Apple App Store appears to be widely removing outdated apps

Apple may be tightening down on programs that haven’t received any upgrades in a long time. Apple tells impacted developers in an email titled “App Improvement Notice” that it will delete apps from the App Store if they haven’t been “updated in a considerable amount of time” and gives them only 30 days to do so.

“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,” Apple writes in the email. “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 While Apple will remove the outdated apps from the App Store, any previously downloaded apps will remain on users’ devices.

A number of software developers, including Robert Kabwe of Protopop Games, have expressed their displeasure with the shift. Kabwe claims on Twitter that Apple is threatening to remove Motivoto, a fully functional game that hasn’t been updated since March 2019.

Meanwhile, Kosta Eleftheriou, the creator of the FlickType Apple Watch keyboard, claims that Apple removed a version of his program designed for the visually impaired since it had not been updated in two years. The once-super-popular Pocket God software, as Eleftheriou notes out in his tweet, is still available on the App Store, despite the fact that it was last updated in 2015.

Apple is also removing “a couple” of Emilia Lazer-previous Walker’s games from the App Store, according to the developer. Several other developers have expressed similar frustrations, stating that they just do not have the time to update their products.

On Apple’s App Store Improvements page, the company 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of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated.” Because the website lacks a time stamp, it’s impossible to tell when Apple published or last updated the post. Apple did not react to The Verge’s request for comment right away.

Apple said in 2016 that it would begin removing abandoned apps from the App Store. It also stated at the time that developers would have 30 days to update their app before it was taken down. However, it’s unclear whether Apple has consistently enforced this restriction over time, or if it has only lately begun to do so. Apple also doesn’t specify what constitutes “outdated” software, whether it’s based on the amount of time since an app was last updated or compatibility with the most recent version of iOS.