added value that your competitors cannot provide.
You also need to make sure to avoid misinformation. For example, the recent COVID-19 pandemic saw some apps providing information to users. Both Apple and Google have decided to crack down on any app not by a health organization or government, in an attempt to prevent the spread of misinformation and panic. This is so that apps can provide value to their consumers, which is completely justified.
If you do not want your app removed from Google Play or Apple App Stores, make sure you adhere to their content regulations. Both giants often reject or delete apps that have inappropriate content. Now, this is a wide umbrella, but this mostly refers to the following:
- Sexually explicit content
- Any content with the potential to endanger children
- Content with graphic depictions of violence. This includes violent threats, be it to a human or animal.
- Content instructing users to engage in violent activities like weapon making.
- Content promoting or instructing ways to self-harm, die by suicide or develop eating disorders.
- Any instructional content on acts resulting in injury or death
- Bullying and harassment
- Defamatory content and hate speech
- Illegal activities
- Inappropriate user-generated content
- References to disasters, atrocity, conflict, and so on.
- Content that is lewd or profane in any nature
Laws and the economic, social, and political landscape of the country are also applicable to your apps. There are many requests sent by governments to Apple and Google. So, make sure your app complies with all the laws and regulations applicable in the country of publishing. It is also important to check the foreign laws of any country you wish to expand to, as there may be key variations.
This should answer your questions if you’ve ever been left wondering “Why is my app removed from Google Play and the App Store?”
Now, what can you do about it?
How to handle it
If you’re not sure what happens when an app is removed from the App Store, and don’t know how to tackle this, worry not. You first get a mail from the store issuing a warning and offering you a chance to review your app, make changes, and pass the review again. If your app still doesn’t cut, you will be notified and the app will be suspended.
If you make changes after this, make sure to resubmit with a new package and app name. The continuous suspension could result in your developer account being terminated.
If you feel that there was an error in their decision, make sure to get in touch with employees of Google in Business Developer or Business Relations Developer roles. You could get in touch by placing an appeal or sending emails, but this will be met by bots in most cases, which is why it is more beneficial to find people and contact them.
The best way, however, is to test before launching your app. Make sure your end-to-end testing is flawlessly done. Avoid any placeholder content at the time of publishing.
Most importantly, go through the guidelines and policies of Google and Apple to avoid any incidents.
You could do this yourself or outsource it to companies that specialize in such services, which will save you the trouble and give a comprehensive overview of where you might have gone wrong.
Now that you’ve got the nuances all figured out, you’re ready to get your app published.
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