Apple Says Only Reputable Coronavirus Apps Will Be Accepted on App Store, Expediting Approval Process

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Apple today announced that it is evaluating COVID-19 coronavirus-related apps critically to ensure data sources are reputable and that developers presenting these apps are from recognized entities such as government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions.

Apple says only developers from one of the above types of recognized entities should submit an app related to COVID-19, adding that entertainment or game apps with a COVID-19 theme will not be allowed on the App Store.


Apple adds that recognized entities can request an expedited review of COVID-19 apps here.

Apple also gave a reminder that nonprofit organizations, accredited educational institutions, and government entities that plan to distribute only free apps on the App Store related to COVID-19 can request to have their $99 annual membership fee for the Apple Developer Program waived, if based in an eligible country.

The full announcement:

The App Store should always be a safe and trusted place for users to download apps. Now more than ever that commitment takes on special significance as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities around the world are depending on apps to be credible news sources – helping users understand the latest health innovations, find out where they can get help if needed or provide assistance to their neighbors.

To help fulfill these expectations, we’re evaluating apps critically to ensure data sources are reputable and that developers presenting these apps are from recognized entities such as government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions. Only developers from one of these recognized entities should submit an app related to COVID-19. Entertainment or game apps with COVID-19 as their theme will not be allowed.

We understand the need to get these apps into the hands of customers as soon as possible. We encourage developers that meet this criteria to select “Time-Sensitive Event” on the expedite request form to ensure prioritized review since App Store review may take longer.

If you are developing an app on behalf of a client, please advise your client to add you to the development team of their Apple Developer account. If your client does not yet have an Apple Developer account, they can enroll in the Apple Developer Program. Nonprofit organizations, accredited educational institutions, and government entities that plan to distribute only free apps on the App Store can request to have their annual membership fee waived, if based in an eligible country.

This is one of many measures that Apple is taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.