Apple To Developers: If We Removed Your Old App, You Deserved It


Recently, several developers complained about how Apple threatened to remove their apps from the App Store because they hadn’t been updated in a “significant amount of time.” Now, the company has responded, by issuing a press release effectively saying no one was downloading the apps anyway.

The notice, posted Friday night, reads in part:

As part of the app store improvements process, developers of apps that haven’t updated in the last three years and don’t meet a minimum download threshold, meaning the app hasn’t been downloaded at all or very few times during a 12-month period. — receive an email notifying them that their app has been identified for possible removal from the App Store.

We’ve heard of those emails before: last week, developers like Roberto Cabwe Y Emilia Lazer Walker reported receiving them and expressed distress that they had 30 days to update their apps, or they would be removed from the store. Other developers shared similar experiences on Twitter, saying the policy and the amount of time they were given to make changes was unfair to independent developers.

They also expressed deeper concerns about Apple’s decision to remove an entire class of apps because it believes they don’t belong in its store. Lazer-Walker argued that games should be allowed to die and can still be valuable without being a service. Kabwe made a similar point, pointing out that you can still buy console games from the 2000s. To put the argument another way: Apple removing these apps is a bit like removing movies from the iTunes Store just because they show up with black bars on TVs. modern (although I understand that interpreting a video signal is less complicated than executing code).

Apple’s explanation clarifies why, as some developers pointed out, it seemed to apply the rules inconsistently. For example, one developer noted that pocket god, a popular game from the early days of the iPhone, hasn’t been updated for seven years, but it’s still on the App Store. Apple basically says it’s still active because it’s still popular.

From one angle, this reasoning doesn’t necessarily align with the first half of Apple’s post, where it says it’s removing old apps to ensure “user trust in quality apps” and to improve visibility, security, and privacy. , and user experience. After all, if an app is problematic because it’s out of date, more downloads would make a bad app a bigger problem. Who gets hurt if there’s an outdated app that hardly anyone downloads?

But Apple says it doesn’t want the App Store to be cluttered with apps that developers and users alike have forgotten about. It has enough issues that users can easily find good apps as-is, and it’s easy to imagine Apple seeing removing seemingly irrelevant old apps as a good solution.

While Apple’s post may seem like a slap in the face to developers concerned about losing something they put genuine time and effort into, the company is extending a small olive branch. His post notes that anyone who receives a notice going forward, and those who have already received a notice, will have 90 days instead of 30 to update their app before it is removed. While that should make it easier for developers to save their apps, it doesn’t allow programs to “exist as full objects,” as Lazer-Walker put it. Apple, it seems, is only interested in finished objects that are still receiving attention.


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