Apple App Store appears to largely remove outdated apps

Apple can crack down on apps that no longer receive updates. In email with screenshot sent to affected developers, titled “App Improvement Notice”, Apple warns that it will remove apps from the App Store that have not been “updated for a significant time” and gives developers just 30 days to update them. up to date.

“You can keep this app available for new users to experience and download from the App Store by submitting an update for review in 30 days,” Apple wrote in the email. “If no update is submitted within 30 days, the app will be removed from sale.” While Apple will remove outdated apps from the App Store, all previously downloaded apps will remain on users’ devices.

A number of app makers, like Protopop Games developer Robert Kabwe, have expressed concerns about the change. Kabwe said on Twitter that Apple is threatening to remove its fully functional game, Motivoto, because it hasn’t been updated since March 2019.

Meanwhile, Kosta Eleftheriou, developer of the FlickType Apple Watch keyboard, said apple removed a version of its app specifically designed for the visually impaired because it hasn’t been updated in two years. As Eleftheriou points out in his tweet, the once super popular pocket god The app still remains on the App Store even though it received its last update in 2015. Developer Emilia Lazer-Walker also reported that Apple is removing “a few” of its old games from the App Store. Many other developers share the same experience, noting that they simply haven’t had time to update their apps.

At Apple App Store Improvements Page, the company says, “We implement an ongoing process of app evaluation, removing apps that no longer work as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated.” There’s no timestamp on the page, so it’s not immediately clear when Apple last posted or updated the message. Apple did not immediately respond to The edgerequest for comment.

In 2016, Apple announced that it would start removing discontinued apps from the App Store. At the time, he also warned developers that they would have 30 days to update their app before it was taken down. That said, it’s unclear if Apple has continuously enforced this rule over the years, or if it’s recently started doing a broader sweep. Apple also doesn’t make it clear what it considers “deprecated,” whether that’s based on how long it’s been since an app was last updated or whether it’s compatibility with the most recent version of iOS.

Reviews of this policy argue that mobile apps should remain available regardless of age, just as older video games remain playable on consoles. Others say politics is unnecessarily harsh on developers, and claim Apple does not fully respect the work done in indie games.

Earlier this month, the Google Play Store also announced that it would start limiting the visibility of apps that “do not target an API level within two years of the last major release of Android.” Android developers have until November 1, 2022 to update their apps, but also have the option to request a six-month extension if they cannot meet the deadline. With both major app stores cracking down on old apps, this could leave some developers, especially indie studios, struggling to keep up.

Lance B. Holton