Apple is clarifying its decision to begin removing “outdated” apps from the App Store. The criteria surrounding this decision stem from the iPhone maker’s new policy. It requires developers to provide updates to their software every three years.
Following developer complaints last week, Apple now states in a press release that this is all a part of the app Store Improvements policy. Moving forward, the company now requires developers to provide consistent updates within a three-year window and hit a minimal download threshold. Failure to do so results in Apple issuing a notice that their software will be removed from the App Store.
“As part of the App Store Improvements process, developers of apps that have not been updated within the last three years and fail to meet a minimal download threshold — meaning the app has not been downloaded at all or extremely few times during a rolling 12 month period — receive an email notifying them that their app has been identified for possible removal from the App Store.”
A handful of developers came forward last week after receiving a notice regarding their app. Moitivoto developer Robert Kabwe received Apple’s App Store Improvement Notice, stating the game has “not been updated in a significant amount of time.” Likewise, Emilia Lazer-Walker reported receiving the same.
I feel sick. Apple just sent me an email saying they’re removing my free game Motivoto because its more than 2 years old.
It’s part of their App improvement system.
This is not cool. Console games from 2000 are still available for sale.
This is an unfair barrier to indie devs. pic.twitter.com/7XNcLfiEcR
— Protopop Games (@protopop) April 23, 2022
Both developers express their personal frustrations. In both cases, the developers believe their apps and games are in a finished state. Kabwe believes his game is “fully functioning” and has been for the last three years.
Of course, this also brings the conversation of software and game preservation into the fold. Apple confirms that any user who has already purchased a removed app will experience no interruptions. Though, if an app or game is in a working and complete state, users should be able to theoretically purchase and install it for years down the road. Additionally, Apple hasn’t clarified its threshold when claiming an “app has not been downloaded at all or extremely few times.”
At the time the first reports came through, Apple warned developers that they had 30 days to submit an update. Though, Apple now states that developers will be given up to 90 days to update their apps.
This new policy puts additional pressure on developers. Smaller indie teams may not have the time or budget to invest in additional updates to completed projects.
Image credit: Apple
Source: The Verge