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What It's Like Reviewing Apps For Apple

Working for the most valuable company in the world might sound like the ultimate privilege, but Apple makes no bones about the hard work and sacrifice it expects from its employees. One former employee has spoken candidly about what it’s like to be an iOS app reviewer that could explain Apple’s puritanical censorship policy.

Business Insider has this fascinating interview with Mike Lee, a former engineer at Apple, who says that people tend to underestimate the work involved in reviewing apps submitted to the iTunes App Store. Because Apple only recruits the best people, the team in charge of filtering apps and enforcing Steve Jobs’s “freedom from porn” ideal is seriously understaffed.

Lee says this is a problem because the app reviewers hired for their respective talents are having their time wasted by developers who submit rude apps with the full knowledge it would never get approved. That sounds awful and potentially traumatising. It probably isn’t all that different to being on Chatroulette — for every one normal person there are 50 perverts your eyes cannot unsee.

It’s a very serious problem, trying to filter out things that no one is there to see. Somebody has to sit there and filter out all those d**ks. You can’t let all those d*cks get through. You have to err way on the side of safety. You have to have people sitting there looking at things that may or may not be d*cks all day long. Apple refuses to farm stuff out to massive groups of people. They insist on having actual smart, educated, well-trained people doing the job. So that means they have to have some of their actual employees sifting through a pile of d**ks.

But it’s not totally a manual process. Lee says automated image-recognition software speeds things up, but it also means that genuinely good apps accidentally get tossed out with the junk. So if your app gets rejected for no good reason, you should check your submission for anything that may be mistaken for pornographic material. Maybe start with that icon of a cucumber. [Business Insider]


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