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Developers upset Apple by removing outdated but working apps

Apple may be doing some spring cleaning on its App Store, as the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant recently notified several developers that apps that haven’t been “updated since some time” will soon be removed from the market. The edge.

The email, titled “App Improvement Notice,” tells developers they only have 30 days to update older apps before they hit the App Store.

“You can keep this app available for new users to experience and download from the App Store by submitting an update for review in 30 days,” Apple wrote in the email. “If no update is submitted within 30 days, the app will be removed from sale.”

If a developer misses the deadline and their app is removed from the App Store, all users who previously downloaded it will still have it on their devices and be able to use it.

Several app makers, including Protopop Games developer Robert Kabwe, criticized the move. According to a tweet from Kabwe, Apple is threatening to remove its fully functional game, Motivotofrom the App Store as it has not been updated since March 2019.

Some mobile apps, especially games, exist in a “complete” state, so it could be argued that they don’t require updates to enrich the user experience. Additionally, updating apps regularly requires time and money, making it inconvenient for indie developers who lack resources. “It’s an unfair barrier for independent developers,” Kabwe said.

App developer, researcher and self-proclaimed “Professional App Store Reviewer”, Kosta Eleftheriou (@keleftheriou) said Apple had booted a version of this FlickType Apple Watch keyboard designed for the visually impaired from the App Store because it hadn’t been updated in two years.

Eleftheriou also identified the once super popular pocket godwhich still remains on the App Store although it has not been updated since 2015.

Developer Emilia Lazer-Walker also said in a tweet that Apple was removing “a few” of its older games from the App Store. “Games can exist as finished objects,” postulates Lazer-Walker. “These free projects are not suitable for updates or a live service model, they are finished works of art from years ago.”

Apple’s App Store Improvements page says, “We implement an ongoing process of app evaluation, removing apps that no longer work as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated.”

However, Apple’s App Store rules are far from perfect and have been heavily criticized for being outdated over the years.

The iPhone maker also said in 2016 that it would start removing discontinued apps from the App Store and that developers would have 30 days to update their apps before they were started.

However, it’s unclear if Apple has continuously enforced this rule over the years, or if the company has recently turned its attention to this issue and is conducting a broader sweep.

Apple doesn’t even clearly define what makes an app “obsolete” – whether it’s based on how long it’s been since an app received its last update or whether it’s compatibility with the latest version. recent iOS.

Earlier this month, Google announced it would take similar action on the Play Store, with plans to start limiting the visibility of apps that “do not target an API level within two years of the last major version of Android”. Android developers have until November 1, 2022, to update their apps, though, and Google is also allowing them to request a six-month extension if they can’t meet the deadline.