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Will Apple approve my webview app?

TL;DR: TL;DR: When it comes to publishing an app in Apple's App Store, you have to follow some strict (but fair) rules that pass Apple's app review process. But it's easier than you may think. Here we take a quick, closer look at the most important pieces to consider when getting ready to submit, ensuring your app has the highest chance of being successfully approved for publishing.

Developers are consistently looking for ways to create full-feature modern iOS apps, making webview apps a popular option due to their no-fuss combination of web-based functionality with native app elements.

If you want users to easily download your webview app on their iOS devices, then you’ll then need to publish it to the Apple App Store.

Apps that include web content are welcome in the App Store, but only if they provide an elevated "app-like" experience to their users. If not, then Apple will not approve them. But given Apple’s requirements, how do you ensure your app will be approved?

Feeling anxious about Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines and their App Review process? No problem: below, we'll review Apple’s most pertinent policies so that you can be certain your app will be approved when you submit it for review.

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Key takeaways

  • Navigate App Store review guidelines to create an “app-like” experience for webview apps.
  • Incorporate native iOS features and lasting entertainment value through micro interactions and engaging content.
  • Test on multiple devices, adhere to privacy/data usage criteria, and optimize visibility post approval with marketing strategies such push notifications.

Navigating App Store review guidelines for webview apps

Staying aware of and following Apple’s App Store review protocols is crucial for a successful webview app. Even though such apps are allowed in the store, they have to deliver an experience that resembles the feel of native iOS applications.

You can increase their approval chances by focusing on three areas: delivering an “app-like” user journey, incorporating customary elements found in other iPhone/iPad apps, and providing long lasting value to users.

Will Apple accept webview apps?

Yes, but provided the webview app offers an “app-like experience” with native features that go above and beyond what a simple webview app can deliver.

According to the App Store Review guidelines, “Your app should include features, content, and UI that elevate it beyond a repackaged website. If your app is not particularly useful, unique, or “app-like,” it doesn’t belong on the App Store.” 

To elaborate: Apple's App Store Review Guidelines are stringent, and one of the key aspects that they focus on is the 'Minimum Functionality' of an app. According to these guidelines, developers are required to ensure that their apps provide a lasting and valuable utility to their users.

If you're developing a webview app, it's important to understand that Apple's review process will scrutinize the functionality of your app. The app must offer more than just a repackaged website. It should provide a significant amount of interactivity, integration with iOS features, or other substantial functionality that goes beyond simply displaying web content.

In the context of webview apps, this means that your app should provide a rich, app-like experience. This could include integration with iOS features, offline capabilities, or other functionality that goes beyond the capabilities of a standard web browser.

Ultimately, while webview apps are allowed on the App Store, they must meet Apple's 'Minimum Functionality' guidelines. The apps should provide a valuable user experience and offer substantial functionality beyond just displaying web content.

Apple criteria for webview apps: Useful resources

  • Apple’s Official Store Review Guidelines: Get a more detailed understanding of the Apple App Store review process, and the apps they’ll likely reject (and why). This will help you prepare and test your webview app in advance, and ultimately ensure the seamless approval of your app. 
  • Reasons why the Apple App Store rejects apps: Ensure you're iOS app will get approved the first time by educating yourself on the top 10 reasons why they'll so no to an app that you've submitted. Thinking ahead and ensuring your app meets Apple's criteria will (hopefully) mean you won't have to repeat the submission process.
  • Apple App Store and Minimal Functionality: Explore this source if you need help understanding what Apple means by ‘Minimal Functionality’ in apps it approves for the App store.

Fact: Need more help? Our Publishing Team publishes apps daily and knows the guidelines inside and out, as well as Apple’s current policies. With our App Store Publishing Service, we also offer a 100% guarantee of App Store acceptance.

1. Make your app “app-like”

Median’s Publishing Guide provides specific recommendations to help you ensure that Apple approves your app.

For example, to provide an “app-like” user experience we suggest you add features such as native navigation, remove any webpage footers, and design your web content so that it is scaled to display on a mobile device screen size.

Understanding "app-like" experience requirements

Apple has set a standard for webview apps to offer an enriched “app-like” experience. To meet this requirement, iOS app developers can introduce features like native navigation. This provides a seamless and familiar interface, much like those seen in regular applications.

Another way to enhance the user experience is by eliminating webpage footers. This allows users to focus solely on the app's content, maintaining consistent UI elements across all devices or platforms.

Developers should also consider the limitations of mobile device screens. To provide optimal mobile website experiences, developers must adopt adaptive layouts via CSS media queries and set the viewport meta tag correctly.

