It appears that Apple has started the big App Store cleanup session, as promised earlier this year. App intelligence firm Sensor Tower has spotted a spike in app removals in October, signalling that the “great App Store purge” has commenced.
The firm noticed a 238% jump in app removals last month, 3.4 times higher than the monthly average of 14,000 for the first nine months of the year.
It may not come as a surprise that the most affected category was Games. Of the 47,300 apps removed from the App Store, games accounted for 28%, followed by Entertainment, Books, Education and Lifestyle.
As TechCrunch notes, Entertainment and Books accounted for only 8.99% and 8.96%, respectively, while Education and Lifestyle apps accounted for only 7% and 6%, respectively.
The great App Store purge is no surprise, because Apple notified developers this fall that, alongside the apps that don’t meet the current review guidelines or don’t work as intended, the company will also remove abandoned apps.
What Apple means by “abandoned” is not exactly clear, but its definition of apps that “have not been supported with compatibility updates for a long time” leaves enough room for the company to decide which apps stay and which don’t.
The App Store is in need of such a cleanup, because previous analysis of the state of abandoned apps revealed that nearly 50% of apps hadn’t been updated since May 2015, and 25.6% not since November 2013.
The app intelligence firm estimates that the App Store could more than double its size to 5 million apps by 2020.