tech

WWDC 2020: Apple to let developers challenge app rules, promises to not delay updates

Developers have criticised Apple recently for its App Store rules after an update to the email app Hey was rejected for not abiding by in-app-purchase rules.

Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers the keynote address during the 2020 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., June 22, 2020. WWDC, in its 31st year and held virtually for the first time, runs through June 26. Brooks Kraft/Apple Inc/Handout via REUTERS 
Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers the keynote address during the 2020 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., June 22, 2020. WWDC, in its 31st year and held virtually for the first time, runs through June 26. Brooks Kraft/Apple Inc/Handout via REUTERS  (via REUTERS)

Apple said it will start letting developers challenge App Store store policies and won’t delay app updates over rule violations, possibly easing tensions with the creators who help fuel the iPhone maker’s growing services business.

“First, developers will not only be able to appeal decisions about whether an app violates a given guideline of the App Store Review Guidelines, but will also have a mechanism to challenge the guideline itself,” Apple said Monday in a statement on its website. “Second, for apps that are already on the App Store, bug fixes will no longer be delayed over guideline violations except for those related to legal issues.”

Developers have criticised the company recently for its App Store rules after an update to the email app Hey was rejected for not abiding by in-app-purchase rules. European regulators and U.S. lawmakers also have been scrutinizing Apple on antitrust issues because the company generally requires developers to use its App Store payment service, which takes a cut of 15% to 30% of most app subscriptions and in-app purchases.

The company put the newly announced decision into practice Monday by approving Hey’s updated app with bug fixes while the email app’s developers work on a solution to the in-app-purchase issue.

The shift is one of several moves made on Monday at its annual developers conference that could alleviate anticompetitive complaints. The company also opened up its HomePod smart speaker to third-party music services and enabled users to change their default iOS email and web browser apps to third-party options, confirming a February Bloomberg News report.