What you need to know
- The App Store is expediting coronavirus app approvals.
- Only apps from reputable sources will be accepted.
- COVID-19 games or entertainment apps will be rejected.
Apple continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, and this time it is focusing on how to ensure apps from reputable sources get into the hands of users as quickly as possible.
The company has released an update on its developer website detailing what apps that are focused on COVID-19 will be approved and how to get them approved faster. Developers are encouraged to request an expedite for their app's approval if they meet certain criteria.
"The App Store should always be a safe and trusted place for users to download apps. Now more than ever that commitment takes on special significance as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities around the world are depending on apps to be credible news sources — helping users understand the latest health innovations, find out where they can get help if needed or provide assistance to their neighbors.
We understand the need to get these apps into the hands of customers as soon as possible. We encourage developers that meet this criteria to select "Time-Sensitive Event" on the expedite request form to ensure prioritized review since App Store review may take longer."
In order to ensure that the apps that are approved are providing accurate information, Apple says that its team is evaluating submitted apps "critically" and only accepting those that are from recognized sources. It is also rejecting any entertainment or gaming app that is built around the coronavirus outbreak.
"To help fulfill these expectations, we're evaluating apps critically to ensure data sources are reputable and that developers presenting these apps are from recognized entities such as government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions. Only developers from one of these recognized entities should submit an app related to COVID-19. Entertainment or game apps with COVID-19 as their theme will not be allowed."
For developers who are planning to release only free apps, the company says that they may be eligible to have their annual membership fee waived.
"Nonprofit organizations, accredited educational institutions, and government entities that plan to distribute only free apps on the App Store can request to have their annual membership fee waived, if based in an eligible country."
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