Apple explains why it's kicking some old apps out of its App Store

App Store
App Store (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple removes apps that haven't been updated in three years and receive a low number of downloads.
  • Developers will now be given 90 days' notice before their apps are removed.

Apple has sought to clarify why it removes some older apps and games from the App Store following complaints by some developers.

Last week saw reports that some developers were having their older apps and games deleted from the App Store if they didn't update them within a specific length of time. In a news post to its developer website, Apple has confirmed what's going on — any apps that haven't been updated in the last three years and aren't being downloaded very often will be removed — unless the developer updates them.

As part of the App Store Improvements process, developers of apps that have not been updated within the last three years and fail to meet a minimal download threshold — meaning the app has not been downloaded at all or extremely few times during a rolling 12 month period — receive an email notifying them that their app has been identified for possible removal from the App Store.

Apple previously gave developers 30 days to issue an update to the App Store in order to keep their wares accessible by everyone. The company has now admitted that was perhaps a little short — independent developers often simply don't have the time to get the work done — and has decided that 90 days is a much more reasonable timeframe.

Apple always wants to help developers get and keep quality software on the App Store. That's why developers can appeal app removals. And developers, including those who recently received a notice, will now be given more time to update their apps if needed — up to 90 days. Apps that are removed will continue to function as normal for users who have already downloaded the app on their device.

The whole reason for removing the apps in the first place is said to be part of Apple's eagerness to make sure that the App Store isn't filled to the brim with apps and games that simply no longer work following various hardware and iOS updates. In some cases developers will need to make sizeable changes to ensure their apps and games work on iOS 15, for example, hence the increase in the time they're being given to do so.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.