After an App Store policy came to light last week that threw countless apps into limbo, Apple has issued a clarification about its App Store Improvements process that will give developers much more time to update their apps.
Apple also clarified that the policy isn’t new. Since 2016, when the App Store Improvements process was launched, some 3 million apps have been removed from the store to “ensure apps work for the vast majority of users and support our latest innovations in security and privacy.” Apps that were previously downloaded continue to work, but new users will not be able to find them in the App Store.
It’s not clear if Apple had contacted developers previously, but Apple’s policy became known in late April after a developer shared an email from Apple warning that his app would be removed if it wasn’t updated within 30 days. The letter explained that the game in question, Motivoto, hadn’t been updated in the past two years. It created a bit of a stir, as millions of apps were potentially in violation, including Apple’s own Texas Hold’em iOS game.
In an update posted to its Developer site, Apple announced that developers “will now be given more time to update their apps if needed — up to 90 days.” Apple also seemingly upped the threshold to three years from two years and explained the minimal download threshold, “meaning the app has not been downloaded at all or extremely few times during a rolling 12-month period.” That should give developers a bit of breathing room and allow popular older apps to remain in the store for years after their last update.