Windows Dev Center

V1.1 Certification requirements

Applies to Windows only

Document version: 1.1

Document date: February 8, 2012

This document describes the criteria that we use to certify an app as being eligible for listing in the Windows Store.


Thank you for your interest in developing Windows Store apps for Windows. We’re committed to a relationship with you that supports your ambitions and encourages a diverse catalog of high-quality, engaging apps for Windows customers worldwide. We crafted these pre-release certification requirements with those goals in mind and they should help you make choices that enhance your app’s appeal and help speed its listing in the Windows Store.

We review every app before we list it in the Store. If our certification requirements change, we’ll identify the updates to ease your consideration. If you have feedback on the policies, please let us know by commenting in our forum. We will consider every comment.

Your apps are crucial to the experience of hundreds of millions of customers. We can’t wait to see what you create and are thrilled to help deliver your apps to the world.

1. Windows Store apps provide value to the customer

1.1 Your app must offer customers unique, creative value or utility

1.2 Your app must be fully functional when the customer gets it from the Windows Store

The Windows Store offers only fully functional apps to provide customers with the best experience. Anything that might cause our testers to think that your app is not completely finished will cause your app to fail certification.

1.3 Your app’s trial functionality must reasonably resemble its full functionality

A trial can limit access to some of the app’s features, or limit the period of time that the app functions.

1.4 Each app must display only one tile after it is installed

The image on an app’s tile must be reasonably related to the content of the app.

2. Windows Store apps can display ads but are more than just ads or websites

2.1 Your app must not display only ads

If your app includes or displays ads, it must provide additional functionality beyond the ads.

2.2 Ads in your apps must comply with our content policies

Our content policies are described in Section 5. Windows Store apps are appropriate for a global audience.

2.3 Your app must not use its tiles, notifications, app bar, or the swipe-from-edge interaction to display ads

2.4 Your app must allow users to complete primary tasks within the app without redirecting the user to an experience outside of the app’s context

Apps must do more than open a website or mimic the behavior of a website.

Tip  If you only want to provide a link to a website, you don’t need an app because you can pin a link to the Start screen.

2.5 Ads must not execute program code that didn't come from the ad provider

3. Windows Store apps behave predictably

3.1 Your app must use only APIs for Windows Store apps

The APIs for Windows Store apps are described in the Windows Store apps API reference. Your app must also not link to, depend on, or otherwise make use of APIs or Windows OS services outside those described in the Windows Store apps API reference.

3.2 Your app must not stop responding, end unexpectedly, or contain programming errors

Tip  Review the Quality data from your Dashboard to become aware of any problems your app might have so that you can correct them quickly.

3.3 Your app must provide the same user experience on all processor types it supports

If your app has a different user interface or functionality when it runs on different processor types, you must submit a separate app for each processor type and describe the differences in the Description of each app.

3.4 Updates must not decrease your app’s functionality in a way that would be unexpected to a reasonable customer

3.5 Your app must fully support touch interactions as described in the Windows 8 touch language

Your app must provide visual feedback when users touch interactive elements.

Your app must fully support touch input as well as keyboard and mouse input. Customers must also be able to access all of your app's functionality using only touch interactions. The Windows 8 touch language is described in Touch interaction design.

3.6 Your app must use the mechanisms provided by the system for those features that have them

Your app must support a snapped layout. In landscape orientation, your app’s functions must be fully accessible when the app’s display size is 1024 x 768. Your app must remain functional when the customer snaps and unsnaps the app.

Your app must neither programmatically close nor offer UI affordances to close it. Windows 8 Process Lifetime Management closes Windows Store apps automatically.

Your app must suspend and resume to a reasonable state.

3.7 Deleted

See Revision history.

3.8 Your app must meet the basic performance criteria on a low-power computer

  • The app must launch in 5 seconds or less
  • The app must suspend in 2 seconds or less

Low-power computers are described in How to test your app with the Windows App Certification Kit.

4. Windows Store apps put the customer in control

4.1 Your app must obtain opt-in or equivalent consent to publish personal information

Your app can publish a customer’s personal information to a service or other person only after obtaining opt-in consent.

Opt-in consent means the customer gives their express permission for the requested activity, after you have:

a) Described to the customer how the information will be used or shared; and

b) Provided the customer a mechanism through which they can later rescind this permission and opt-out.

If your app publishes a person’s personal information, but that person is not a customer, you must obtain express written consent to publish that personal information, and you must permit the person whose information is shared to withdraw that consent at any time.

Personal information includes all information or data that is associated with an identifiable person. Examples of personal information include: contacts, photos, phone number, SMS or other text communication, images of the computer’s desktop or screen shots, browsing history, and other internet settings.

