After developers stirred up an online storm when Apple notified the makers of several apps that they would be removed from the App Store for not having been “updated in a significant amount of time,” the company on Friday posted an update to its website clarifying the criteria for removal and extending deadlines for devs to update their apps before they are booted off.
Apple removes outdated apps as part of the App Store Improvements process, which launched back in 2016 following consultation with developers. The program targets “apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines or are outdated,” said Apple.
According to Apple, nearly 2.8 million apps have been pulled from the App Store as part of the App Store Improvements process. The iPhone maker said this effort has benefitted both users and developers by improving app discoverability, security and privacy, and the overall user experience.
Apple’s App Store rules are far from perfect, however, and have been heavily slammed for themselves being outdated over the years.
The update clarifies the criteria for being at risk of removal from the App Store:
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.
All developers, including those who recently received a notice, will now have 90 days (instead of just 30) to update their apps and prevent them from being kicked off the App Store. The Cupertino, California-based tech giant also noted that developers can appeal app removals.
If an app is removed from the App Store as part of this process, users who have previously downloaded it will still have it on their devices and retain full functionality.