This question about iOS development was closed as off topic.

At its core, this question boiled down the types of applications allowed by a software publisher (in this case the Apple App Store) would accept for publication. The specific rules are most likely detailed in a Developer Agreement that developers would need to agree to abide by.

I think that the types of questions that could be asked about developer agreements are similar in nature to those that have been asked about software licenses. Furthermore, software publishing via channels like the App Store are becoming more common, and developer agreements will be an important topic of interest to many programmers.

I think these types of questions should be permitted (and encouraged) rather than be closed as off topic.

2 Answers 2


While I'm sympathetic to wanting to discuss legal issues here, as legal problems are a large facet of being an independent developer, in general questions that are not about licensing (and generally, that means FOSS licenses like the GPL) are off-topic here for two reasons:

  • Our expertise is not in IP law, contract law, or any other type of law. We would be giving legal advice as laypeople, which is an opportunity for a bag of hurt.

  • Even putting aside the expertise, questions do not provide enough detail about their specific situations to be able to provide accurate legal advice. The ones that do are so specific to the asker's situation, they're too localized.

That is, given the diagram:

Scope diagram

They're hitting the center, "Just You" part, not the blue, "All Programmers" part. There are very few legal questions that are generally applicable to programmers at large: well-known licenses like FOSS licenses are probably the best example of what would be.

But to speak to this specific question, there is exactly one entity that knows what will be accepted, and that's Apple. From the App Store Review Guidelines:

  • We will reject Apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, "I'll know it when I see it". And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.
  • This is a living document, and new apps presenting new questions may result in new rules at any time. Perhaps your app will trigger this.

We're not going to even begin to provide a definitive answer about this: Apple decides for themselves what's going to work. If there's a concern about what they will and won't allow, they need to be asked: not random strangers on the internet who are not in the know.

I know there's a cost associated with joining the iOS Developer Program: I get it. But just like we're not a substitute for a lawyer when someone can't or won't pay for one, we're not a substitute for Apple when someone can't or won't pay the iOS Developer Program fee.


The question cannot be objectively answered because, while Apple reports the guidelines about which applications are accepted, those guidelines are not complete, and could be changed in any moment. Only Apple knows if the application will be rejected.

The question has been closed as off-topic because, I think, the question is about the decision taken from somebody who probably is not a programmer (or who is not necessarily a programmer).

If the question was not closed as off-topic, it could have been closed as:

  • Not constructive: The question could have obtained different answers, each of those would be equally valid, but at the same time it could not be the right answer that can be only given from Apple.
  • Too localized: The fact my application is rejected, doesn't mean a similar application from another developer would be rejected too; vice versa, the fact my application is approved doesn't mean a similar application would be approved too. In other words, the fact my application is approved/rejected is only of my interest, as nobody can use this as prove that their application should be approved too.

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