Former Apple Engineer Reveals the Hardships of Being an App Reviewer

Posted July 3, 2012 at 5:59pm by iClarified | Please help us and submit a translation by clicking here | 10843 views

Mike Lee, a former senior engineer at Apple who was part of the Worldwide Developer Relations team, says being an app reviewer is lousy work in an interview with Business Insider.

"People have this idea that there are 100 people in India doing app reviews," Lee tells Business Insider. "It's just people in a building at Apple, and like every other part of Apple, they can't get enough really good people. Apple will not compromise the quality of its teams to fill it in. I promise you its a lot smaller than you imagine."

Lee says that reviewers have got to go through a ton of garbage including numerous app submissions featuring male genitalia.

"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*cks. 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*cks."

According to Lee, this is why Apple's censorship policy is so strict. It's to expedite the review process.

"The only way to deal with it is to set the bar so far away from d*cks so that even a picture of a cucumber gets blocked by accident," he says. "Because if you don't, you have people spending hours and hours of conversation on whether something is a pubic hair. It's a huge waste of time."

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pkmaximum - July 4, 2012 at 6:37am
I'm not trying to defend Apple here, but how can you look at Apple's procedures and huge success rate and say that it's a waste of time?
Ahmad - July 19, 2012 at 10:03am
The only reason I can see for the dilsekis and so few likes even though you have 36k views, is your presentation is not polished. The mic is weak so your voice does not carry very well, and you don't speak with authority about the product. Take a look at professional reviews, good examples to check out is any video game review from IGN. You have to have confidence in your voice or people listening will tune out.
Lucas - July 3, 2012 at 11:30pm
I love how the anti-Apple Fanboys love to latch on ANY excuse to hate...trying reading the whole thing before you put words into people's mouths!
Pineapple - July 3, 2012 at 10:35pm
I think there may be a same dungeon set up at Google to function similarly, though at different parameters. Whether they spend more $ to filter is beyond my imagination. One thinh is clear, iphone apps out number Android's by a large margin so the work is more.
Phunsuk Wangdu - July 3, 2012 at 7:40pm
I think Mike Lee is a DICK himself if he thinks that quality work happens only in US @ Apple HO and all the people working in India do not confirm to the quality standards. Listen you DICK! There are more Indian engineers and QA people churning out Quality code than your small brain can ever comprehend. Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-why-it-really-sucks-to-be-an-app-reviewer-for-apple-2012-7#ixzz1zaei8VGz
MrEdofCourse - July 3, 2012 at 9:03pm
Phunsuk, You're putting words into Mike's mouth. He just said that people *think* Apple outsources this to 100 people in India, but instead it's a much smaller number of Apple internal people. I know other situations at Apple dealing with huge volumes of QA submissions where it was literally only 2 people. I wouldn't be surprised if it was closer to 2 for apps than it was to 100. However, what makes this work, as Mike says, is that they have very strict standards so it's easier to just *boom* deny apps. And, they fact that they are internal people means that the decision process is going to be much more aligned with what Apple wants. If outsourced, there would be a whole decision tree and check list process for each app, with each new untested case having to be diverted up the chain and then not only responded to, but put into the decision tree and check lists. This doesn't work nearly as well as having a few people who can do the decision process in their head because they have standards aligned with corporate, and are also fully immersed in the culture as well as subtle nuances of what may or may not be acceptable, all while keeping current. In addition to obscenity issues, here's also the security issue of what developers may submit. Apple doesn't what any of that getting into 3rd party hands, not only for the protection of developers, but for protection of what any developer may have found that's not in the public API... which is why Apple doesn't usually state why an app has been rejected. None of this has anything to do with the quality of Indian engineers. Apple would have the same problem outsourcing to Wichita Moms or any US based firm for this.
Katon nu jutsu - July 3, 2012 at 11:04pm
Seems like you don't understand the whole article Phunsuk? Read it again boy.. Like what MrEdofCourse was sayin, it doesn't pertain to any indian engrs. Read and understand the whole.
Mike Lee - July 7, 2012 at 7:46pm
Phunsuk Wangdu, let me repost my reply to your reposted screed. Let me make something very clear: my comment about India had nothing to do with the quality of Indian labor and everything to do with the scale of outsourcing operations in countries like India, and even then, this isn't me expressing my view of things, but explaining a view commonly held by other people. If anything, it says more about Apple's desire to control things by having their own employees in Cupertino doing this work rather than having it outsourced to another company, not because that company won't be good at it or hire good people, but simply because Apple cannot guarantee that to be true. As for the strawman argument that I think good work only happens at Apple or in the US, I neither work at Apple, nor live in the US. All of this anger, these accusations of racism, they make me sad. When I feel compelled to lash out in anger, I look to the example set by the great Indian Mohandas Gandhi. May I suggest you endeavor to do the same?
NoGoodNick - July 3, 2012 at 6:15pm
Android saves lots of time. This don't review dicktis (pun intended, though weak).
Samsung=Shiite - July 3, 2012 at 6:21pm
Android has many a dick and head on their store
NoGoodNick - July 3, 2012 at 7:44pm
I love Android and small penis. I'm a fag
Yarith - July 19, 2012 at 9:25am
hello ive just spend 50m on brine sabre’s i bough em at -5% i think they will rise and make at least 150% what do u think?Well they could potentially go down to about 45k first but cencahs are they will rise eventually.
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