While there hasn’t been an official policy change or new strategy made public, software developers have been noticing dramatically shorter review times when submitting apps through Apple’s approval process on both the iOS and Mac App Stores. Citing data from AppReviewTimes.com, Bloomberg today highlights the positive trend, while noting that iOS App Store review times currently average just two days turnaround time and just one day for the Mac App Store.
Whether or not this is the result of a larger app review team within Apple or a streamlined process on most app submissions is unclear. One visible change to note, however, is an executive shakeup last December. Toward the end of last year, Apple made SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller the point man for the various App Stores including iOS, tvOS, and OS X, taking responsibilities off of SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue.
If there is a notable policy change and enhancement in the process, such news could be stage worthy for Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference next month.
According to Apple’s public App Store Distribution data, 99% of iOS and OS X apps submitted for review are approved within five business days, which is Apple’s turnaround target. AppReviewTimes.com, which uses crowdsourced data from developers, illustrates an improvement in the number of days it takes to approve submissions in recent weeks.
That data is based on 332 submissions to the iOS App Store over the last two weeks, and 41 submissions to the Mac App Store in the same period. That obviously makes up a small percent of total submissions, but it echoes what developers have been saying publicly. In some cases, developers have shared that App Store review times are shorter now than TestFlight beta update submissions; App Store updates hit all users while TestFlight updates are only distributed to explicit testers.
In an effort to control what software goes through its various App Stores, Apple employs a team of reviewers to personally approve every new app submission and software update before reaching customers. While there’s no evidence that this policy has changed, the trend of shorter review times suggests Apple has added more staff to its review team or automated the process in some other area.
For developers, shorter review times mean responding to customer feedback quicker and providing the latest software sooner. For customers, it means actually getting to use new and updated apps closer to when the software is ready.