These strategies enable webview-based apps to perform and look similar to their purely native counterparts. This ensures customer satisfaction, regardless of the device used to access the apps.

2. Include native app features (like native plugins)

Including native plugins in your app is another way you can add native app features and ensure approval. Native plugins allow you to build a full-featured native app with a user experience that goes above and beyond displaying web content in a mobile browser.

For instance, you can send push notifications directly to your app users even when the app is in the background (and its easy to measure push notification success, which is always useful data for growth and product teams).

Seek out a comprehensive library of Native Plugins to add even more native functionality to your webview app, such as Touch ID/Face ID login, Document Scanning, Twilio Video Calling, and much more. (Median.co's engineering team also takes on development projects to build custom native plugins that provide specific native functionality and that implement third-party vendor SDKs.)

A webview app can greatly benefit from integrating native iOS features, as this may improve its chances of approval and create a better user experience. For instance, delegates for the webview could be implemented to manage toolbars, text fields, etc., while extending WebKit with specific MIME types makes it possible to customize further.

Supplying additional information about such plugins and capabilities might also contribute positively towards getting an application accepted by Apple Store reviewers.

3. Create lasting entertainment value

To enhance your WebView app and make it stand out, consider these practical tips:

  • Provide engaging content that keeps users returning.
  • Use microinteractions to create subtle animations or reactions when users interact with the app.
  • Incorporate gamification to maintain user engagement.
  • Look at successful webview apps that high entertainment value and have been approved by Apple.

By focusing on lasting entertainment value in your app’s design, you increase the chances of approval from Apple and meet user expectations.

DYK? Using Median, you can build hybrid web+native apps that offer the best of both worlds: A web layer with content that is easily implemented and updated using any web development technology and a native layer that contains any required native functionality from push notifications to QR code scanning!

Designing for success: Crafting an appealing webview app

Designing an Appealing WebView App

The success of a webview app is determined by how appealing it looks to the user, as well as any features that go beyond ordinary web content. For this reason, focusing on designing an intuitive interface and adding distinct elements for engagement are essential in order to maximize users’ enjoyment of your app.

Maximizing user engagement with intuitive design

Webview apps that adhere to basic principles of intuitive design like minimalism, user-awareness, and uniformity will have a greater potential for creating an enjoyable experience with easy navigation. A repackaged website in the form of an app can ensure this is achievable by being visually pleasing as well as providing clear pathways around it.

Responsive layouts and custom designs should be implemented in order to optimize display on different devices and encourage users back into engaging with the webview app frequently.

All these practices are beneficial for user satisfaction when navigating through your website or application platform, which makes them key components needed while designing it.

Adding distinctive features beyond simple web content

To make your webview app more appealing to users and distinguish it from competitors, you need to offer features that go beyond simple web content. Such features might include native UI elements, offline capabilities, push notifications, customization preferences, and increased security measures.

All these elements can significantly enhance the overall user experience with your app.

Successful apps like Beyond the Rack demonstrate that incorporating additional features, rather than relying solely on web content, can lead to successful apps that leverage webview technology.

Implementing specific native plugins should help your web-based app stand out from others, and ultimate attract more users (and ensure your acceptance into the App Store).

Preparing for submission: Ensuring your webview app meets standards

Want to prepare as much as possible to ensure Apple accepts your webview app? We'll provide an overview below, but if you're looking for a deep dive into Apple's guidelines, check out this comprehensive iOS-specific App Store Guide.

Before releasing your WebView app into the App Store, ensure that it meets all of Apple’s standards. Testing should cover multiple devices and guarantee compliance with privacy regulations as well as adherence to guidelines set out by Apple itself. And remember: data usage requirements must be taken into account when submitting an application for approval in the store.

Testing your app on multiple mobile devices

Testing your app on multiple mobile devices helps provide a more consistent user experience and allows you to address any concerns that arise. Different kinds of testing, such as unit, integration, functional performance security, can help refine the effectiveness of an app before submitting it to the App Store.

You can also opt for an easy app tester experience via the Median.co App Studio.

Understanding how users interact with an application is essential in perfecting its operation, so extensive tests should be carried out before releasing into Apple’s App Store for public use.

Meeting privacy and data usage criteria

Ensuring user data security is crucial for app approval by Apple. Any apps that fail to comply with Apple's guidelines risk rejection. Specifically, for iOS WebView apps, developers could use the WKWebView API.

This keeps private user data inaccessible to the webview and mandates regular security checks.

Strict adherence to Apple's privacy terms, along with a clear, accessible privacy policy within your app, can enhance your chances of approval.

