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App Store Connect is the worst web site ever made

March 31 2022 by Jeff Johnson
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App Store Connect is the web site that members of the Apple Developer Program use to manage their App Store apps. I check it daily to see yesterday's sales numbers (live App Store sales numbers are haphazard at best and have stopped working entirely the past week) and to check for new App Store user reviews of my apps. Inexplicably, Apple provides no email notification service for these, so developers have to check manually. The site runs incredibly slowly, with pages taking forever to load — it feels like it's running on ancient hardware — and the user interface is atrocious. But the worst part of App Store Connect is this:

"Remember me", but it doesn't remember me. The checkbox simply doesn't work. Why? Simple answer: App Store Connect uses session cookies, which expire and disappear from your web browser when the current session ends, such as when you quit the browser or close all of the windows. Thus, you have to login anew every time. This is not an April Fools joke, it's real! I'm writing on March 31.

Every other non-Apple web site in the world that I login to remembers me between browser sessions, indeed effectively forever until I logout. That's how it should be, and the simple solution for App Store Connect would be to use permanent cookies, like every other web site, instead of session cookies. The irony is that App Store Connect requires Two Factor Authentication, which means that there's even more security and thus even less reason to expire login cookies.

A related problem is that App Store Connect periodically expires the Two Factor Authentication too, and forces you to go through that process again! (Usually at the most personally inconvenient time, and every Apple device in your home simultaneously makes a startling noise.) This doesn't happen with every session, but Apple tends to prompt you at least once a month. Again, this is unlike every other non-Apple web site in the world, which only prompts you for Two Factor Authentication the first time you login.

Apple has an App Store Connect app in the iOS App Store, but there's no Mac version of the app, so developers are forced to use a web browser on the desktop.

Every member of the Apple Developer Program (except a few exempt non-profit organizations who have submitted the extensive paperwork) pays $99 USD per year, and every developer who accepts payments in the App Store pays Apple a 30% or 15% cut of those payments (the amount depending on subscription status or Small Business Program membership). These payments add up to billions of dollars per year for Apple. I can say with the certainty of experience that Apple is not investing this money in crucial developer services such as App Store Connect. We developers are getting ripped off. And don't even get me started on Apple's nearly worthless "developer support"…

I'm talking about this not just to complain but hopefully to raise a big public stink, get Apple's notice, and prompt them to make the simple change of using permanent cookies instead of session cookies for App Store Connect login, thereby offering some relief to Apple developers who have to use the worst web site ever made, no contest.

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