Numerous developers report that their applications that aren’t being actively updated will soon be kicked out of the App Store. This is apparently part of an ongoing effort by Apple to remove “outdated” software from the store.
Devs must submit new versions of their applications to stay in the store, which means they’ll have to comply with newer Apple policies.
‘This app has not been updated in a significant amount of time’
Developers took to Twitter to report receiving a warning from Apple that they must quickly update their app or it’ll be removed from the App Store, according to The Verge.
The emails from Apple state, “This app has not been updated in a significant amount of time and is scheduled to be removed from sale in 30 days.”
If the developers ignore the warnings, their apps will be taken down. As Apple says, “If no update is submitted within 30 days, the app will be removed from sale.”
Just so there’s no confusion: removing an application from the App Store does not remove it from anyone’s device.
Removing outdated apps part of ongoing App Store improvements
These emails are apparently a result of an Apple effort to improve the App Store. A developer support page says, “We are implementing an ongoing process of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated.” Apple’s definition of outdated almost certainly means that the software doesn’t conform to a recent version of the App Store Review Guidelines.
In general, Apple doesn’t make software already in the App Store conform to changes in its guidelines. Only when devs update apps do they need to meet the current rules. If Apple requires developers of older software to update their apps, the new versions will need to follow the new guidelines.
Complaints of unfairness, especially for games
Not surprisingly, developers affected by the change don’t sound happy about the move to force updates. Game developers in particular sounded the alarm, calling the requirement unnecessary and unfair.
“I feel sick,” wrote Protopop Games dev Robert Kabwe on Twitter. “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.”
“Games can exist as completed objects!,” wrote game developer Em Lazer-Walker on Twitter. “These free projects aren’t suitable for updates or a live service model, they’re finished artworks from years ago.”
Some of the complaints from targeted developers point out that they see other apps without recent updates still on the App Store. But this doesn’t take into account that Apple is just starting this process. It’s not yet removing any applications for being obsolete. It’s possible the developers responsible for that very obsolete software also received a warning and have 30 days to submit an update.