Apple App Store appears to be extensively removing outdated apps

Apple may be cracking down on apps that no longer receive updates. In an email with screenshot sent to affected developers, titled “App Enhancement Notice,” Apple warns that it will remove apps from the App Store that haven’t been “updated in a significant period of time” and gives developers only 30 days to update them.

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 “If no update is submitted within 30 days, the app will be withdrawn from sale.” While Apple will remove outdated apps from the App Store, previously downloaded apps will remain on users’ devices.

Several app makers, such as Protopop Games developer Robert Kabwe, have raised concerns about the change. Kabwe says on Twitter that Apple is threatening to remove Motivoto, its fully functional game, because it hasn’t been updated since March 2019.

Meanwhile, Kosta Eleftheriou, the developer of the Apple Watch FlickType keyboard, says apple removed a version of its app made specifically for the visually impaired because it hasn’t been updated in two years. As Eleftheriou points out in her tweet, the once superpopular pocket god The app still remains on the App Store despite receiving its last update in 2015. Developer Emilia Lazer-Walker also reported that Apple is removing “some” of its older games from the App Store. Various other developers share the same experience, pointing out that they just haven’t had time to update their apps.

On Apple’s app store improvements page, the company says: “We’re implementing an ongoing app evaluation process, removing apps that no longer work as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are out of date.” “. There’s no timestamp on the page, so it’s not immediately clear when Apple last published or updated the post. Apple did not immediately respond to the edgecomment request.

In 2016, Apple said it would begin removing abandoned 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 removed. That said, it’s unclear if Apple has been enforcing this rule continuously over the years or if it recently started doing a broader sweep. Apple also doesn’t clearly describe what it considers “out of date,” whether it’s based on how long it’s been since an app was last updated or whether it’s compatibility with the latest version of iOS.

critics of this policy argue that mobile applications should remain available regardless of their age, just as old video games can be played on consoles. others say politics is unnecessarily harsh on developers, and claim Apple doesn’t fully respect the work that goes into indie games.

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

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