Apple’s App Store numbers have steadily grown over the years, reaching some 5 million apps and games available for download, but a new App Store policy may put a dent in those numbers.
After a developer received a letter from Apple explaining that his free game Motivoto was being removed from the App Store in 30 days because “it has not been updated in a significant amount of time,” the company confirmed the policy in a Developer support document titled “App Store Improvements.”
Apple says it wants to “ensure that apps available on the App Store are functional and up-to-date” and has implemented an “ongoing process of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated.” Apps that fall under the new rules will have 30 days to submit an update to stay on the App Store. It’s not clear what the extent of the update needs to be, but presumably the policy merely requires developers to indicate the app is still functional and secure.
Apps that are removed will remain fully functional for current users and are not deleted from the developer’s account. However, Apple recommends developers update their app as soon as possible to reinstate it on the App Store and ensure that it remains functional.
Based on the letter, which was received by Protopop Games (and other developers) on April 22, apps and games will begin to disappear around May 23. It’s not clear how many apps haven’t been updated in two years, but it’s been estimated to be more than 70 percent, which would mean well over a million candidates for deletion.