Apple says dictionary App only for adults

Apple's App Store gets heavy handed on a dictionary App
Apple's App Store gets heavy handed on a dictionary App

A dictionary application submitted to Apple's App Store was rejected multiple times for containing swear words, and was only allowed to be listed when it was given a 17+ age rating.

But that was after the swear words in question from the Ninjawords App were removed, after months of to-ing and fro-ing with Apple.

Phil Crosby, from the development team Matchstick Software, told Daring Fireball the application, which only offered words found in standard English dictionaries, was submitted for the App Store in May this year and was rejected numerous times for containing swear words.

"We were rejected for objectionable content. They provided screenshots of the words 'sh*t' and 'f*ck' showing up in our dictionary's search results," Crosby said.

"What's interesting is that we spent a good deal of time making it so that you must type vulgar words in their entirety, and only then will we show you suggestions in the search results.

Suggestive typing

"For instance, if you type 'fuc', you will not see 'f*ck' as a suggestion. This is in contrast to all other dictionaries we're aware of on the App Store (including's application), which will show you 'f*ck' in the search results for 'fuc', 'motherf*cker' for 'mother', etc."

Even innocent words like 'snatch' and 'screw' weren't allowed, according to Crosby, who accused Apple of being too heavy handed over its acceptance process.

Crosby then says Apple offered to let Matchstick re-submit Ninjawords once the parental controls feature had been added.

The company decided to accept the 17+ rating as well as removing all the swearwords, in order to appear on the App Store. Even then Apple apparently tried to make Matchstick resubmit the application before considering it again, although the developers finally prevailed and in July it appeared on the store.

Via Daring Fireball

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.