Apple is removing apps that have not received recent updates from the App Store. In an email screenshot circulating on Twitter, the iPhone maker is seen warning an indie developer that his app will be removed since it hasn’t been updated “in a significant amount of time”.
The email titled “App Improvement Notice” 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 such apps from the App Store, users who have already downloaded the app on their devices will be able to continue using them.
The notice was subjected to heavy criticism by many developers. Protopop Games developer Robert Kabwe says that Apple’s latest move is unfair to indie devs, while pointing out that “console games from 2000 are still available for sale”. Developer Emilia Lazer-Walker also shared that the company is removing some of her older games for the same reason. Various other developers have chimed in, reporting that their apps have been removed from the App Store as well.
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Apple’s App Store Improvements Page notes “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of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated”. Additionally, the firm has provided the latest App Store Review Guidelines and recommends developers to regularly update their apps.
Back in 2016, Apple had warned developers that it will be removing “abandoned apps” from the App Store. Devs were told to update their apps within 30 days or risk them being removed. However, it isn’t clear if the firm has been implementing this rule consistently since its inception or if the crackdown is recent. Moreover, there’s no word on what Apple defines as “outdated”. Unfortunately, the lack of transparency regarding this rule is likely to hit indie developers hard.
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