Game developer Robert Kamwe from Protopop Games took to his Twitter account the other day to say that he has received a letter from Apple warning him that his free Motivoto game was being removed from the App Store because it’s more than two years old. Kamwe wrote that the warning it is part of Apple’s App improvement system and added that “This is not cool. Console games from 2000 are still available for sale. This is an unfair barrier to indie devs.” Outdated apps in the App Store will have 30 days to be updated or else they will be removed
You wouldn’t shop for clothes in a store with out-of-date styles, would you? You’d be out of that store faster than movie studios would remove Will Smith from any future projects he was signed for if you saw bell-bottoms or Neru jackets. What makes you think the App Store will be any different? After all, it’s a store where you can buy and sell digital products and services.
FlickType founder Kosta Eleftheriou, a vocal critic of the App Store and Apple, tossed in his two cents and said, “Meanwhile, some of Apple’s own apps haven’t been updated for much longer than that. Rules for thee, but not for me!” Apple warns developers to update their apps – Apple warns developers: apps that are outdated will be removed from the App Stor. Apple warns developers to update their apps.
The developer explained that Apple had approached him about making Flick Type the native QWERTY for the Apple Watch and Eleftheriou turned the company down. It was at this point, he alleges, that Apple removed his app from the App Store and rejected other versions of FlickType for the iOS app storefront.
You might recall that Eleftheriou is in the middle of a lawsuit against Apple because of what he calls the latter’s exploitation of smaller developers. FlickType is an outstanding QWERTY app for the Apple Watch. But Eleftheriou said competing apps used fake ads and fake comments to move Apple’s rankings. The developer claims that Apple didn’t move quickly enough to remove the bogus comments and ratings before his business was affected.
In Apple’s message to developers titled “App Improvement Notice,” it says that apps that haven’t been “updated in a significant amount of time” will be removed with Apple giving developers just 30 days to update them. Apple adds that “You can keep this app available for new users to discover and download from the App Store by submitting an update for review in 30 days,” Apple writes. “If no update is submitted in 30 days, the app will be removed from sale.” Outdated apps that crash when opened will be removed immediately
While outdated apps will be removed from the App Store, they will not be removed from iPhone and iPad users’ handsets. Eleftheriou says that Apple is obviously not being fair about this purge since the once-popular Pocket God app is not being removed even though it hasn’t been updated since 2015.
Apple does have a page titled “App Store Improvements” which says “To make it easier for customers to find great apps that fit their needs, we want to ensure that apps available on the App Store are functional and up-to-date. 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.”
Written for developers, the page explains that if your app is removed, another developer will not be allowed to swoop down and use the name of the app. Apple also recommends that developers, to prevent their apps from being removed, “address any functionality issues and update your app regularly to fix bugs, offer new content, provide additional services, or make other improvements. If you are no longer updating your app, consider removing it from the App Store.” If Apple finds issues with your app, it will get in touch with you and ask that you make the necessary changes in order to keep the app in the App Store. On the other hand, if your app crashes on launch, it will be removed from the App Store immediately.