Apple Gives Devs More Time to Update Outdated Apps

Apple has clarified the App Store Improvements process through which outdated apps will be removed from the software marketplace and given developers more time to escape that fate.

The company started telling developers on April 22 that it would remove their apps from the App Store if they weren’t updated within 30 days. That isn’t a lot of time for devs—especially those working on these projects as a hobby or side hustle—to update their apps in any particularly meaningful way. Now it seems that Apple has decided to give these developers more leeway.

“Apple always wants to help developers get and keep quality software on the App Store,” the company says in an update to its developer website published on April 29. “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.”

The company also clarifies that it’s only contacting developers whose apps “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. ” Popular-but-still-outdated software will remain available until its download numbers start to drop.

Apple defends its decision to remove these apps from the App Store in the first place, too, saying that it “helps us ensure apps work for the vast majority of users and support our latest innovations in security and privacy.” It also points out this isn’t a new development—apparently it’s “removed almost 2.8 million apps as part of this process” since it debuted in 2016.

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On the one hand, Apple wants to make sure the App Store won’t be filled with abandonware, because that isn’t a good user experience. (Or revenue source.) On the other, it can’t just tell developers they have 30 days to update their software, because not all devs can make that kind of commitment for their old apps. Now it seems the company is looking for a compromise.

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