Apple has issued warning emails to developers stating that they will delete apps from its App Store that are out of date, do not follow current review guidelines, or no longer work as intended.
“Apps in all categories on the App Store will be evaluated to ensure that they work as expected, follow current review guidelines and are not outdated,” the technology giant wrote on an App Store Improvements support page. “The App Store team will contact you and ask you to make the necessary changes to keep your app in the App Store. However, apps that crash on launch will be removed from the App Store immediately.”
Developers have 30 days to submit an update to keep their apps in the App Store before removal. Updates made after the time frame must be approved for apps to return to the App Store. Removed apps will continue to be linked to the developer’s accounts, and their users will not experience any disruption to services and will still be able to make in-app purchases.
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Protopop Games’ Motivoto is among the apps that are affected by the policy.
“I feel sick. Apple has just sent me an email that they are removing my free game Motivoto because it’s more than 2 years old. It’s part of their app enhancement system,” tweeted Protopop Games developer Robert Kabwe. “This is not cool. Console games from 2000 are still available for sale. This is an unfair barrier for indie developers.”
Two developers who received the same email said they have not had time to update their older apps another argued that the policy is not being applied evenlyreferring to the game Pocket God, which remains in the App Store despite not having received an update since 2015, as an example.
One critic called the policy “completely independent” while another claimed the move was aimed at maintaining “a monopoly on the distribution of mobile apps.” Some have called for a change in policy and for Apple to make improvements in its communication with developers.
The policy was first introduced in 2016. Representatives of Apple declined to comment.
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Apple is not the only one making changes. From November 1, 2022, the Google Play Store will restrict the discovery or installation of existing apps that “do not target an API level within two years of the latest major Android release.”
“Users with the latest devices or those who are completely preoccupied with Android updates expect to realize the full potential of all the privacy and security protections Android has to offer,” said Android Product Management Director Krish Vitaldevara in a blog post. “Extending our target-level API requirements will protect users from installing older apps that may not have these protections in place.”
Android developers who need more time to make updates to their apps can request an optional six-month extension.