If your app collects personal information, you must have a Privacy Policy and add a link to it in the Description page to let your customers know how you will safeguard their personal information.

4.2 Your app must respect system settings for notifications and remain functional when they are disabled

This includes the presentation of ads and notifications to the customer, which must also be consistent with the customer’s preferences, whether the notifications are provided by the Windows Push Notification Service or any other service. If a customer disables the notification function, either on an app-specific or a system-wide basis, your app must remain functional.

4.3 Your app must not jeopardize or compromise the security or functionality of the Windows system

The Windows system includes the computer running Windows, any software running on that computer, and any computers or software communicating with that computer. The app must not include, link to, distribute through the Windows Push Notification Service, or otherwise provide an entry point for viruses, malware, or any other malicious software, to access the customer’s Windows system.

4.4 Your app must not be designed or marketed to perform, instruct, or encourage tasks that could cause physical harm to a customer or any other person

We would consider an app that allows for control of a device without human manipulation, or that is for use in emergency or lifesaving situations to violate this requirement.

4.5 Your app must protect customers from unintentional large data transfers over metered networks

When operating over a metered network, your app must offer the customer the option of permitting these transfers without limit or limit audio and video transfers to these data rates:

  • Video streams, which include download-only and two-way video messaging, must use an adaptive bit-rate technology and limit the transfer rate to no more than 256 Kbps.

  • Audio streams, which include voice over IP (VOIP), must limit the data rate to no more than 64KBps.

When the customer’s computer is connected to a metered network, your app must obtain permission from the customer or wait until it has access to an unrestricted network before it performs any synchronization, upload, or download that requires a total transfer larger than Windows.Networking.Connectivity.DataPlanStatus.MaxTransferSizeInMegabytes.

When the customer’s computer is operating outside of its home network or connected to a metered network while over the data limit, your app must obtain permission from the customer before it performs any data transfer that is larger than 1 megabyte.

4.6 Your app must comply with Windows Push Notification Service (WNS) requirements if it uses WNS notifications

If your app uses the Windows Push Notification Service (WNS) to transmit push notifications, it must do so as described in this requirement.

a) You may only use WNS for apps distributed through the Windows Store. Notifications provided through WNS are considered app content and are subject to all Windows Store app policies, including the certification requirements.

b) Your app must be associated with only one Package Security Identifier.

c) You may not obscure or try to disguise the source of any WNS message or Package Security Identifier, or other unique referral identifier.

d) You may not include in a notification any info a customer would reasonably consider to be confidential or sensitive.

e) Your app must not use excessive network capacity or WNS bandwidth, or otherwise unduly burden the Windows system with WNS notifications. For example, using WNS to stream content or transfer files violates this requirement.

4.7 Your app must specify the party responsible for in-app purchase transactions at the time of the transaction or when it collects any payment info from the customer

If your app uses the Windows.ApplicationModel.Store namespace for in-app purchases, this messaging is provided for you. If your app uses any other method for in-app purchases or to collect payments, it must display a message to the customer stating that you are responsible for the transaction and not the Windows Store.

For example, in-app purchases made from apps produced by Contoso that don’t use the Windows Store for the transaction must display a message such as, “This item is available from Contoso” at the time of the transaction.

4.8 If your app collects credit card info or uses a third-party payment processor that collects credit card info, the payment processing must meet the current PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

5. Windows Store apps are appropriate for a global audience

This section describes types of content that are not permitted in the Windows Store apps made available in the Windows Store.

Content means the images, sounds, and text contained in the app, the tiles, notifications, error messages or ads exposed through your app, and anything that’s delivered from a server or that the app connects to. Because Windows and the apps in the Windows Store are used around the world, these requirements will be interpreted and applied in the context of regional and cultural norms.

5.1 Your app must not contain adult content

Apps with a rating over PEGI 16, ESRB MATURE, or that contain content that would warrant such a rating, are not allowed.

5.2 Your app must not contain content that advocates discrimination, hatred, or violence based on membership in a particular racial, ethnic, national, linguistic, religious, or other social group, or based on a person’s gender, age, or sexual orientation

5.3 Your app must not contain content or functionality that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes illegal activity

5.4 Your app must not contain or display content that a reasonable person would consider to be obscene

5.5 Your app must not contain content that is defamatory, libelous or slanderous, or threatening

5.6 Your app must not contain content that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes excessive or irresponsible use of alcohol or tobacco products, drugs or weapons

5.7 Your app must not contain content that encourages, facilitates or glamorizes extreme or gratuitous violence, human rights violations, or the creation or use of weapons against a person or animal in the real world

5.8 Your app must not contain excessive or gratuitous profanity

6. Windows Store apps are easily identified and understood

6.1 Your app must have a unique name

Your app’s name is what we use to list your app in the Windows Store. You must give your app a name that is unique throughout the Windows Store catalog. You can give your app a name in another language; but additional names must also be unique throughout the Store.

