Rejected Again: Apple’s Parental Gate

Although almost every one of the Blindfold Racer players is older than 13, when we originally submitted the game, we set it to be featured in a child-appropriate category. We were rejected once when we did that because we did not have a COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) compliance page on the website; we added the compliance page, and the app was accepted.

Our newest version was just rejected, because now Apple checks to see that if you allow any in-app purchases, or let the app access an external website, then you must perform a parental gateway check. They didn’t require this in the prior versions of Blindfold Racer.

A parental gateway is a screen that asks a question that only a parent could answer. Apple’s examples include questions such as “what is five times five”, and “drag the triangle into the square”. It needs to be a question that’s more complex than children in the app’s age group can answer.

Our first response to Apple was to remove it from being featured in the child-appropriate category. Apple said that’s nice, but since this upgrade will be given automatically to anyone who had previously downloaded the app, there may be children who get the upgrade, and it still needs to include a parental gateway.

Our second response to Apple was to say that the version we submitted for approval one week ago no longer includes any in-app purchase (we originally thought to include an in-app purchase, but haven’t done so yet). It also only lets you get to either SAFARI (to visit AppleVis or this blog) or TWITTER (to follow us). Both of those apps could be accessed by a child without our app, and an be restricted by a parent, so a parental gateway should not be required.

I patiently await their answer. Answers can take from an hour to several days.

Update several hours later: Apple wouldn’t budge. We added a parental gate, tested it in voice-over mode, and resubmitted the game.

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