Apple revised its App Store guidelines surrounding template apps, and with these revisions in place the company plans to waive the US$99 developer fee for government and nonprofit apps starting in early 2018.
The previous 4.2.6 App Store guideline said:
4.2.6 Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.
The new, revised guideline says:
4.2.6 Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected unless they are submitted directly by the provider of the app’s content. These services should not submit apps on behalf of their clients and should offer tools that let their clients create customized, innovative apps that provide unique customer experiences.
Another acceptable option for template providers is to create a single binary to host all client content in an aggregated or “picker” model, for example as a restaurant finder app with separate customized entries or pages for each client restaurant, or as an event app with separate entries for each client event.
Basically, Apple is saying that it’s okay for small businesses and organizations to use app templating services. However, Apple wants each business to submit the app; the app template services shouldn’t be the ones to publish them.
To make the transition easier, Apple will waive the US$99 iOS developer fee for government and nonprofit app developers. It’s not just about keeping a high standard of app quality. A template service uploading thousands of apps at once under a single developer account could cause the App Store to crash.
Apple gave companies a January 1, 2018 deadline to comply with the new guideline. After that date, the App Store Review team will start rejecting apps that are published by an app template company.