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