First look at Apple’s App Store ratings system – Your iPhone is safe!

By | June 9, 2009

I somehow missed the flurry of Apple news today, so I was surprised to see the updates to iTunes Connect when I wanted to check up on the number of downloads for my first iPhone App Store application (it was approved late last night). I haven’t seen much talk on the Apple’s App Store ratings, so here’s the tiny bit of details that I’ve seen about this new feature.

Before an iPhone developer can update an existing app or upload a new app, they must select the ratings for their own applications:


iPhone developers are asked to choose the content frequency (None, Infrequent/Mild, and Frequent/Intense) of various types of objectionable content.

I find it very interesting that developers are being asked to provide these details. Presumably the developers themselves would know about any Hot Coffee-eque features to their apps and fess up, right? I assume the game plan is for the employees already swamped with app approvals will be in charge of validating the accuracy of the developer’s own ratings.

App Store Ratings 4+, 9+, 12+, 17+

App Store Ratings

Apple apple appears to have their very own ratings system:

  • 4+, Applications in this category contain no objectionable material.
  • 9+, Applications in this category may contain mild or infrequent occurrences of cartoon, fantasy or realistic violence, and infrequent or mild mature, suggestive, or horror-themed content which may not be suitable for children under the age of 9.
  • 12+, Applications in this category may also contain infrequent mild language, frequent or intense cartoon, fantasy or realistic violence, and mild or infrequent mature or suggestive themes, and simulated gambling which may not be suitable for children under the age of 12.
  • 17+, Applications in this category may also contain frequent and intense offensive language, frequent and intense cartoon, fantasy or realistic violence, frequent and intense mature, horror, and suggestive themes, plus sexual content, nudity, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs which may not be suitable for children under the age of 17.

Interestingly no application will be sold on the App Store that has “Prolonged graphic or sadistic realistic violence” or “Graphic sexual content and nudity” regardless of the frequency or severity. I guess that means we won’t be seeing any porn anytime soon.

Apple also provides a chart showing the app store rating system’s equivalent to the ESRB and PEGI rating systems:

Are these are equivelent?

Are these are equivelent?

Hopefully this will eliminate the controversy surrounding the rejection of apps due to its objectionable content.

More importantly, I hope the ratings system does not delay the approval process anymore.

Enjoy the new iPhone OS 3.0 upgrade in about a week. Since I’m impatient I might finally grab the version already available to developers. If anything is hosed, I’ll be hosed in a about week anyhow.

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