An online storm erupted after Apple informed the developers of several apps that they would be removed from the App Store for not updating their apps for “several months.” On Friday, however, the company posted an update clarifying the criteria for removal and extending the deadlines for developers to update their apps before they are removed.
As part of the App Store Improvements process, which was implemented in 2016 after developer consultation, Apple removes out-of-date apps. Apple says the program is aimed at “apps that no longer function as intended, do not follow current review guidelines or are outdated.”
According to Apple, approximately 2.8 million apps have been removed from the App Store as a result of the App Store Improvements initiative. This effort, according to the iPhone manufacturer, has benefited both users and developers by improving app discoverability, security and privacy, and the user experience as a whole.
Apple’s App Store rules, on the other hand, are far from perfect and have received a lot of criticism over the years for being out of date.
The update clarifies the criteria that determine whether an app is at risk of being removed from the App Store:
A notification email is sent to developers of apps that have not been updated in the last three years and that do not meet a minimal download threshold (i.e., have not been downloaded at all or have been downloaded extremely few times during a rolling 12-month period) as part of the App Store Improvements process, informing them that their app may be flagged for removal from the App Store.
In order to keep their apps from being removed from the App Store, all developers, including those who just received a notice, will now have 90 days (rather than just 30) to update them. Cupertino-based Apple also stated that app developers have the option of appealing removals.
In the event that an app is removed from the App Store as part of this process, users who have previously downloaded it will still be able to use it with all of its features.