Which App Categories Cannot Be Listed on the App Store? | Shopper App

4. EC + SC (EN).png

12. 品牌會員購物 App.png

Categories such as adult products and tobacco can't be listed on the app store.


This article will cover the following:


1. Google Play

To ensure a safe and respectful environment for users on the platform, Google Play has established a set of standards to define harmful or inappropriate content and has implemented usage prohibitions accordingly.


i. Pornographic content and indecent language

Apps are prohibited from including or promoting pornographic content and indecent language, which includes erotic works or any content or services intended to stimulate sexual desire. Additionally, apps or app content suspected of advocating or soliciting sexual transactions are also banned. Apps must not include or promote content related to sexual exploitation or distribute pornographic content without consent. However, regarding content containing nudity, if it is primarily used for educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic purposes and there is a genuine need for inclusion or promotion, it is not subject to this restriction.


⚠️ Common examples of violations include:

  • Content depicting strong sexual implications, nudity, or suggestive gestures, where the subject is naked, blurred, scantily clad, and/ or wearing inappropriate clothing in public.
  • Depictions, animations, illustrations of sexual acts or suggestive gestures, or pornographic portrayals of body parts.
  • Depictions of adult (sex) toys, sex guides, illegal pornography themes, and sexual (erotic) fetishism, or content featuring such functionalities.
  • Obscene or indecent content, including but not limited to in-store information or applications, possibly containing vulgar language, derogatory terms, explicit text, or adult/ pornographic keywords.


ii. Tobacco products and alcoholic beverages

Apps must not promote the sale of tobacco products (including electronic cigarettes), or encourage illegal or inappropriate alcohol consumption or smoking.


⚠️ Key takeaways:

  • Do not describe/ promote the use or sale of tobacco and alcohol to the underage.
  • Do not imply that smoking can enhance social, sexual, professional, intellectual, or athletic status.
  • Do not depict excessive drinking behavior in a positive light, including describing scenes of excessive drinking, binge drinking, or drinking contests in a likable or humorous manner.
  • Do not promote, advertise, or highlight tobacco products, including displaying advertisements, banners, categories, and links to websites selling tobacco products.
  • Google Play may potentially allow limited sales of tobacco products through specific food/ grocery delivery apps in certain regions, but such apps must implement age restriction measures, such as requiring delivery personnel to check identification upon delivering the parcels.

Click this link to view more comprehensive guidelines on Google Play review standards.


2. App Store

i. Offensive or inappropriate content

The app should not contain offensive, disturbing, repulsive, or vulgar content that is insensitive to others' feelings or induces discomfort. Examples of such content include:

  • Publicizing materials that blatantly promote erotic or pornographic content (defined as "explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities, intended to stimulate sexual arousal rather than for aesthetic value or emotional resonance"), including one-night stand dating apps and others that may contain pornographic content or be used for prostitution, human trafficking, exploitation, and so forth.


ii. Personal damage or loss

If the application may cause personal damage or loss, the App Store may reject it. For example:

  • In the App Store, any apps that encourage the consumption or distribution of tobacco and e-cigarette products, the use of illegal drugs, or excessive alcohol consumption are banned. Apps encouraging the underage to consume any of the aforementioned items will be rejected. Similarly, providing easy access (channels) to the sale of controlled substances (excluding authorized pharmacies and authorized or other lawful cannabis dispensaries) or tobacco is also not permitted.

Click this link to view more comprehensive guidelines on App Store review standards.





Have more questions? Submit a request