A new blog post from iOS Developer Melissa Chan of This Century Software indicates that Apple is tightening its policy on the number of iMessage sticker packs that individual developers will be permitted to publish in the App Store. Chan, who develops a large number of popular iMessage sticker packs, many of which have been prominently featured by Apple, began having her sticker packs rejected by Apple back in May under section 4.3 of the App Store Review Guidelines, which deals with “spam” apps in categories that have been “saturated.” When Chan managed to get in touch with Apple, she was informed that this was a “global policy decision” on the company’s part, with the suggestion that Apple is trying to push developers toward creating larger “container” apps for iMessage stickers, where individual sticker packs would be sold via in-app purchase. However, Chan notes that despite this seeming policy shift, Apple’s Editorial team is taking the “opposite stance” in continuing to feature the very types of small niche sticker packs that Apple is now trying to discourage developers from creating.
To address the issue, Chan created a new sticker container app called OMGmoji to bundle her many collections of stickers, noting that she had a struggle with the App Store review process involving “many misunderstandings over many weeks” before her new app made it onto the store. Chan also emphasizes in her blog post that her sticker packs are entirely unique, with “no duplication or even re-skinning involved,” and that the policy decision appears to be more about the proliferation of many sticker packs from individual developers rather than any concerns about their uniqueness. Chan also notes some concerns from a developer point of view as to whether there will be a place for the large sticker containers that Apple is now pushing developers toward to get the same type of featured coverage in the App Store in light of the sheer volume of smaller individual sticker packs that are a better fit for focused collections of stickers that work around themes.