Apple Seemingly Removing 'Outdated' Apps From the App Store
According to an "App Improvement Notice" email sent to affected developers, Apple is removing apps that have "not been updated in a significant amount of time" unless developers issue an update within 30 days:
This app has not been updated for a significant amount of time and is scheduled to be removed from sale in 30 days. No action is required for the app to remain available to users who have already downloaded the app.
You can keep this app available for new users to discover and download from the App Storey submitting an update for review within 30 days.
If no update is submitted within 30 days, the app will be removed from sale.
The notice has been met with concern from some developers, such as Protopop Games developer Robert Kabwe. Kabwe says on Twitter that Apple is threatening to his game, "Motivoto," since it has not been updated since March 2019. Kosta Eleftheriou, the developer of the FlickType Apple Watch keyboard, highlighted that while Apple took down a version of his app because it has not been updated in two years, the once-popular game "Pocket God" remains available despite it not being updated since 2015.
The sense of concern has been echoed by several other developers on Twitter who have also received App Improvement Notices, with developers highlighting that they simply have not had enough time to update their apps and that some apps exist as "completed objects," and therefore do not require "updates or a live service model."
Apple's App Store Improvements page states:
To make it easier for customers to find great apps that fit their needs, we want to ensure that apps available on the App Store are functional and up-to-date. We are implementing an ongoing process of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated.
Apple has been known to remove apps that have not been updated for some time from the App Store before, but it is not clear if this policy has been continuously or consistently enforced. It is also unknown what exactly Apple determines "a significant amount of time" to be, and whether it relates to compatibility with the latest version of iOS or time elapsed since the last update.