After a week of confusion and speculation, Apple has attempted to address developers' concerns about the company removing outdated apps from the App Store.
In mid-April, Apple had notified developers that any app that has not been updated for "a significant amount of time" would be pulled from the App Store. However, developers would be able to circumvent the removal by submitting an update for review within 30 days.
Developers took to social media to speak up against the policy, stating that the changes were unfair to indie developers.
In response, Apple has issued a press release on its developer website. The release explains the situation in more detail.
First, Apple clarifies that a "significant amount of time" means within the last three years. This also seemingly only applies to apps that fail to meet a minimum download threshold in a rolling 12-month period, though the company does not clarify the minimum threshold.
Apple states that it is doing this to provide users with a better App Store experience. By removing old, outdated, or abandoned apps, it hopes to offer better discoverability for apps that are actively maintained.
Additionally, it ensures that apps meet the App Store security and privacy guidelines, which Apple notes are "constantly evolving."
Lastly, the company wants the apps to conform to a certain level of quality. The apps should work across all modern screen sizes, SDKs, APIs, and other features offered in the iOS and macOS ecosystems.
Apple has increased the time needed to update old apps from 30 days to 90 days as a show of good faith to developers. Additionally, Apple notes that if the app has been downloaded by a user, it will not be removed from the users' device.