Due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, the weeks of March 9th and March 16th have changed daily life in America more drastically than anything in recent memory. People are working from home, or in many cases unable to work at all. Social distancing and isolation has led to company closures, jobs lost, projects failed, and travel suspensions. In an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as the spread of misinformation, the Winnona Partners team developed a COVID-19 Prevention Awareness app for the App Store and Google Play. We were eager to launch an app that presented only the most reliable news updates and information directly from the CDC, WHO, and NIH, with links to various sources so you wouldn’t have to fumble between various websites to get the most reliable, up to date information. Unfortunately, our app was rejected by Apple on the grounds that “the seller and company names associated with your app are not from a recognized institution, such as a governmental entity, hospital, insurance company, non-governmental organization, or university.“
The rejection hit hard, especially since we worked on this project that we felt could help educate people pro bono with no monetary incentive. Despite having received an encouraging response by Apple Support and the review team when we asked them if this was something we should create prior to developing the app, in the end the app content was considered too sensitive for release under our developer account.
We understand the need for Apple’s caution in this sensitive time, and that’s why we’re still hopeful for the opportunity to collaborate with a healthcare organization, hospital, NGO, insurance company, or university to resubmit the app for approval. Other independent app developers or companies should also take note of this decision, and find official organizations to collaborate with prior to developing an app related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Based on another response from the Apple review team stating “We look forward to reviewing your resubmitted app” under a different seller name, we’re willing to offer this app to any organization belonging to the entity statuses listed above interested in releasing it. The app is already complete and the submission process should be fast and smooth. If you’re interested in releasing the COVID-19 Prevention Awareness app, please contact us today!