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Developers are complaining on social media that Apple is preparing to remove apps from the App Store that haven't been updated for a long time, unless developers issue an update quickly.
In a number of posts to Twitter on Saturday, developers have revealed they have received emails from Apple about an "App Store Improvement Notice." The email warns developers that the app "has not been updated in a significant amount of time and is scheduled to be removed from sale in 30 days."
Apple's message says the app can be kept available for new users in the App Store by submitting an update for review within 30 days, reports The Verge. "If no update is submitted in 30 days, the app will be removed from sale."
Apps that are removed from the App Store won't affect apps already downloaded to user devices, with features such as in-app purchases set to continue working. The requirement to update only applies to the App Store listing itself.
The apps in question haven't been updated in years, prompting Apple's warnings of delisting. Robert Kabwe posted that the free game Motivoto faces removal because it's more than two years old.
I feel sick. Apple just sent me an email saying they're removing my free game Motivoto because its more than 2 years old.— Protopop Games (@protopop) April 23, 2022
It's part of their App improvement system.
This is not cool. Console games from 2000 are still available for sale.
This is an unfair barrier to indie devs. pic.twitter.com/7XNcLfiEcR
Kawbe also complained that the notice is "not cool," and that "games from 2000 are still available for sale," before declaring "This is an unfair barrier to indie devs."
Others have raised the issue that games "can exist as completed objects," ones which aren't suitable for updates or a live serviced model. " According to developer Emilia Lazer-Walker, the apps are "finished artworks from years ago," and that it isn't "viable for me to spend multiple days updating each of a few free small games I built in 2014."
The problem isn't limited to just games. Kosta Eleftheriou said Apple removed a version of his FlickType Keyboard aimed at visually impaired users because it hadn't been updated in two years. Eleftheriou then points out "Meanwhile, games like Pocket God have not been updated by the developers for 7 years now."
The process is part of a policy established in 2016, one that implemented an ongoing process of evaluating legacy apps for issues. On a support page, Apple says the program is to "make it easier for customers to find great apps that fit their needs," by checking that "apps available in the App Store are functional and up-to-date."