Apple to start removing outdated apps from the App Store
Apple is in the midst of what it calls “App Store improvements,” which includes evaluating the apps currently available on the App Store to ensure they still follow the latest review guidelines, function as expected, and are not outdated. As part of the review, Apple has started notifying developers who haven’t updated their apps recently that failure to do so will result in their apps being pulled from the App Store.
As reported by The Verge, Apple is notifying developers whose apps haven’t been updated in some time that unless a new app update is submitted to the App Store within 30 days of receiving notice from Apple, their apps will be removed from the App Store until they submit an update and it is approved.
“To make it easier for customers to find great apps that fit their needs, we want to ensure that apps available on the App Store are functional and up-to-date,” says Apple on its App Store Improvements webpage. “We are implementing an ongoing process of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated.”
The threat of removal has caused complaints from developers, who argue that certain app categories do not require regular updates and that the new rules will harm indie developers.
Sharing a screenshotted email received from Apple, Protopop Games developer Robert Kabwe said “I feel sick. Apple just sent me an email saying they’re removing my free game Motivoto because its more than 2 years old. It’s part of their App improvement system. This is not cool. Console games from 2000 are still available for sale. This is an unfair barrier to indie devs.”
I feel sick. Apple just sent me an email saying they're removing my free game Motivoto because its more than 2 years old.
It's part of their App improvement system.
This is not cool. Console games from 2000 are still available for sale.
This is an unfair barrier to indie devs. pic.twitter.com/7XNcLfiEcR
— Protopop Games (@protopop) April 23, 2022
Developer Kosta Eleftheriou, who also received the warning from Apple for her app, FlickType Apple Watch keyboard, took to Twitter to share her dissatisfaction with the notice, saying “Games can exist as completed objects! These free projects aren’t suitable for updates or a live service model, they’re finished artworks from years ago.”
.@apple is removing a few of my old games b/c they have “not been updated in a significant amount of time”
Games can exist as completed objects! These free projects aren’t suitable for updates or a live service model, they’re finished artworks from years ago. pic.twitter.com/iflH70j7q4
— emilia ✨ (@lazerwalker) April 23, 2022
The App Store Improvements webpage says apps in all categories on the App Store will be evaluated to make sure they function as expected, follow current review guidelines, and are not outdated. “The App Store team will contact [developers and ask they] make any necessary changes for [their] app to stay on the App Store. However, apps that crash on launch will be removed immediately from the App Store.”