Recently, several developers have complained about how Apple threatened to remove apps from the App Store because it was not updated “at a critical time.” Now, the company has responded – by issued a press release effectively stating that no one is downloading apps anyway.
The announcement, released Friday evening, reads in part:
As part of the App Store Improvement process, the app manufacturers have not been updated for the past three years and have failed to meet the minimum import standards – meaning that the app has not been downloaded at all or very few times within 12 months. – Receive an email notifying you that the app has been identified and can be removed from the App Store.
We’ve heard of those emails before – last week, the developers loved them Robert Kabwe and Emilia Lazer-Walker they said they had received it, and expressed regret that they had 30 days to update their apps, or it would be removed from the store. Other developers have shared similar experiences on Twitter, saying the policy, and the amount of time given to change it, is unfair to indie developers.
They also expressed deep concern about Apple deciding to delete all app classes because it thinks they are not part of its repository. Lazer-Walker argued that games should be allowed to end, and that they could still be valuable without service. Kabwe expressed a similar view, pointing out that you can still buy console games from the 2000s. To put it another way: Removing these apps from Apple is similar to removing movies from the iTunes store because they show black bars on modern TVs (although I understand that image tag translation is easier than running code) .
Sometimes software is developed. I know the world expects growth and change and development forever (free) but sometimes software is developed and downloaded and that is the end of the story.
‘Old’ and ‘stable’ are not failed states. On the contrary – they indicate success. https://t.co/ELEzf1jjOj
– arclight (@arclight) April 24, 2022
Apple’s explanation clarifies why, as some developers have noted, it appears to be applying the rules inconsistently. For example, one mentioned by the developer in The pocket of god, a popular game from the early days of the iPhone, has not been updated for seven years but is still in the App Store. Apple is basically saying it is still on the rise because it is still popular.
At one point the reason was not to fix the gel in the front part of Apple’s post, where it said it would remove the old apps to ensure “user trust in the quality of the apps,” and accessibility, security and privacy, and user experience. After all – if an app has a problem because it is outdated, too much download makes a bad app a big deal. Who will be harmed if there is an old app that almost no one will download?
But Apple says it does not want the App Store to be filled with apps they have developed and forgotten by users. It has enough problems that make it easy for users to find good apps as it is, and it is easy to imagine that Apple sees deleting old apps, which seem irrelevant to a good solution.
While Apple’s post may seem like a slap in the face to developers who are worried about wasting something of their time and effort, the company is adding a small olive branch. Her post noted that anyone who receives notice hereafter – and those who have already received notice – will receive 90 days instead of 30 to update the app before it is removed. While this makes it easier for developers to save their apps, it does not allow apps to “exist as complete objects,” according to Lazer-Walker. Apple, it seems, is only interested in the finished product that is still getting the eyeballs.