Apple gives devs more time to update outdated apps before App Store removal


2021 App Store Awards
Apple moved back the deadline for devs to update their 'outdated' App Store applications.
Photo: Apple

Apple still intends to remove iPhone applications it considers outdated from the App Store, but has given developers more time to update their software. The deadline has changed from 30 days to up to 90 days.

And Apple says it focuses the App Store Improvements process on applications that are hardly ever downloaded.

Apple clarifies the App Store Improvements process

Apple says the goal of removing outdating software is to make it easier for users to “find great apps that fit their needs more easily.” And people will have more confidence in the App Store if everything in it conforms to recent security and technical guidelines. The intent is to “ensure apps work for the vast majority of users and support our latest innovations in security and privacy,” according to Apple.

But the company tacitly admits it got a bit overzealous when it recently informed many developers that they had 30 days to update their iPhone applications or they’d be kicked out of the App Store. A clarification from Apple on Friday changes the deadline to “up to 90 days.” That specifically includes those who were given the 30-day deadline. Still, those that haven’t been updated in the new timeframe face being removed from the App Store.

But developers can appeal the decision. And it’s likely many will, as the recent round of removal warnings prompted backlash from affected developers. One called the update requirement “an unfair barrier to indie devs.” Another argued “Games can exist as completed objects!.”

Targets ‘outdated’ apps

Apple’s App Store Improvements process is focused on applications that have not been updated within the last three years and aren’t drawing the attention of many users.

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. So something can sit in the App Store for years while becoming increasingly outdated.

By requiring developers of older software to update their apps, the new versions will need to follow the latest privacy and technical guidelines.

Apple also says the removal warnings it sent out recently went to the developers of iPhone applications that have “not been downloaded at all or extremely few times during a rolling 12 month period.”

Additional details on the App Store Improvements process are available on Apple’s Developer website.


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