Apple recently caused some confusion among developers after some of them were notified that their apps could be removed from the App Store. In its emails to developers, Apple explained that apps that had not received an update in a “significant amount of time” would need to be updated within 30 days, otherwise the company would remove them from the App Store.
The company has since clarified its stance regarding outdated apps in a press release published last week (via Ars Technica), and it’s giving developers a little relief. First of all, the company said that it has removed almost 2.8 million apps from the App Store since 2016, which is when Apple launched a process to “remove apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines or are outdated.”
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Apple says that this “App Store Improvements process” has improved discoverability, security, privacy, and user experience on the App Store. According to the company, it’s using two criteria for identifying apps that could face a possible removal from the App Store:
The developers of apps meeting these two criteria will receive an email from Apple warning them that their app is outdated and could be removed from the App Store, but developers can still appeal. Previously, Apple was only giving 30 days to developers to respond to removal notice and update their apps, but the company has now bumped this delay to 90 days. “Apps that are removed will continue to function as normal for users who have already downloaded the app on their device,” the company also said.
Apple is right to believe that removing outdated apps on its App Store can lead to a better user experience, and other app stores like the Microsoft Store on Windows PCs probably need some house cleaning as well. However, is it really realistic to expect small developers to regularly update apps that work just fine? And is it also fair to remove perfectly working apps that get very few downloads? Let us know what you think in the comments below.