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October 30, 2018

Popular Reddit App Apollo Pulled From App Store Over Push Notification Snafu

by John_A

Popular Reddit app Apollo was removed from the App Store this afternoon after developer Christian Selig released an update that adds push notifications as a premium feature, Selig explained on Reddit.

After introducing the latest version of the Apollo app, which has a paid feature enabling push notifications, Apple informed Selig that he was in violation of rule 3.2.2 that prohibits apps from monetizing Push Notifications and other iPhone and iPad capabilities provided by the hardware or operating system. The email Selig received from Apple:

Hello,
We are writing to let you know about new information regarding your app, Apollo for Reddit, version 1.3, currently live on the App Store.
Upon re-evaluation, we found that your app is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines. Specifically, we found:

Business – 3.2.2 We noticed that your in-app purchase auto-renewable subscription product provides access to built-in Push Notification capabilities, which is not appropriate for the App Store.
For this reason, your app will be removed from sale on the App Store at this time.

Deliberate disregard of the App Store Review Guidelines and attempts to deceive users or undermine the review process are unacceptable and is a direct violation Section 3.2(f) of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. Continuing to violate the Terms & Conditions of the Apple Developer Program will result in the termination of your account, as well as any related or linked accounts, and the removal of all your associated apps from the App Store.

Future submissions of this app may require a longer review time, and this app will not be eligible for an expedited review. If you have any questions about this information, please reply to this message to let us know.

Selig said that he’s “quite confused” by Apple’s decision, as he had worked with Apple on the implementation of the premium service after the app update was previously rejected for the same reason.

For background, several weeks ago, Selig said that the 1.3 update of Apollo had been rejected by Apple because it included the in-app purchase for unlocking push notifications. Selig explained at the time that he needs to charge to add push notifications due to the server costs associated with implementing them.

In an update earlier this month, Selig said he was able to develop a workaround with Apple by bundling the feature with other premium options like app theming and custom icons for an “Apollo Ultra” service, and the update was released on Saturday.

It’s not clear why Apple pulled the Apollo app after telling Selig that it was appropriate to implement push notifications as part of a paid bundle of features, but Apple has been known for making confusing App Store decisions in the past. It’s likely the issue will be solved quickly, and Selig says he will keep Apollo customers updated on the status of the app.
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