As of late 2017 it’s official now Apple is rejecting any apps that was made using a template and it’s also rejecting app updates which means that if you already have the app in the App Store and you’re trying to update it for the newer iPhones or new iOS version, you would be rejected which basically means your app is experiencing slow death.
Apple will mark you app as “Spam”. Here is the Apple reviewer message:
4. 3 Design: Spam
Guideline 4.3 – Design
We noticed that your app provides the same feature set as other apps that have been submitted to the App Store (either under your own account or across multiple developer accounts) and simply varies in content or language.
Apps that simply duplicate content or functionality create clutter, diminish the overall experience for the end user, and reduce the ability of developers to market their apps.
We encourage you to review your app concept and incorporate different content and features that are in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.
App Store Review
This message is very broad. If you think about it, the majority of apps are using the same features as other apps so technically speaking, Apple can reject any apps they wish.
It goes without saying this affects all the people that are doing app reskinning (and game reskinning)
Any developer or entrepreneur trying to just change the name of the app template and change graphics will be rejected for sure.
Now if you take a concept that already exists such as flappy bird or match-3 games like candy crush you won’t be rejected if you do your homework.
What does “doing your homework” mean when it comes to building apps? Well it means you need to improve on that game… for example the game that was one of the best of 2017 is named “Gardenscape” (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gardenscapes/id1105855019?mt=8)
This game is very similar to candy crush if you compare the game mechanics but it adds another mechanic on top of that which allows users to use their point earned during the match-three process and use them to decorate their garden which means they create their own custom unique garden. User then can show it off to family and friends. This concept was a new concept of 2017, and obviously a lot of people are copying it.
So this concept is new but if you’re trying to copy this concept it won’t be new to you so you will probably get rejected as well, unless you improve on that concept and I’m sure if you look at the top 200 games you can definitely take a few of their mechanics and add it to your new game which would make it unique.
This new Apple “spam” rule is actually a good thing for developers because people are going to need their services even more than ever. Entrepreneurs will need to take templates and improve upon them to make them unique and original.
If you’re a programmer you’re in luck…if you’re not then you’ll have to start looking for partnerships with developers or you have to start hiring them. You can find programmers on at upwork.com but be ready to have a hard time especially if you are on a tight budget. People will do the bare minimum and will ask for more money for all the things you forgot to mention and anyone that has developed an app or a game can tell you there are always things that come up as the project is ongoing.
You can also contact us at email@example.com. We can do the development, but prior to this we will help you create your app project road map. We will also play the devil’s advocate and help you consolidate your idea, because we don’t want you to just build an app, we want you to build a sustainable business that happens to be using the mobile app platform as their channel. (brilliant!)
2018 and 2019 are going to be interesting in the mobile industry because right now the app stores are getting cleaned up.
We are projecting to see a drop of up to 30 percent in terms of quantity of apps and games in the App Store.
It’s great news since less competition means less apps which means more app store search exposure (ASO boost)
Now I want you to remember that Apple wants quantity over quality and this last move is all about this.
So remember, make less apps but make them great, well thought out. You need to add mechanics to monetize your apps such as adding advertising, asking for users ratings and reviews, try to get users email addresses, try to increase user engagement.
On another note having your game in the App Store is only one part of the battle. If you want to win the war, (ie live the lifestyle you wish living from an app business) you need to also work hard on marketing and product market fit.
I’m going to stop here from now if you’d like to know more and get to talk to me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org