Apple has warned developers that it will remove their products from its app stores if they haven’t been updated for three years.
An update to the policy issued last Friday explained that apps that “fail to meet a minimum download threshold, meaning the app has been downloaded at all or very few times over a 12-month period” will also be at risk. to be removed from the App Store. The policy applies to iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.
Apple’s rationale for the stance is that the updated apps “work for the vast majority of users and are compatible with our latest security and privacy innovations.” The company’s announcement proudly states that Apple’s attention to these issues has led it to remove 2.8 million apps from its digital storefronts in the past six years.
Software removed from the App Store will remain on users’ devices and in-app purchases will continue to be available.
App developers that have gathered dust will not be kicked out without warning. Instead, Apple will warn of the impending removal with an email outlining a 90-day window to modify its code, up from a previous 30-day warning.
The iGiant reckons that consumers will appreciate the updates, as in addition to security changes, they may bring support for larger screens.
The line in the sand for app removal adds to Apple’s previous criteria, which affects apps “that no longer work as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are out of date.”
Appeals are still possible.
The policy update comes as Apple comes under fire around the world for operating a monopoly on software sales for iOS devices. Apple argues that the monopoly is benign, because allowing third-party app stores or payment ecosystems would compromise security and could undermine the App Store’s business model.
This latest move suggests that the App Store has a dead weight that Apple considers onerous and, of course, also suboptimal for users for security reasons.
Of course, apps written for macOS could potentially continue as direct downloads without jumping through Apple’s hoops, and doing so without improving security. ®