Apple is breaking with holiday tradition: The company announced early last month that its App Store will continue to review developer submissions over the holidays, welcome news for app developers facing their busiest season.
Previously, an app that needed to release a bug fix or a critical update on Black Friday or during the final hours of Christmas shopping couldn’t push a fix for days. This year, from December 23 to 27, App Store Connect service staff will work a reduced schedule, which means updates will take place, but reviews “may take longer to complete,” the company said.
On the surface, this looks like a complete win for app developers and their customers, but one experts we spoke to warned that some developers may run into unintended consequences if they don’t adapt to the recent changes.
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For clarity, we interviewed two people whose agencies help companies with their mobile apps: Wolfpack Digital CEO Georgina Lupu Florian and Appetiser‘s Jamie Shostak, whom we recently interviewed following our survey to identify the best software consultants for startups. For balance, we also spoke to Yasser Bashir, co-founder of software development company Arbisoft.
Florian and Shostak both said they mostly see the change as positive, they told TechCrunch. “This is amazing news for our clients,” said Shostak. But Lupu Florian added a note of caution: “We believe for some companies and developers this can also create difficulties if it’s not understood and managed properly.”
The end of a headache
According to Shostak, Apple’s policy “was definitely a challenge” for their clients to manage around in previous years. Knowing that App Store Connect wouldn’t accept updates or new launches always affected end-of-year planning, he said. “Generally, teams would need to sprint to finish sooner, or plan for smaller updates.”
“Instead of trying to force as many features as possible before the holidays,” said Lupu Florian, “we focused on the most important ones and aimed to finish them first, allocating more time for quality assurance and testing. By doing that, we had more time to solve potential problems before they even got to production.”