Apple now eradicating outdated apps from the App Retailer, builders complain

Apple has been sending to some developers an email titled ”App Improvement Notice”, warning that the company will remove from the App Store apps that haven’t been ”updated in a significant amount of time.”

As first reported by The Verge, developers have been complaining over social media about this new policy as this could be harmful for indie and game developers. One of them, Twitter user Protopop Games, shared a screenshot of the email sent by Apple:

App Store improvement notice

This app has not been updated in a significant amount of time and is scheduled to be removed from sale in 30 days. No action in required for the app to remain available to users who have already downloaded the app.

You can keep this app available for new users to discover and download from the App Store by submitting an update for review within 30 days. If no update is submitted within 30 days, the app will be removed from sale.

While one could point out that demanding developers to update their apps once in a while with Apple’s newest APIs could improve the user experience in newer devices, it’s also causing a lot of controversy, as shown by developer Emilia Lazer-Walker. She had some of her older games removed from the App Store:

”Games can exist as completed objects. These free projects aren’t suitable for updates or a live service model, they’re finished artworks from years ago.”

The Verge notes that Apple’s App Store Improvements page shows the company is “implementing an ongoing process of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated,” although it’s not clear when the page was updated or what frequency does an app need to be updated to remain on the App Store.

Over these past years, the App Store has been over scrutiny due to antitrust allegations from government and developers. The most famous case is Epic vs. Apple and the Netherlands fining Apple in more than $50 million due to dating app controversy.

As of now, Apple hasn’t given a state about this change and we’ll update the story once we hear from the company.

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 isn’t cool. Console games from 2000 are still available for sale.

This is an unfair barrier to indie devs.

— Protopop Games (@protopop) April 23, 2022

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