The best way to describe your iOS app

Having an attention-grabbing description and relevant keywords for your webview app can play a big role in attracting users. Identifying these elements correctly is key to making sure that potential customers take notice of your application.

For a deeper dive, go right to the source: check out Apple's tips for writing a solid app description for the App Store.

Crafting a compelling app description

To ensure your webview app's success, crafting a compelling description is crucial. This description should clearly outline the unique features and benefits your app offers, enabling potential users to comprehend its value.

According to Apple's guidelines, the ideal description is a concise, informative paragraph followed by a short list of main features, all within a 4000 character limit.

To further enhance your app's appeal, consider incorporating visuals such as screenshots or videos. These elements can generate enthusiasm about your app's capabilities and potentially increase downloads.

Selecting keywords with impact

Also keep in mind that keywords matter: users will be entering the store with search keywords in mind, so your descriptions should leverage terms which make your search audience more likely to find you.

Choosing influential keywords for your app can enhance its presence in the App Store and aid in drawing more users. To pick out successful words, zero in on expressions that are pertinent to the application, precise, and not overly competitive.

By looking into commonly employed phrases of related apps and incorporating them in your listing description you’ll be able to optimize visibility as well as enhancing probability of enticing customers.

Enhancing visibility: Marketing your webview app post-approval

Once your webview app is approved, it’s time to turn up the heat on marketing and spreading its visibility.

You can do this by utilizing various platforms such as online distribution channels, promotional outlets like paid ads or social media networks, which in result will reach more audiences and improve chances of success for the application.

Getting close with user feedbacks along with periodic upgrades are also great methods to retain loyalty from them towards your App Store offering.

Lastly, implement strategies that include optimization within App Stores (ASO), drive engagement through Indexing & notifications via push messages all these together guarantee a successful presence of webview apps amidst competitors!

Summary

Ultimately, to achieve success with a webview app in the App Store, you'll need to meet Apple’s publishing criteria while also providing users an interactive, mobile-first, and easy-to-use experience. Introducing unique native attributes that separate your app from others will enhance its chances of approval.

Finally, having an effective promotion strategy is necessary for long term accomplishment after it enters the store.

New to app publishing? There's more to explore with Median.co

Check out our Publishing Guide for our complete list of recommendations and learn more about our App Store Publishing Service. With our help your app will be approved and live to the Apple App Store in no time!

Frequently asked questions

Can webview apps be published on the Google Play Store?

Indeed, WebView apps can be published on various app marketplaces, including the Google Play Store. However, it's important to note that these apps need to provide additional features that go beyond the standard functionalities typically found in a basic web page. This could include integration with Android features, offline capabilities, or other functionality that goes beyond the capabilities of a standard web browser. Just like with Apple's App Store, the key is to create a rich, app-like user experience.

Does Apple approve all apps?

Before being able to be featured on the App Store, developers must make sure their app meets all of Apple’s criteria and provides an excellent user experience. Apps are subjected to these guidelines prior to approval by Apple, so creators need ensure they comply in order for it to qualify for sale within this store.

How can I ensure my webview app meets Apple's "app-like" experience requirements?

For your WebView app to meet the criteria of an “app-like” experience as required by Apple, you need to ensure web content is tailored for mobile device screen sizes while also implementing strong native navigation, and taking steps to provide an 'app like experience' by removing more web-based features like webpage footers.

What are examples of successful webview apps in the finance, social media, and e-commerce sectors?

There are numerous successful webview apps in these sectors. In the finance sector, apps like Mint and QuickBooks have been successful with end users. In the realm of social media, Facebook and Instagram have effectively used the webview framework. And, in the e-commerce sector, Amazon and eBay have developed successful webview applications that facilitate more transactions with mobile users looking to buy 'on the go.'

What is an App Store publishing service?

An App Store publishing service assists developers in navigating the submission process, ensuring that their apps meet Apple's guidelines, and providing answers on how to develop an app marketing strategy, how to optimize your app, and maintenance post-approval. These services can help with everything from initial app store submission steps to handling rejections and updates, with costs varying based on the level of assistance required.

*DISCLAIMER: This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not exhaustive and may not be relevant for your requirements. While we have obtained and compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. This content is not to be considered professional advice and does not form a professional relationship of any kind between you and GoNative.io LLC or its affiliates. Median.co is the industry-leading end-to-end solution for developing, publishing, and maintaining native mobile apps for iOS and Android powered by web content. When considering any technology vendor we recommend that you conduct detailed research and “read the fine print” before using their services.*
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