Note: Not all of these apps mentioned use PhoneGap, but they do use HTML for the UI.
Apple rejects applications that do not because we are making mobile application not mobile website so most importantly user should have
- a user experience that feels like an "app"
- feel "at home" in the iOS ecosystem
- offer a differentiation from a mobile web experience
This applies to all apps, not just apps developed using HTML for the UI.We do not know the exact approval rules beyond the "App Review Guidelines" and "App Store Review Guidelines" provided by Apple. However, it is clear that approval largely comes down to the user experience: how the user interacts with the app and how it "feels" on the device.
The "iOS User Interface Guidelines" from Apple has a large amount of information about what is and what is not acceptable for Apple's ecosystem. In these UI Guidelines, Apple specifically addresses "web-based designs":
"Reconsider Web-Based Designs
If you're coming from the web, you need to make sure that you give people an iOS app experience, not a web experience. Remember, people can visit your website on their iOS-based devices using Safari on iOS."
Be sure to read the full iOS User Interface Guidelines for tips on creating a great “app” experience using HTML and related technologies.
In addition to the iOS User Interface Guidelines, Apple's "App Store Review Guidelines" has additional tips for getting your apps approved. Many relate to HTML-based experiences, including the following tips:
- "2.12: Apps that are not very useful, unique, are simply web sites bundled as Apps, or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected"
- "10.3: Apps that do not use system provided items, such as buttons and icons, correctly and as described in the Apple iOS Human Interface Guidelines may be rejected"
- "10.6: Apple and our customers place a high value on simple, refined, creative, well thought through interfaces. They take more work but are worth it. Apple sets a high bar. If your user interface is complex or less than very good, it may be rejected"
- "12.3: Apps that are simply web clippings, content aggregators, or a collection of links, may be rejected"
If your app is just a web site wrapped in PhoneGap, it will likely get rejected. There are exceptions to this case, but do not expect that wrapping a web site in a web view will get you into the App Store.
If your app requires the user to pinch/zoom/pan to view content (like a web site), it will probably get rejected.
If your app just looks like text on a page with hyperlinks, and has no native-like styles, it will probably get rejected.
App store approval often seems like a blurry line and is particular to the individual apps that are being evaluated. Each app is considered on its own merit, functionality, and user experience. The iOS User Interface Guidelines and App Store Review Guidelines are also living documents – they may change as new OS versions are released or new app designs bring up new issues. Be sure to review the guidelines periodically.
Sources Guidline from Adobe for PhoneGap Application