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Apple Enforcing Emoji Guidelines for App Developers

Feb 8, 2018
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We have now learned Apple is now enforcing emoji guidelines. We have seen reports from developers getting rejected on Apple’s App Store recently. These emoji guidelines that Apple put into place have led to many app developers being rejected. The rejection is due to the emojis being used in a non-keyboard situation.

So essentially, if an app is using an emoji within the interface but the user did not type it into the keyboard, those apps are going to be rejected. Apple said these apps are not complying with the emoji guidelines. If you have an iOS device, you might want to read on to learn about how your favorite iOS apps could be affected.

Emoji Guidelines Now Being Enforced by Apple

The app developers have been getting a rude awakening in the past few weeks with the emoji guidelines now being enforced. It has led to various apps being rejected during the app review process. Apple is rejecting apps that are using the emoji outside of the keyboard situations, such as those being used in the user interface. There are Apple Emoji imagery guidelines that were trademarked by Apple. The app developers have to follow these guidelines.

A lot of app developers are trying to figure out what all of these rules mean. Some of them are pretty new rules that were just changed. One app developer, Eddie Lee, had an issue because a loud cry face emoji and alien emoji. These were used within the user interface. Lee ended up removing all of the emojis from his app. The reviewers from Apple ended up accepting the app. Other developers also have had issues, inclouding GitHawk. Apple rejected this app due to using emoji as part of media in sections of the app. Once those emojis outside of the keyboard were removed, the app was also then accepted by Apple.

Emoji Guidelines Yet Another Inconsistency App Developers Face

There is quite a bit of inconsistency when it comes to these emoji guidelines and how the review process works in Apple. A lot of popular apps have had problems too, including the emoji friend scores feature in Snapchat. With the recent updates, it appears that there has not really been an issue, although there is uncertainty with this.

Push notifications that use emojis and chatbot app responses are also unknowns at this point. When you think about who this could impact the most, it appears that the small app developers are likely going to be hit the hardest. This is because for small app developers, they now have to choose how to work within the emoji guidelines. That means leaving the user interface blank, create icons themselves, or use the licensed emojis by embedding them.

Emoji Guidelines & Review Processes Create Confusion

When it comes to the larger app developers, they have the money and resources to create their own icon sets or emojis. The bigger developers also have the money to get the license the existing Apple emojis. If the app is big enough, like Snapchat, we also might see Apple turning a blind eye to the violations and not enforcing the rules for these super popular big apps.

Another issue here is that Apple seems to always be changing and updating the App Store Review Guidelines. The rules often times end up causing issues for people. This is true especially when the rules are changed quietly. Other times, the old rules are being enforced that never were before. Hopefully, Apple will find a way to allow apps time to adjust to the emoji guidelines. The company needs to create a more unified way to get this information to developers when changes happen.