I own a Netatmo weather station, which I use to monitor the temperature in my garden, and in my office. This weather station uses an iOS app, which can send me notifications, such as when the temperature goes above or below certain thresholds that I set.
On black Friday, I received this notification:
This sort of notification is against Apple’s App Store guidelines; in section 4.5.4, about push notifications, these guidelines say:
4.5.4 Push Notifications must not be required for the app to function, and should not be used for advertising, promotions, or direct marketing purposes or to send sensitive personal or confidential information. Abuse of these services may result in revocation of your privileges.
So I contacted Apple’s iTunes Store support. Here’s what they replied:
Thanks for contacting us. I can certainly understand your concern regarding this issue.
In this case, I would recommend you to contact the app developer as they are the creators if [sic] the app.
I would also like to inform you that, iTunes Store is just a store front where we sell the contents provided by the content provider.
It seems like Apple doesn’t care what an app does; you can probably report any type of violation and they won’t do anything about it. This is quite surprising, given their stringent guidelines for apps. But, hey, too much work, I guess.
Update: I replied to that reply, saying:
So you’re saying that an app that violates your App Store Guidelines won’t have any problem because you don’t care about it?
And I received a reply back:
Thank you for providing this information about an app that may be violating the review guidelines. We take these cases very seriously as we care about our customers and App Store. We have escalated the information you have provided to our App Review team. They will investigate the app using the information you have provided and follow up directly with the developer if the app is in violation to fix the issue. Please understand that we cannot provide you any updates on the investigation as we can only communicate with the developer of the app.
We thank you for the information and if you can provide anymore information to help with the investigation it will be appreciated greatly.
So it seems the first-level support doesn’t care, and that you need to be more forceful to get some action. This said, there is no easy way to report this sort of thing; you have to go to the app’s page and report a problem; and, of course, you can only do this on iOS since there is no longer an App Store in iTunes. I’ll post more info here if I hear anything back.