Apple has notified developers that apps and games that have gone two full years without an update may be at risk of being removed from the App Store.
The change comes as part of Apple's App Store improvement scheme which aims to make the online shop easier to use and ensure customers "find great apps that fit their needs" that are compatible with newer iOS devices.
In an email to Protopop Games, Apple reportedly said: "This app has not been updated in a significant amount of time and is scheduled to be removed from sale in 30 days. No action is required for the app to remain available to users who have already downloaded the app.
"You can keep this app available for new users to discover and download from the App Store by submitting an update for review within 30 days. If no update is submitted within 30 days, the app will be removed from sale."
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
"This is not cool," the developer tweeted in response to the email. "Console games from 2000 are still available for sale. This is an unfair barrier to indie devs.
"I'm sitting here on a Friday night, working myself to [the] bone after my day job, trying my best to scrape a living from my indie games, trying to keep up with Apple, Google, Unity, Xcode, MacOS changes that happen so fast my head spins while performing worse on older devices," the developer added.
Apple confirms that the changes affects all applications, not just games, and should Apple staff encounter any issues with apps on the store, they'll get in touch with the developers.
"To make it easier for customers to find great apps that fit their needs, we want to ensure that apps available on the App Store are functional and up-to-date. We are 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of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated," Apple said.
As Apple explained in its email to developers, even if a favourite app or game of yours is removed from the store, you should not encounter any issues using it, including microtransactions.
ICYMI, a new EU law could be passed that would force Apple to allow users to install third-party apps on their devices, a process known as sideloading. The law, known as the Digital Markets Act (DMA), has yet to be passed by the European Parliament but if accepted could be enforced as early as October.
It would mean Apple would be forced to allow users to access both third-party stores and third-party apps - something the company is vehemently opposed to as it could compromise security.