Tip   The best way to comply with this requirement is to use the Submit an app option in your Dashboard and reserve a name in the Name screen before you start developing your app.

6.2 Your app must have a Windows age rating, and you must submit third-party ratings for your app if you have them

You must assign a Windows Store age rating that most accurately matches your app. The Age rating page contains more detailed descriptions of the content that is suitable for each Windows Store age rating.

If a rating under any particular rating system is required by law in any country, you must include the rating documentation for that rating system along with your app.

If your app is rated by an optional ratings board that is identified in Rating boards for Windows apps, you must also submit that ratings certificate for the app and provide the appropriate content descriptors.

If your app has any existing third-party rating, the Windows Store age rating for the app must be determined from the following table. If your app has rating board ratings that correspond to different Windows Store age ratings, you must assign the Windows Store age rating that corresponds to the older audience.

Apps with a rating over PEGI 16, ESRB MATURE, or a corresponding rating under other ratings systems, are not allowed.


3+ Suitable for all ages


PEGI 4 in Portugal


A (all ages)

A (all ages)

USK ab 0

7+ Suitable for ages 7 and older


PEGI 6 in Portugal


USK ab 6

12+ Suitable for ages 12 and older



B (12+)


USK ab 12

16+ Suitable for ages 16 and older




C (15+)

D (17+)


USK ab 16

Adult content

Note  Adult content is not allowed in the Store.



Z (18+)


USK ab 18


6.3 You must provide technical support info for your app

We don’t provide customer or technical support for your app. You must provide that support and specify easily discoverable and accurate technical support info for your app in the Support contact info field of the Description.

If your app requires authentication, such as a user or account name and password, you must provide a retrieval mechanism for account info—for example, through a secondary email account or phone support—and respond to customers within 24 hours.

6.4 You must list your app in at least one of the Windows Store's geographic markets

Pick the countries/regions in which you want to list your app on the Selling details page from the Submit a new app option in your Dashboard. This is separate from and unrelated to the languages that your app supports. We will detect the languages that your app supports by reading the Package/Resources element of the app manifest when you upload the app’s package(s).

6.5 You must describe your app in at least one of the languages that the Windows Store supports

You must provide a complete description of your app for your customers in each language that you declare in your app's package. The languages that the Windows Store supports are listed in App languages.

The elements of your app's description, such as screenshots, text, and promotional images must describe your app and not contain additional advertising.

Tip   After you upload your app’s packages, we list the languages that we detect in the Submit an app overview.

6.6 The capabilities you declare must relate to the core functions and value proposition of the app

6.7 If you submit an updated release, you must describe any changes in capabilities since the last release

If you change any features or the content of the app manifest’s Package/Capabilities element, you must describe those changes in the Description of update field of the Description.

6.8 You must provide at least one screenshot of your app

You must provide at least one, but no more than eight, screenshots of your app for each language your app supports. Each screenshot image must:

  • Be .png files, 1366x768 pixels in size.

  • Be appropriate for people as young as 12 years old.

  • Have a caption in the language of the description.

Graphically enhanced screenshots are not allowed, unless they are clearly marked as having been enhanced.

6.9 Your app’s packages must have a correct app manifest

In each of your app’s packages, the app manifest elements must contain the correct values as described in the Package metadata requirements.

6.10 Your app’s packages must be correctly formatted

Your app’s packages must comply with the Package format requirements.

6.11 The app's category and subcategory must correspond to the character or purpose of the app


As these requirements evolve, we’ll note the changes in the revision history here. Stable requirements are critical to your doing your best work, so we aim to ensure the changes we do make are sustainable and continue to protect and enhance your apps.

Thank you again for joining us.

Revision history

DateVersion Summary of changesLink to document
February 8, 20121.1

2.3: REVISED - made more specific

2.4: REVISED - clarified and made more specific

3.5: REVISED - added external reference to Windows 8 Touch Language and clarified

3.6: REVISED - added more specific examples

3.7: DELETED - merged with 3.5

3.8: ADDED – describe performance testing already being performed by the Windows App Certification Kit

4.6: REVISED – removed some of the WNS usage limitations

4.7: ADDED – display identity of party responsible for in-app purchase transactions

4.8: ADDED – payment processing security standard

Throughout: minor typographical and terminology corrections that don’t change the meaning or intent of the document.
Dec. 6, 2011 1.0Initial draft of document for Store Preview.




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