App Review Should Screen Apps for Discrepancies In Device Requirements

I’ve been on vacation for the past few days and I was curious about what was stored on my hotel room keycard. So I downloaded one of those NFC-reading apps, opened it, and was surprised to see a message indicating that my device was incompatible. I re-checked the listing in the App Store and it said that my iPhone was compatible; I also remembered that my 6S does not support the new NFC-reading API in iOS 11.

I looked at a few other NFC-reading apps in the store and they all indicate that my phone is compatible, even though I know it isn’t. It turns out that there is a way for a developers to indicate when the new API is a requirement — it’s just that many developers don’t use it.

I think App Review ought to do a better job of screening apps for discrepancies between what apps say they do and what requirements they need. Dedicated NFC-reading apps that don’t correctly indicate which devices are compatible ought to be rejected, as should apps with similar inconsistencies.