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Apple restricts the use of special characters in application descriptions

That Apple usually pays special attention to small details is an undeniable fact. Such a desire for perfectionism has once again become apparent after Cupertino’s updated iTunes publishing rules, restricting the use of special characters in App Store app descriptions; perhaps seeking greater uniformity within the app store, updates submitted by developers must now be edited in plain text.

It’s customary for Apple to update the iTunes publishing standards from time to time. Their goal is usually none other than to provide more accurate and reliable descriptions for applications, movies, TV shows, music, or other content hosted in their online store.

Apple restricts the use of special characters in application descriptions
Apple restricts the use of special characters in application descriptions

A new example of this is that Cupertino’s multinational company will no longer allow developers to submit descriptions of applications containing exclamation marks, check marks, stars, emoticons, smileys and other special characters.

This change was communicated via iTunes Connect, a portal used exclusively by iOS and OS X developers to submit their work and marketing materials to the relevant App Store. Apple Insider also stated that Apple Insiders will now be required to use plain text in submitted updates.

Although the exact date on which this new guideline would start to be applied was initially unknown, thanks to the collaboration of several developers it was confirmed that its entry into force could have been set on April 19th. However, there is still a lot of misinformation on this issue so, in the absence of verification, it is likely that many other characters have been banned.

Why this new standard? The truth is that Apple has not yet pronounced on the restriction of emoticons in descriptions; speculation aside, everything seems to indicate that the measure is intended to achieve greater homogeneity within the App Store.

Right decision or not, the reality is that using non-standard characters – like the mentioned check marks – to draw the attention of users, highlight certain characteristics of applications or identify new features introduced in them, was a widespread custom among many developers, that will inevitably have to go through the hoop from now on.

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