Apple removes App Store apps that haven’t been updated in two years

Emma Roth, writing for The Verge:

Apple can crack down on apps that no longer receive updates. In email with screenshot sent to affected developers, titled “App Improvement Notice”, Apple warns that it will remove apps from the App Store that have not been “updated for a significant time” and gives developers just 30 days to update them. up to date.

“You can keep this app available for new users to experience and download from the App Store by submitting an update for review in 30 days,” Apple wrote in the email. “If no update is submitted within 30 days, the app will be removed from sale.” While Apple will remove outdated apps from the App Store, all previously downloaded apps will remain on users’ devices.

Seems logical at first glance – eliminating apps that haven’t been updated for a while seems like a good way to keep everything in the App Store Costs, for lack of a better word. And there have been various technical transitions over the years where something like this has been necessary (for some definition of “necessary”) like the 32-bit to 64-bit transition.

But in practice, there are a lot of apps that haven’t been updated for a while and still work fine. It’s often not just a matter of opening a project file in Xcode and recompiling it to get a new version. Sometimes you open an older project and it takes a lot of work to recompile it with the current SDKs.

I feel like this comes at a particularly high cost to independent game creators – and, ultimately, to players and would-be players of their games. We can watch really today’s old movies – movies that are not just years or decades old, but generations old. We can read centuries-old literary works. But we can’t play iPhone games that are three years old unless developers constantly devote time and attention to making sure they keep up with the latest SDKs every 2-3 years? Pixar doesn’t need to re-render toy story every two years.

It’s a tough problem and I can see the benefits of Apple automating the removal of truly abandoned apps from the app store, but it seems there should be a way for developers of unexplained apps and games updated for a while of simply logging into the Apple Developer Portal and pressing a button to ensure they are still working and not need an update. Apple could then only eliminate applications from developers who did not respond.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

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