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Donations in iPhone apps – one of the few things to be done outside the app

Last week I finished the app for Florence’s mayor Matteo Renzi. I personally like him and he will be running to be prime minister. I’m happy to provide help.

I uploaded the app to iTunes Connect and this morning it went in review.

Unfortunately it was rejected. By now I’ve submitted tons of apps therefore was quite surprised to see the that email form the Apple Review Team and was immediately curious to find out why: there’s always something to learn from them! Being able to play Apple’s game is an art… ;)

Turns out there was an issue with the donations button. It was set up to leverage the server API to allow users to make donations to the campaign but Apple didn’t like this. Donations may not be implemented in iPhone apps. The only thing you can do is include an external link that kicks you out of the app.

Apple recognises that is awful from a user experience point of view but I guess the potential liability when dealing with this is way too big to bare.

It’s funny when you think about how many rejections are do to pulling external content or things not being local for a privacy/security issue and now they will not allow it.

Here is the full email I received:

21.2: The collection of donations must be done via a web site in Safari or an SMS

Apple

Nov 5, 2012 03:15 PM

21.2

We found that your app includes the ability to collect donations within the app, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines

While donations may not be taken within an application, it is possible to provide a donation link to your web site. This link should launch Safari to collect the donation. You could also add a link to send an SMS to make the donation.

We understand that directing your user outside of your app may not be the user experience you prefer to offer your users. However it is a common experience in a variety of iOS apps. And in the case of collecting donations for charities – regardless of whether the donations are in cash or another form – it is also the required user experience.

We encourage you to make the necessary changes to your app and resubmit it for review.

 

For pointers on other elements to keep in mind to avoid rejection, you can check out this, thisthis, or this (included in this book).

 

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2 Comments

  1. Posted November 22, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Hi! The same thing happened to me. I used a web view and Apple sent me the EXACT same rejection letter you received! Thanks for answering my post in the iTunes Developer Forum today! I’m resubmitting tomorrow with the correction.

    Have a great day! Check out my app when it goes live….hopefully by Monday!:

    http://Www.FunIsTheAnswer.com/sweater-izer

    Thanks!
    Trisha

    • Posted November 23, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      I made the donation link mobile safari and app was approved immediately.
      App looks fun! Although website could benefit from some “refreshing”… ;)