If Donald Trump is trying to make America great again, then Apple appears to be doing the same with its App Store. And the walled garden that keeps out bad apps just got 10 feet higher with the announcement the tech giant will be removing abandoned and outdated apps.
In a post to its Developer support documentation, Apple noted that it is “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of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated.”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 isn’t messing around with the changes, either. According to the documentation, it’s giving users 30 days to make any necessary changes to an app to keep it in the App Store. Failure to meet the deadline means the app will be removed and will require the app to undergo an approval process to make it back into the marketplace.
Apps that crash on launch will be removed immediately, no questions asked.
While apps stop appearing in the App Store, they will technically still continue to exist; they remain associated with the developer that created them and users who already have the apps installed can continue using them—to the extent they actually work, that is.
In another document detailing the App Store review process, Apple says in plain language what it will be getting rid of:
“If your app looks like it was cobbled together in a few days, or you’re trying to get your first practice app into the store to impress your friends, please brace yourself for rejection. We have lots of serious developers who don’t want their quality apps to be surrounded by amateur hour.”
The company is also asking developers to shorten the titles of their apps to less than 50 characters. In an email, Apple explained the step is aimed at developers who game the App Store search function by using “extremely long app names which include descriptions and terms not directly related to their app” to appear higher in search results.
Whoa. This is huge. Apple reviewing old apps for quality + encouraging shorter app names. pic.twitter.com/S7C10yCOBC
— Jake Marsh (@jakemarsh) September 1, 2016
The email warns that such lengthy names “are not fully displayed on the App Store and provide no user value.” This change is particularly interesting ahead of the launch of iOS 10, which introduces Search Ads that let developers pay to be placed at the top of search results for terms relevant to their app.
At the moment, there are about 2 million apps available in the iTunes App Store. But it’s gotten to a point where quantity is outweighing quality. That number should shrink once Apple starts doing some much-needed cleaning ahead of the release of iOS 10 and the iPhone 7.