A new analysis of the iOS App Store and Google Play Store by Pixalate research company reveals that more than 1.5 million “abandoned apps” exist in both digital markets, collectively. Pixalate defines any app which has not been updated in over two years as “abandoned” and an app that has not been updated in more than five years as “super abandoned”.
Last month, Apple announced that it would be removing apps, across categories, which have not been updated for “a significant amount of time” from the iOS App Store. The company was notifying developers of abandoned apps via emails to update them within 30 days or they will be removed. Apple explained that cleaning the App Store is part of getting rid of apps that no longer function as intended, are outdated, and are not in compliance with current review guidelines.
iOS App Store has more “super abandoned” apps than Google Play Store
According to the report one-third of the apps in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store, combined, are abandoned apps (updated two years ago). While there are 650,000 abandoned apps on App Store, Play Store has 869,000 abandoned apps.
Furthermore, both stores include 314,000 “supper abandoned” apps that were updated five or more years ago: App Store features 184,000, and the Play Store features 130,000 super abandoned apps.
Although an app that had not been updated in two years is an abandoned app, it is likely that the app did not require an update. Since Apple regularly releases various updates to its APIs, SDKs, App Store security and privacy guidelines, and other features, the company wants all apps to be at par with the latest technologies.
Having said that, the percentage of up-to-date apps is more than abandoned apps in both digital marketplaces. 68% or 3.1 million apps on iOS App Store and Google Play Store were updated in the last two years, collectively.
The research also showed that 88% of apps that were updated in the last six months had over 100 million downloads which reflects a “positive link” between app updates and downloads. “App categories most likely to be innovative (regularly updated): Finance, Health, and Shopping.”
Currently, both tech companies have implemented policies to deal with abandoned apps. Apple’s policy is unclear. Google hides abandoned apps on the Play Store and they don’t appear in search results. On the other hand, Apple Apple’s policy is unclear, the company might remove the apps that have not been updated in the last three years or fail to meet a minimum download threshold in the past 12-months period.
It is very important to take action against abandoned apps because they might be a security and privacy risk. Pixalate writes:
- “Abandoned” apps may harbor serious safety and security concerns.
- The most innovative apps regularly release new improved versions with bug fixes and security patches.
- With the growing awareness of consumer privacy concerns, this issue becomes even more important.
- Advertisers need to take notice of how frequently apps are updated before deciding to invest.