Tales of an App Store rejection


Growtopia’s fishing update is happening a bit later than we expected. As a warning to other developers I’m explaining why.

Our app was rejected for mentioning other platforms – not in the app. Not in the description. Not in a screenshot. I know about those rules.

Where did I go wrong?

I mentioned other platforms in the private notes to the reviewer. I had a line of text mentioning that as a multi-platform game, accounts created on Windows/Mac/Android also could log on as a sort of an explanation of why I didn’t use GameCenter or iCloud saves.

I removed that line of text (with no other changes) and resubmitted. It was approved nine days later. I guess this text would fall under “metadata”.  I’ve never read any warnings about this, so dear reader, consider yourself warned.

This text has been in the “notes to reviewer” for the last two years and 20+ updates. So don’t know if I’ve just been lucky, got unlucky, or an automated scanner was recently added that does scan all metadata including the notes to reviewer. (Doubtful, as a scan would probably be run during submission rather than after the nine day review wait)


And that kids, is why it took 18 days to get our update approved. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

Release parity on four platforms for an MMO is hard

We add new content around every three weeks and things like this make it a challenge to sync up the four platforms we support to enable new features. If anyone asks why we don’t use the Mac App Store for our Mac client, well, now you know!

Being a top 1000 grossing app does not grant any special treatment or review times in my experience.

I try to allow enough time for a rejection, but when two rejections could mean (nearly) a month delay, well, you might be enjoying your Christmas themed app icon in January.

I’d love it if Apple would introduce a “Rush fee for a 48 hour review” option, would help immensely. I know there is a channel where you can beg for a rushed review, but I don’t think “my players need to fish” would have really cut it as an emergency.

Related side note: Last month we were rejected because the reviewer noticed we used the advertising ID but didn’t know WHERE we used it.

I’ve heard of a few other devs getting dinged with this recently too – so be sure to point out in your notes to the reviewer exactly where it’s used and how to get there.

And whatever you do, don’t mention the word Android!

3 thoughts on “Tales of an App Store rejection

  1. Mark Giam

    Wow, @Seth, I didn’t know you had to go through so much difficulties just for that fishing update. Although I don’t really mind because I had just used my gems for other stuff. XD

  2. ZeroRarity

    “My players need to fish!” would really get accepted as a reason though. Haha. It’s always inspiring to see a developer’s blog. The struggle, the challenge, the satisfaction, you name it. Everything a developer goes through is experience. I’m just a player, but seeing these blog posts is just making me feel like I’m really connected with my favorite game’s developer. Keep on being awesome, Seth!

  3. Mark Giam

    Yeah, the 40k players online on Growtopia would definitely agree that “My players need to fish!” is a valid, legit, 100% no-scam reason. But no pressure updating Growtopia… it would be pretty inconsiderate of us if you are gonna lose sleep over just another new growtopia item! Keep up the great work, @Seth! #GrowtopiaFTW

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