After a long and arduous battle* with Apple's review team, we're happy to finally announce the launch of Checketry for iOS! The app has been ready for a while now but we've been having to make minor changes and waiting for reviews for the past few months. 🎉

First: features and release notes.

Before we go into detail about the process of launching an app with Apple, we wanted to talk about the features Checketry for iOS has at launch.

Checketry for iOS is a companion app for the download manager app on desktop and has many of the same features:

  • Track download progress from desktop: you can view how your downloads are doing on your iOS and see relevant information like time remaining, file size and internet speed.
  • Manage download progress: you can also manage the downloads by pausing, resuming and cancelling (usually deletes the download) desktop downloads from iOS.
  • Shut-down timer: set a timer for your computer to turn off after downloads are done. Great if you don't like your computer running long after downloads are finished.
  • Toggle sleep settings: you can also toggle your sleep settings if you forgot to change them if you left you're computer running. This is super useful if you don't want your computer to turn off during a download.
  • Schedule downloads: currently for Steam only - you can start your Steam downloads from your mobile phone while you are away from your device.

If you have any suggestions for features, we would love to hear them! You can submit feedback here.

The long process of launching the app.

*We don't mean any disrespect to Apple but the review process could have been a bit more transparent.

As mentioned earlier, we had a long wait for actually getting the app on the App Store and this post isn't meant to be a complaint but more of a guide for other developers. The lesson we learnt was that Apple takes its App Store very seriously and they are very picky about what types of apps they allow, so you should really read the guidelines carefully and then base your app concept and design on them.

That being said some things are left a little vague. Apple doesn't want some types of apps on their store but they aren't 100% clear on this in the guidelines. What we didn't know: Apple doesn't really like 'download managers' mainly the ones that allow music and video downloads. As per their guidelines, under section 5.2.3;

Audio/Video Downloading: Apps should not facilitate illegal file sharing or include the ability to save, convert, or download media from third party sources (e.g. Apple Music, YouTube, SoundCloud, Vimeo, etc.) without explicit authorization from those sources. Streaming of audio/video content may also violate Terms of Use, so be sure to check before your app accesses those services. Documentation must be provided upon request.
History of our app submissions.

Originally we had 'download manager' in our app name so we changed it to 'file manager' which is ok (even though they are kinda the same thing). But Apple never told us this explicitly, instead they kept rejecting us citing guideline 5.2.3 and stating 'Your app falls into a category of apps that is often used for illegal file sharing.'. Even though the iOS version of Checketry doesn't download anything, rather it just monitors the downloads on a second device. This process of vague rejections resulted in trial and error campaign of removing/changing things in the metadata, and even our site, which they also combed through thoroughly. If you have a marketing website and link it in the app or mention it in your metadata, Apple will consider it in the review. In our case, we had mentions of torrenting services on our website, which included torrent program icons. Every change to the app and site would result in a minimum week wait to get another review and this built up over the last 4 months.

Other issues we had, such as in app purchases or metadata not being up to scratch, Apple would clearly label this and provide us with screenshots with the problem. But with the 5.2.3 guideline, we would just get the same; 'your app falls into a category of apps that is often used for illegal file sharing.', with no extra steps or even screenshots of the issue. We would have to schedule a call with Apple to get a verbal explanation of the issue. Being in Australia and Apple being in California, the timezone difference made this quite annoying.

But, like I said, this isn't written out of spite. I just wish in the future Apple could be more transparent with their review process by providing more detail in their responses and adding screenshots where applicable. It makes it easier for both developers and Apple as it reduces the need for changes based on guessing and annoying phone conversations at weird hours of the day.

In the end, we are happy to have launched the app and appreciate the fact that we can actually get people to download it. We will keep updating this blog with company related news, other topics and patch notes for the app. 🌴