Getting your Philips Hue app accepted by iOS reviewers

If you’ve put in the time to build a cool Philips Hue app, and made sure to follow every guideline, only to receive a cryptic rejection message from Apple reviewers, here are a few tips to get your app in the store.

If you don’t follow some version of these steps, your app will almost certainly get rejected at first, because Appstore reviewers don’t have access to Philips Hue hardware. This means they can’t effectively test your app.

They’ll tell you your app “offers no meaningful functionality”, or something along those lines.

Workaround:

  • Make sure the app’s description specifies that a Philips Hue bridge is required to use the app
  • In the “Notes” section of the “App Review Information” section, specify that a Philips Hue system is required for the app to work AND include a link to a video of the app pairing with the hardware (push link process), and then controlling Hue lights. It doesn’t have to be a high quality video. They just need to see your app actually doing something.

Keep in mind that once your app is approved, an update may be rejected for the same reason. Just include a new video and make your case in your response to the rejection.

In-App Purchases

If your app includes in-app purchases, make sure you include a video of the purchase process in the notes, and an explanation of what the purchase unlocks. You may even want to submit your first build without in-app purchases, and add them in a follow up update, so you can handle rejections one at a time (that’s what I did with all my apps).
Apple is extremely careful with in-app purchases, as they need to protect their platform from scammers, and since they can’t properly test your app (no Hue hardware), you will get extra attention, and a high chance of rejection. Don’t worry, it’s part of the journey!

Other Apple APIs

If your app includes Siri Shortcuts, include a link to a video in the notes of the shortcut being created, and the shortcut being used.
If you have a widget, and Apple Watch app, or use any other API that Apple is extra protective about, include a video of it functioning as well.

Philips Hue brand name

It’s possible your app name will include “Philips Hue” in its title, and that might be grounds for rejection as well.
As of today (2021/03/24), Signify allows you to use the brand name, IF you follow certain guidelines.
I am not affiliated with Signify, so please do your own research to make sure this is still allowed, as it could change in the future.
Make sure you follow the guidelines, and if you have a doubt, you can contact Signify here.

Specify in the notes that the Philips Hue trademark is used with permission, as per their developer agreement, found here: https://developers.meethue.com/develop/hue-api/

And as you can imagine:

Make sure you comply with Apple’s developer terms and guidelines.
Remember what happened to Fortnite!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s