Apple is pruning outdated apps from the App Store

Apple is getting rid of outdated apps, that have not been updated for a long time, from the App Store. The company is sending out emails to developers who have not updated their apps in “a significant amount of time” and giving them only 30 days to update them.

Apple - App Store

App Store developers complain about strict timeline for app updates to avoid getting their app removed

The email from Apple says:

“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. If no update is submitted in 30 days, the app will be removed from sale.” While Apple will remove the outdated apps from the App Store, any previously downloaded apps will remain on users’ devices.

From a developer perspective, this is very short notice from Apple to update their apps and puts their businesses in trouble. As reported by The Verge, Robert Kabwe from Protopop Games has shared his concern on Twitter regarding his game Motivoto, which works completely fine, and expressed disappointment by comparing it to console games from 2000 which are still on sale. He called it an unfair barrier to indie devs.

There are many other developers who have shared similar concerns regarding their apps that are fully functional but have not been updated in the past two years. 

This is considered to be part of Apple’s App Store Improvements, and the company’s website says:

“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of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated.”

While it is completely understandable that developers are upset with this announcement, Apple should have a smarter way of dealing with outdated apps. The company should measure the relevance of an app based on multiple factors – whether it needs to be updated? Does it comply with guidelines? Does it still do what its App Store description says? Does the developer still provide full support for the app or has abandoned it, just to earn passive income?

Unless Apple tries to understand all the aforementioned concerns, it is unfair to initiate a blanket removal that would hurt developers.

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