Apple’s new Advertising Identifier Usage and App Updating

We recently released a huge update for Letter Quest, and when we went to submit it to Apple, we were presented with some new popup asking all kinds of questions about an advertising ID, whether or not we were using it, and how we were using it. I read up on it and figured out how to answer everything, and submitted the update like usual. A week later, the update was rejected.

The reason given was that we were using the advertiser ID in our app, but didn’t have any ads. Strange, I could swear that we added AdMob banner ads and Vungle video ads in the most recent update. A quick test in the app and yes, both of those ad types are actually in there (until you buy something in the game, then they’re removed). So what gives?

Turns out that Apple reviewers probably don’t spend a lot of time testing each app update they receive, which makes sense given the volume they must deal with. However, the ads in Letter Quest are quite easy to find. So I assumed that our app actually was okay, and should be approved, so I entered an appeal to the rejection.

Basically I explained in painstaking detail how to find the banner and Vungle ads, how to trigger them, when they show up and under what conditions, etc. Two days later and the update was approved with no changes on our part.

So what should you take away from this? If you use ads in your app (iAd doesn’t count for this purpose), then make sure to include very detailed instructions about how to view/access them, how/when they show up, and what type of ads you have in your app in the review notes when you submit your app or app update. All told this silliness caused us to have an app that finally became available on a Monday afternoon instead of Friday evening, which is brutal, considering we tend to see our highest revenue on weekends. Disappointing, but at least it should never happen again – I’ll be giving tons of info with every app review in the notes from now on!

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