According to a new report, the App Store might be the only place that iPhone and iPad owners can get their apps, but there are fewer to choose from today than at any point in the last seven years.
That report claims that Apple also wiped over 540,000 apps from its App Store in the last quarter alone as the company works to remove older apps and those that break its guidelines.
App Store shrinkage
The Finbold report says that the "number of apps in the Apple App Store hit a seven-year low during 2022 Q3 to stand at 1,642,759." That number "represents a drop of 541,697 or 24.79% from the 2,184,456 registered during Q2 2022."
The last time the App Store had this number of apps available for download was in the third quarter of 2015.
Removing apps from the App Store isn't new, although the sheer number that has gone AWOL in the last few months is notable. Seemingly aware that there were too many apps available for download that were untouched by developers, Apple said earlier this year that any app found not to have not received an update within 30 days risked being removed.
"Previously, Apple had not set any timeline for removing apps, but the recent update stressed that cleaning the App Store is an ongoing process and will evaluate apps, removing apps that no longer function as planned, don't adhere to reviewed guidelines, or need to be updated," Finbold notes.
Apple's policy of removing old apps has come in for criticism, not least because there is no other way to install apps, and anything removed from the App Store is lost for good. From a historical point of view, that's a terrible shame.
While the App Store might be at a seven-year low in terms of apps, there's no doubt that there are still plenty of choices available for anyone picking up a new iPhone 14, for example. They won't install any of the favorite apps and games of yesteryear when they do it.
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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.