Apple has made some changes to the way it handles content ratings in the App Store, as outlined in an email (included below) sent to developers today. These ratings aren’t the five-star reviews that users assign apps, but the age-based restrictions assigned to each app based on the type of content in the app. While most apps are rated 4+ (the lowest), some that contain violent or potentially offensive content may have higher ratings (as seen above).

Starting today, developers will be able to assign a few new content descriptions to their apps in order to help better determine what age group the software is appropriate for. These new descriptions include “Medical/Treatment Information, Gambling and Contests, and Unrestricted Web Access.” That last one is good news for many developers previously forced to use a 17+ rating just because their app included a web browser that could be used to accesss anything on the web.

New market-specific changes have also been made in Brazil, Korea, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia to comply with various laws governing restricted content in each country. In Brazil specifically, an entirely new rating system is being applied solely to games. These new ratings will appear alongside the current ratings already in place in the App Store listing.

Developers can log into the Apple Developer Center to manage their apps and ratings. The full email to developers is included below:

Dear [name],

There have been several recent changes that may impact the content rating of your apps. These changes give users more information about your apps and help ensure legal compliance.

New App Content Descriptions
You can now use the following descriptions: Medical/Treatment Information, Gambling and Contests, and Unrestricted Web Access (for apps that permit navigating and viewing web pages, for example with an embedded browser).

Update to Territory-Specific Restrictions Based on Rating
Territory-specific restrictions in the Korea, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia App Stores have changed. You can see the current rating and territory restrictions for your apps in Manage Your Apps on iTunes Connect.

New Rating System for the Brazil App Store
The Brazil App Store now issues a Brazil-specific rating for games to ensure compliance with local regulations. The Brazil-specific rating is automatically generated from your existing content description on iTunes Connect and will appear next to the existing rating information displayed on your app’s page in the App Store.

To learn more about app ratings, see the iTunes Connect Developer Guide.

If you have any questions about these changes, contact us.


The App Store team

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4 Responses to “Apple updates App Store content ratings system with new descriptions and market-specific ratings”

  1. Do you know what the difference between “ Gambling and Contests” and “simulated gambling”?
    I went through the new version of iTunes Connect Developer Guide and found
    “Gambling and Contests “ is added in the 17+ category.
    However, it also has “simulated gambling” in the 12+ category.
    (old version also had “simulated gambling” in the 12+ category)
    Does this mean Apple allowed a new category (Gambling and Contests) of apps to be released?
    If so, what kind of apps are involved in Gambling and Contests?

    As I am not a native English speaker, so particular words are very confusing for me.


    • Simulated gambling is when you have an in app mini game where people gamble with imaginary points/money, like having a blackjack mini game where you play with in game money. Gambling and Contests are when there are real life prizes or money involved. Ths is how I understood it.


    • I’m not 100% sure but I’d say “Gambling and Contests” is related to real money, where you can win real prices and so on. “Simulated Gambling” sounds like games where you can do the same, but only for fun, without the possibility to use real money.

      By the way: Can you tell me, what “Medical/Treatment Information” means?