Is Your iPhone App Still in the App Store After June 30?

Apple sent an email to all developers with the subject "Updated Deadline for App Requirements and Guidelines". That means that all applications must meet a number of criteria by June 30, 2020. But what does it mean to you? We decided to make a quick checklist to make you aware of the risks, so you can make sure you are still available in the App Store after June.

First, if you still wonder if your application will have an impact – it applies to all applications in the App Store – even if you use cross-platform tools like ReactNative, Flutter, Ionic, etc.  If you have a progressive web app, you'll be fine.

Do these rules apply only to new app submissions?

Even though usually, these updates apply only for new submissions, the wording in announcement gives us reason to believe that all apps must follow the rules by the deadline. Apple occasionally removes apps from App Store that don’t comply with their guidelines, and they will likely remove yours.

Apps for iPhone or iPad must be built with the iOS 13 SDK or later and use an Xcode storyboard to provide the app’s launch screen.

  • iOS 13 SDK was released with XCode 11 on September 20, 2019. You definitely need to take this seriously if the last update was done before that date.
  • Even if your app was released later, make sure you do have the required XCode installed. Select About XCode from the Xcode menu.
  • Make sure your project uses Storyboard for the launch screen. Storyboard for splash has been available for quite some time. Before that either Xib files or launch images were used as an alternative for Storyboard. If you're still using launch images ... stop right now!

It is safe to assume that the last point will not make your app taken down from App Store, but updates will not work for sure.

X code

iPhone apps must support all iPhone screens and all iPad apps must support all iPad screens.

Do you need to do anything? Apps built with Xcode 11 are ok, so scroll back to the previous point and see if your up was updated after on September 20, 2019.

Apps for Apple Watch must be built with the watchOS 6 SDK or later.

The WatchOS 6 SDK comes bundled with Xcode 11. Follow instructions in the first section to check your Xcode version.

Apps that authenticate or set up user accounts must support Sign in with Apple if required by guideline 4.8 of the App Store Review Guidelines.

That is probably one of the most expensive changes. So, does your application provide an option to create an account or log in through third-party or social login services such as Facebook or Google?

There are a few exceptions, as pointed out in Apple guidelines that do not help too many of us, but let's point them out:

  • Your app exclusively uses your company’s own account on-boarding and sign-in systems
  • Your app is an education, enterprise, or business app that requires the user to sign in with an existing education or enterprise account
  • Your app uses a government or industry-backed citizen identification system or electronic ID to authenticate users
  • Your app is a client for a specific third-party service and users are required to sign in to their mail, social media, or other third-party accounts directly to access their content

Contact your developer (unless you are one :)) and add Sign in with Apple to your iOS application. Here is the relevant documentation.

Is your app also on Android?

If your app is available on other platforms as well, you will want to make Sign in with Apple available for them as well. For this purpose, use Sign in with Apple JS:

Google Firebase can make this easier for developer

Apps in the Kids category must be in full compliance with guideline 1.3 and guideline 5.1.4. of the App Store Review Guidelines

To check if your app is in Kids category, login to App Store Connect and select your application. Select the latest version and view rating section in version history:

If your rating includes “Made for ages...” part, you have enabled Kids category for your application. For unpublished versions you can also see “Made for Kids” checkbox checked when Kids category is enabled:

IMPORTANT: If your application has ever passed review with Kids category on and you uncheck it later, you still need to comply with new guidelines for apps in Kids category.

What changes do I need? We will not go to details here, but you'll find all necessary under these links:

Apps using HTML 5 must be in full compliance with guideline 4.7 sections 4, 5, and 6 of the App Store Review Guidelines

That can be a tricky one, so pay attention! If your app contains Any HTML5 content (HTML5 games, bots, payment views, etc.) you need to make sure the application:

  • does not provide access to real money gaming, lotteries, or charitable donations
  • does not offer digital goods or services for sale
  • follows Apple’s App Review Guidelines

I guess the point is that HTML and dynamically loaded views could let you do something that would not pass Apple's review process. If you are doing it, you are risking the application to be taken away from App Store.


As many requirements here are expected and logical ones, they have an impact on applications that are not actively updated. In our experience, older the last update was, more work there is to get fixed for the latest tools.
Using Apple ID as a login alternative is a strong statement, and we have to admit that we did not see that coming. We've already done the update for many apps and if you need our help, drop us a line!

Thanks for reading

Katrin Annuk
iOS developer

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