iOS Apps with Dropbox Integration Running Afoul of Apple's App Store Rules

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The Next Web points to a recent thread in the Dropbox support forums revealing that a number of developers have been seeing their iOS apps with Dropbox integration being rejected by Apple. The apps have been rejected because users without the Dropbox iOS app installed on their devices who attempted to set up Dropbox integration were being redirected to a webpage where users could sign up for the service and purchase additional storage space.

That functionality runs afoul of Apple's review guidelines, which do not allow signups for paid services other than those available through Apple's In App Purchase to be accessible directly from the app. The rule makes it more difficult for creators of subscription and other paid content to avoid Apple's 30% cut of In App Purchases.




As noted by MacStories, the Rule 11.13 Apple is citing in rejecting these application is not new, but developers running the Dropbox SDK version 1.2.1 which offered a way for users to get to paid signup pages were just recently beginning to experience issues with App Store review. As cited in one rejection notice sent to a developer:
11.13

We found that your app provides access to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.

Specifically, your app enables to user to create accounts with Dropbox and Google.
For its part, Dropbox has moved quickly to address the issue on an interim basis, rolling out a new SDK version 1.2.2 that eliminates access to both account signups and paid subscription packages directly from apps with Dropbox integration. In terms of a longer-term solution, Dropbox reported to The Verge that it is "working with Apple to come up with a solution that still provides an elegant user experience."

Based on comments from Dropbox representatives in the developer support thread, it appears the company would at a minimum like to have a way for new users to create free Dropbox accounts so that they can be used in association with the Dropbox-enabled apps using the SDK. Dropbox appears to be very willing to make sure users signing up through this mechanism are not provided with a means to sign up for additional paid storage capacity, thereby avoiding the primary Apple's primary objection to mechanism circumventing In App Purchasing.

Article Link: iOS Apps with Dropbox Integration Running Afoul of Apple's App Store Rules
 

gpat

macrumors 6502a
Mar 1, 2011
936
1,174
Italy
This sucks. Dropbox integrated apps are invaluable for those needing productivity outside Apple's walled garden. iFiles and DropVox are only the first two I can think of.
 

haruhiko

macrumors 603
Sep 29, 2009
5,065
2,618
And dropbox is not even in competition with any of the service that Apple provides now.... well they had iDisk but no more.:D
 

Aidoneus

macrumors 6502
Aug 3, 2009
313
0
Good. Developers should be implementing iCloud into their apps, not getting stuck in the past.
 

The Mercurian

macrumors 68020
Mar 17, 2012
2,025
2,273
Some of us don't want icloud.

If I couldn't integrate to my dropbox account via goodreader etc I'd sell my ipad and get an android tablet. Simple as.
 

strausd

macrumors 68030
Jul 11, 2008
2,997
1
Texas
Good. Developers should be implementing iCloud into their apps, not getting stuck in the past.
Dropbox is a much more versatile cloud storage solution than iCloud. I have 20+GB of free storage through referrals and I can store all my most important documents and work files on there no matter what file type they are. It also provides an easy way to share those files. How is that stuck in the past?
 

kevinof

macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2008
716
131
Dublin/London
And how would that help you share documents with your co-workers? Oh yeah they would have to be on icloud as well. Not all businesses choose Apple services because not all Apple services are the best.

Good. Developers should be implementing iCloud into their apps, not getting stuck in the past.
 

ppilone

macrumors 6502
Jan 20, 2008
361
0
And dropbox is not even in competition with any of the service that Apple provides now.... well they had iDisk but no more.:D
This isn't about competing services - this is about allowing users to sign up for dropbox from within the application and bypassing in-app purchasing.
 

KylePowers

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2011
1,688
196
It's Apple getting back at Dropbox for turning down their 800 million dollar offer :p

I really wish Apple and Dropbox could have worked something out. Dropbox is amazing. I literally wish my entire hard drive was Dropbox'd haha

Currently at 13GB though, which isn't too shabby! If I knock out the remaining 23 referrals, I could be up to 24.5GB :cool:
 

d0vr

macrumors 6502a
Feb 24, 2011
603
1
Apple trying to get 30% of everything in the universe is getting tiresome.
You can say that again. It makes it hard to want to develop for iOS. Smart move on Dropboxes behalf though in wanting users to be able to sign up for a free account. After all, they can just upsell later via email if they have a new user with a free account.

Me thinks Apple knows this though... and I'm pretty sure they want the 30% from any upsells...
 

skiphunt

macrumors member
Sep 10, 2002
97
3
So petty of Apple

I can't believe Apple is trying to eliminate Dropbox like this. I'd use iCloud if it wasn't so freakin' buggy.
 
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slnko-v-sieti

macrumors member
Aug 24, 2011
52
0
The issue is the way Dropbox's new SDK handles the authorization of third-party apps: it sends users to a page in Safari where they can grant access. However, that same page also allows new users to create accounts, after which they could drill down through Dropbox's site and upgrade to a paid account.
http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/2/2993027/dropbox-confirms-apple-rejecting-apps-use-sdk

To me, this seems like splitting hairs.

Vendetta against Dropbox? I doubt it, but it's hard not to read it that way when the point seems so trivial. (And when Dropbox's product/service is far better established/more mature than iCloud...)
 

Donz0r

macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2006
901
22
Good. Developers should be implementing iCloud into their apps, not getting stuck in the past.
This isn't about iCloud vs. Dropbox, this is about giving users choice. You can ONLY get apps through the appstore, and they won't post an app if it does A, B, or C - including sign up for dropbox/google drive?

This is in no way good for the consumer.
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/2/2993027/dropbox-confirms-apple-rejecting-apps-use-sdk

To me, this seems like splitting hairs.

Vendetta against Dropbox? I doubt it, but it's hard not to read it that way when the point seems to trivial. (And when Dropbox's product/service is far better established/more mature than iCloud...)
I think the are slipting hairs because it competes against iCloud and Apple knows iCloud sucks compared to all the other offerings. Of the 4 big choices (Skydrive, Google Drive, Dropbox and iCloud) it is by far the worse.

This is just Apple doing it standard game that since it can not compete on a level playing field they cheat.
 

Lennholm

macrumors 6502a
Sep 4, 2010
988
180
I'd love to see some statistic showing the rate of content providers playing along with Apple and giving up 30% vs. the rate of content providers simply removing any references to the external subscription methods.
My bet is the majority is in the latter bunch, everyone loses (Apple included).