Apple has announced their intent to conduct a major clean up of the App Store in order to remove apps that are no longer meeting the stores review guidelines, are non-functioning or are outdated in other ways.
To be honest, even though I am not an iPhone/iPad user except for testing, this makes a lot of sense and is an undertaking that other companies like Microsoft and Google really need to consider doing.
Over time these stores become very cluttered and many apps are abandoned by their developers or simply do not work. Of course, it takes a smart approach to doing this work and it seems Apple has a solid plan in place for that as well based on this page at the Apple Developer Support site.
They say this will now be a continuous process and have provided these pieces of information on what app developers can expect:
When will this process start? - We will begin the process of reviewing and removing apps from the App Store on September 7, 2016.
What types of apps will be affected? - Apps in all categories on the App Store will be evaluated to make sure they function as expected, follow current review guidelines, and are not outdated.
What will happen if an issue is found with my app? - The App Store team will contact you and ask you to make any necessary changes for your app to stay on the App Store. However, apps that crash on launch will be removed immediately from the App Store.
How long do I have to make the changes? - You will be asked to submit an update within 30 days to keep your app on the App Store. If you are unable to make the changes within this time frame, your app will be removed from the App Store until you submit an update and it is approved. Please note that apps that crash on launch will be removed immediately.
If my app is removed, will my app’s name become available for other developers to use? - No. When apps are removed from the App Store, they are not deleted from your account. Your app name will continue to be associated with your app.
If my app is removed, will current users be able to access my app? - Yes. Your app will remain fully functional for current users. They will experience no interruption to services and will still be able to buy in-app purchases. However, we recommend that you update your app as soon as possible to reinstate it on the App Store and ensure that it remains functional and engaging for new and existing customers.
What can I do to help my app be ready for future changes? - As a best practice, read the latest App Store Review Guidelines as they are published and make sure your apps follow them. We also recommend that you address any functionality issues and update your app regularly to fix bugs, offer new content, provide additional services, or make other improvements. If you are no longer updating your app, consider removing it from the App Store.
It really is a solid approach to make sure the dev has a reasonable time frame and opportunity to address any issue that Apple identifies. The step to keep access in place for any apps that are removed by Apple also allows those customers who use that app to continue to do so.
We all know there are a lot of spammy apps in all of the app stores so this is great and hopefully, as I mentioned earlier, the other two big players will jump on this bandwagon very soon.
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