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Some apps, I've noticed that developers are able to update their software without submitting them to the App Store.

For example, Game of War will occasionally tell you that an update is available and to restart your device. You can then watch the progress bar carefully and see that updates are being pushed to the app.

I'm assuming they are using XML to change certain attributes and their location on the server. That's a guess but I don't know. They are able to make significant feature changes to the game, like adding hyperlinks to map locations, push sales promotions, add certain events etc. These methods don't require compilation, as that would obviously require resubmitting the app.

What is Apple's policy in the developer terms or seasoned advice on how to keep from running afoul of behavior that would get your app pulled from the store?

  • Are you more interested in the technical implementation details or about Apple's policy about in game pushes? – nohillside Mar 15 '14 at 9:17
  • I'm interested in technical details regarding how apps are able to achieve this. The question about apple's policies was more of a secondary issue. More interested in the technologies. – ctilley79 Mar 15 '14 at 13:41
  • Thanks for the clarification. Software development questions are off-topic here, StackOverflow is better suited for this. The question needs some rework though to get good answers there, so please check the Help Center over there before posting. – nohillside Mar 15 '14 at 13:44
  • I asked the same question elsewhere. Marked off topic on stack because it doesn't fit a specific code issue, and was marked off topic on programmers.stackexchange as well. It's getting really hard to ask questions because the self moderation goes to the extreme. Thanks anyways – ctilley79 Mar 15 '14 at 13:47
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    @ctilley79 We should discuss the on-topic and off-topic in Ask Different Meta. Briefly, how to code is off-topic. What are Apple's policies is topical. (although many will simply point you to the relevant Developer docs and not engage in NDA level details here). I'll re-open this provisionally, but would you ask a question on Meta so before editing in the "how to accomplish"? I'd like to assist with the SO mods to get your other question reopened or that aspect hosted there. – bmike Mar 15 '14 at 16:54
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I see a lot of games do this and I believe it's OK.

Think of a game as being 2 pieces: the app (program) and the data it runs on. Apps are generally allowed to download and store data.

If an update is merely adding new zones or items represented as various files or tables (with no new programmatic functionality needed), then it only needs to request new static data.

However: game engine updates would require a change to the app and therefore an update via the App Store.

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