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Apple to begin removing abandoned and problematic apps from App Store next week

Apple on Thursday announced that it will make a pair of key changes to the iOS App Store starting next Wednesday, most notably a new effort to remove abandoned and problematic apps so they can no longer be downloaded.




The new policies were said to come from suggestions made by Apple's developer community, and will take effect starting Sept. 7— the same day the company is expected to unveil the "iPhone 7" and release a golden master of iOS 10.

Placing a focus on "quality apps," Apple said it will implement an ongoing process of evaluating legacy apps for issues. Developers will be appropriately notified before downloads are removed from the store.

"We know that many of you work hard to build innovative apps and update your apps on the App Store with new content and features," Apple said. "However, there are also apps on the App Store that no longer function as intended or follow current review guidelines, and others which have not been supported with compatibility updates for a long time."

The App Store has an approval process that all downloads must pass before they are released to the public. With more than 2 million apps available, some of them are essentially "abandonware," and Apple's new policy will give it the ability to clean up some legacy software.




In a question-and-answer section, Apple noted that apps in all categories on the App Store will be evaluated to make sure that they function as expected, that they follow current review guidelines, and that they are not outdated. Developers with apps that need to be updated will be given 30 days to keep their app on the store.

Apps that crash on launch will not have that 30-day window applied— they will be immediately removed.

Removed apps will still be accessible to current users, and services will not be interrupted. However, new users will no longer be able to download the outdated app.

In addition, Apple also announced that it will curb app names with a new 50-character limit.

Apple noted on Thursday that some developers use "extremely long app names" in hopes of influencing search results. However, the names are so long that they do not appear in full on the App Store and are of no value to users.

Like the effort to remove outdated apps, the new 50-character policy on app names will take effect next Wednesday. Apple has advised that developers should view the App Store Product Page for tips on creating effective app names, icons, keywords, screenshots and descriptions.