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Apple's New App Store Policy Is Causing An Uproar

Apple is worth over $2 trillion, and with that much capital comes power. Unfortunately, Apple has been known to use its powers to undermine competition. For example, Apple has been accused of purposefully monopolizing its products' repair business, making it extremely difficult for independent repair shops to work on Apple products. Although Apple has since made changes to its independent repair policy, some critics say it's not enough. Additionally, Apple is known for ruling over the App Store with an iron fist. In 2020, Apple famously removed "Fortnite" from the App Store after Epic Games attempted to circumvent Apple's fees with its own payment system.

It looks like Apple is continuing to remove successful apps from its store, but now for different reasons. Recently, a Twitter post from an indie developer revealed that Apple is planning to remove their app from the App Store.

On April 22nd, Protopop Games tweeted out, "I feel sick. Apple just sent me an email saying they're removing my free game 'Motivoto' because [it is] more than 2 years old." Accompanying the tweet was a screenshot of an email titled "App Store Improvement Notice," which read, "This app has not been updated in a significant amount of time and is scheduled to be removed from sale in 30 days." In the email, Apple explained that Protopop Games could prevent the removal by issuing an update within 30 days. Protopop's post has people discussing Apple's business practices once again.

Outdated apps are being deleted

With a digital store of over 3.6 million apps, it makes sense that Apple would want to clean up the App Store by removing dysfunctional apps. However, Protopop Games felt the impending removal of its game was unjust and wrote, "This is not cool. Console games from 2000 are still available for sale. This is an unfair barrier to indie devs." As smaller teams would undoubtedly have a harder time pushing out constant updates, this seems like a valid argument against the policy.

This updated policy appears to already affecting indie developers everywhere. Twitter user @lazerwalker was among those impacted by the policy change and reached out to Apple on the social media platform, attempting to explain that the policy doesn't make sense for everything on the App Store: "These free projects aren't suitable for updates or a live service model, they're finished artworks from years ago."

The response to the complaints from indie developers was mixed, with some showing sympathy for the devs and others siding with Apple. Some Apple supporters believe the requirement for regular updates is warranted. For instance, user @hardcle wrote in response to Protopop Games' tweet, "Maybe it's just me, but I won't even consider downloading any app if it hasn't been updated in the past year."

According to Apple's App Store Improvements page, any application that isn't "up-to-date" is subject to removal by apple. However, the term "up-to-date" is a bit vague, which has caused further frustration for devs and users alike.