In a precedent-setting move, Apple has released its first-ever App Store Transparency Report, marking a significant step towards increased transparency and openness.
This move comes as a fulfillment of Apple’s commitment to developers, stemming from a 2021 lawsuit settlement in which the tech giant agreed to provide pivotal data concerning the app review process. This data includes – but is not limited to – statistics on the volume of app rejections, deactivated customer and developer accounts, app removals from the App Store, and search queries and results.
The 2022 App Store Transparency Report, encompassing all developer-requested information and the associated supplemental data, is now accessible and downloadable via Apple’s legal site.
Throughout 2022, the App Store hosted 1,783,232 apps, processed 6,101,913 total app submissions, and rejected 1,679,694 apps on various grounds such as safety, performance, design, and legal issues. The report breaks down the violations of specific App Store guidelines leading to app rejections, citing the Design 4.0 rule and the DPLA 3.2 Fraud rule as the most violated.
Developers managed to get 253,466 app submissions approved post-rejection after resolving issues with Apple. Furthermore, Apple removed 186,195 apps from the App Store for violating its rules. Games constituted the majority of these removed apps, followed by Utilities, Business, and Education apps.
The report also divulges the total number of apps removed from the App Store due to government requests, with China topping this list. Of the 1,435 apps that the Chinese government asked Apple to remove, 1,276 were games lacking the mandatory GRN license.
In response to governmental requests, Apple removed 14 apps for India, 10 for Pakistan, and seven for Russia. In countries including Turkey, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Italy, Latvia, and Nigeria, fewer than two apps were removed at the government’s request.
Despite a total of 18,412 appeals against app removals, Apple reinstated a mere 616 apps. Apple attributes this high rejection rate to most of the appealed apps having been withdrawn from the App Store due to fraud or illegality.
Apple terminated 428,487 developer accounts out of a total of 36,974,015 registered developers in 2022. According to the report, developer removals from the Apple Developer Program occur for varied reasons but are predominantly due to connections with other terminated developer accounts. Out of 3,338 appeals against App Store bans, Apple reinstated only 159 accounts, citing fraud as the primary reason.
The report also discloses that 282,036,628 customer accounts were terminated in 2022, which includes accounts created by non-iPhone and iPad users on the website. The App Store experienced 656,739,889 average weekly visitors and saw 747,873,877 average weekly app downloads. On average, customer accounts conducted 373,211,396 App Store searches, with 1,399,741 apps featuring in the top 10 results of at least 1,000 searches. Apple’s supplemental data provides further breakdowns.
Apple has vowed to release these App Store Transparency Reports to developers on an annual basis in the future.