Some app developers have woken up with the following news: “Your app will be removed”. The notice that several developers have shared on social media is a message in which Apple warns them that their applications have not been updated for too long, and for this reason will be removed from the App Store. Does this mean that there will be an app mass extermination ? Will we no longer be able to access our favorite applications? Will iOS users go back to the caveman days where they had to extend their arm while raising their index finger to catch a taxi on the street?
Not at all.
Apple has explained that developers who want to keep their apps in the Store must make an update within 30 days. This measure only reaches applications that have not been updated in more than 2 years, which represents a smaller percentage of the market.
However, this is still a controversial measure for several developers, especially for independent ones who do not have as many resources. These developers argue that this unilateral measure by the apple giant is unfair to their situation, understanding that there are apps that do not need any updates. They maintain that the need for arbitrary updates for applications that are fully operational is not understood, which harms their situation by not having the time and resources to comply with this. According to his position, mobile applications should remain available no matter how old they are, just like old video games can be played on consoles. From the gaming industry, several actors say that the policy is unnecessarily harsh on developers and claim that Apple does not fully respect the work that is dedicated to independent games.
This is not the first time that Apple has shown its intention to remove apps that have not been updated for a long time. In 2016, it had already informed developers of its intention to remove apps that had not been updated to be compatible with the latest versions of iOS and macOS.
The American technology manufacturer maintains that with this measure seeks to make it easier for users to search for apps that are updated in the store, improving the user experience. This measure is part of a continuous app evaluation, with the aim of making it easier to search for those relevant apps that meet user needs, removing the ones that no longer work correctly. They have also made it clear that in case the developer does not act within the set time frame, the outdated app will be deleted. This procedure involves Apple removing apps from the App Store, making previously downloaded apps unavailable on the devices.
Who rules in the store?
Obviously app developers in this situation don't seem to have many alternatives. Companies like Apple own their platforms and have complete control over their policies. Faced with the vulnerability of a unilateral change in the rules, as in this specific case, it seems that there is little to do. While there are impacts that are unavoidable, there are strategies that can mitigate unintended impacts on the business. For example, forming partnerships with other actors in the mobile environment to create a protection barrier against unforeseen events of this magnitude. Always depending on the case, it is good to have allies who understand the environment and can help you mitigate or prevent these changes. As far as ad tech is concerned, at Rocket Lab, we always try to be partners with our clients, providing added value with valuable knowledge for the growth and maintenance of their apps.