Guideline 4.2.2 - Design - Minimum Functionality
We noticed that your app only includes links, images, or content aggregated from the Internet with limited or no native iOS functionality. Although this content may be curated from the web specifically for your users, since it does not sufficiently differ from a mobile web browsing experience, it is not appropriate for the App Store..
If you are reading this article chances are that you just received this message from App Store Connect, Apple. I have recently received this message over and over again but eventually I managed to get my app approved.
After talking to the app reviewers a few times I can share some hints on how to make your shiny new app to comply with guideline 4.2.2.
- First accept that your app might really have a problem. No matter how curated are your links/images or content it will not meet the Apple requirements because an app has to have a good level of interactivity from experience just having a menu to select certain news/images/content is not sufficient. If you are using an API consider adding a view to include the full text or something more than just links;
- The test applied by Apple is if the app just fetches some links that can be accessed on the web without the need of a fully fledged app. does not sufficiently differ from a mobile web browsing experience is the key here. If your app can't really do more (e.g. copyright restrictions) your chances for an approval small indeed.
- Note that this rule is not applied uniformely throughout all apps. In my personal experience in 2021 rules are enforced much more zealously than before so using as a defence "but app X is on the app store and was approved" will not give you some good results. Even if a similar app from the same developer was approved before this has zero impact on your new App. Reviewers focus solely on your current app;
- Try to add functionality to your app like text to speech, editing (in case of images perhaps) or anything that will make the app interactive and, in essence, do something that you can't do just with a web browser
- Engage with app reviewers: resist the templation to just lodge an appeal with the app board. Engage with the app reviewers and request a call if you feel that your app now meets guideline 4.2.2.
I hope that some of these hints will be useful. If you have a good app don't give up. If you have no idea on how to improve it take a few days off doing something else and you might come up with a solution. In alternative, try to research if similar apps have a richer functionality and how can you achieve the same in your own app.