When developers launch an app on the Apple App Store, they can choose where to release it on a country-by-country basis. Each country is located in a specific region, so developers can be as broad or as specific as they need. However, a new bug in the App Store limits this area, causing issues for app developers and their App Store optimization.
App Store error
App developers discovered the error after trying to edit the availability of their apps. When developers go to “Availability” under the “Price and Availability” tools, they can normally select 175 countries. This bug has removed the specific countries and now only makes apps available on a regional basis.
Users on Apple’s developer forums have expressed their concerns. Apps that should only be available in certain countries are now listed as available worldwide. Some developers have stated that if you do not check any regions, the app will change to be available in no regions and removed from sale.
What this means
Being able to select specific countries for an app release is important for App Store Optimization for several reasons. Different countries will have different policies or requirements for their apps that may require specific releases.
This can lead to difficulties in a number of countries due to their specific guidelines. Mobile gaming in China is required with ISBN and government approval. Meanwhile, South Korea has strict app requirements for specific content (such as gambling, alcohol or violence), including applying for a classification number before it can be sold. Both of these countries fall under the “Asia Pacific” region.
If a developer wanted to launch a game in Japan, this bug would not let them distinguish between being live in Japan, China and South Korea (among other territories) where it may not meet the requirements of countries it does not intend to distribute i.
Being able to select specific countries where an app can be released is important for app developers, which makes this error impossible. Until this is resolved, if a developer wants to release an app in the US, they must also launch in Canada, and trying to launch in specific European countries will mean launching across Europe.
What to do
This bug has been reported to Apple, although we do not have an estimate of how long it will take to fix. Developers should check the availability of their apps and see how this has affected them, then keep an eye out for any reports of updates and monitor the calculations to see for any issues this may cause.
From 9/3 at 20.00 PST, some countries can again be selected in the App Store Connect. Some apps may now display previously unselected territories marked as available for distribution – stay tuned for more information.
Want to learn more about App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we help you get your strategy started.