Apple sent some developers an email titled “App Improvement Notice”, warning that the company will remove apps from the App Store that have not been “updated for a period of time”.
As first reported by The edge, developers complained on social media about this new policy as it could be harmful to indie developers and game developers. One of them, Twitter user Protopop Gamesshared a screenshot of the email sent by Apple:
App Store Improvement Notice
This app has not been updated for a while and is expected to be removed from sale in 30 days. No action is required to keep the app available to users who have already downloaded it.
You can keep this app available for new users to discover and download from the App Store by submitting an update for review within 30 days. If no update is submitted within 30 days, the app will be removed from sale.
While it can be pointed out that asking developers to update their apps from time to time with Apple’s latest APIs could improve the user experience on new devices, it also causes a lot of controversy, as shown developer Emilia Lazer-Walker. Some of its older App Store games have been removed:
“Games can exist as finished objects. These free projects are not suitable for updates or a live service model, they are finished works of art from years ago.
The edge notes that Apple App Store Improvements Page shows that the company “implements an ongoing app review process, removing apps that no longer work as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are out of date,” though it’s unclear when the page was updated or how often an app need to be updated to stay on the App Store.
Over the past few years, the App Store has come under intense scrutiny due to antitrust allegations from the government and developers. The most famous case is Epic v Apple and the Netherlands fined Apple over $50 million over a dating app controversy.
As of now, Apple hasn’t given a status on this change and we’ll update the story once we hear from the company.