Apple Forces Overcast App Developer to Remove Links to Other Podcast Apps

I’ve been using Overcast to listen to podcasts on my iPhone since it was released. It’s a great app, with some really good features. (Read my review.)

And developer Marco Arment did something nice in the app: he had links to other podcast apps in the Settings screen. So if you didn’t like Overcast, you could check out one of a half-dozen other apps. And the links appeared in random order, so none of the apps was always first in the list.

There was an update today to Overcast, and, surprisingly, Apple forced Arment to remove those links to other apps:

Screen Shot 2015 01 18 at 1 40 39 PM

This is surprising. I don’t see why Apple would not allow a developer to link to other apps; I’m pretty sure I’ve seen apps that try and get you to buy other apps by the same developer. The only difference here is that Arment was helping you find the best podcast app for you by sharing links to apps that aren’t his.

Sigh. More oddity from Apple’s app approval team…

Update: It turns out that Arment broke rule 2.25 of the App Store Review Guidelines, which says:

“Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected.”

It’s surprising that the app was accepted in the past, through several updates, with this feature. Again, this underscores the arbitrary nature of the App Store review process.