Apple takes steps to remove software from the App Store that goes three years without updates or fails to meet download goals within a set time frame.
This update appears to be part of an initiative by Apple to ensure apps in its ecosystem support its “latest security and privacy innovations” while removing apps that no longer work on the hardware. and current operating systems. According to Apple, nearly 2.8 million apps have been deleted over the past six years under the policy.
As it stands, apps that last for three years without any updates and fail to reach unreleased download counts in a 12-month period are at risk of being removed. Developers of flagged apps receive an email in this case, with a 90-day notice period to provide an update. If an affected app is installed on a device, it will remain functional even after it is removed from the App Store, including any corresponding in-app purchases.
Initially, some app developers received correspondence stating a notice period of only 30 days, which has since been updated to the 90-day window. This is for those who pursue software development alongside day-to-day jobs or are no longer able to devote resources to older projects.
Reasons cited by Apple for the App Store improvement policy include discoverability, security and privacy, and user experience. In addition to security, Apple is removing old apps so that newer software is easier to find on the App Store. Additionally, it acts as the company’s method of ensuring apps display correctly on the varying screen sizes of newer hardware.
It’s a tricky situation for everyone involved. Deleting older apps, including those created by developers who have since moved on, means that a bit of history dies with each deletion. Digital preservation is hard enough without adding more parameters into the mix. Meanwhile, Apple has every right to require apps on its store to comply with the latest security requirements, as hardware and software standards are continually evolving.
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