Banning outdated apps from Apple and Google would cut every store by a third



Both members of our favorite mobile duopoly, Google and Apple, recently announced plans to phase out obsolete apps from their respective app stores. Last month, both companies decided that any app that hasn’t been updated in two years will be removed. Early April, Google announced a two-year cutoff plan that would take effect in November, and Apple launched later in the month email developer, and give them 30 days to update or remove them. It’s hard to say what sorting out two-year-old apps will be like, so how many apps are we talking about exactly?

CNET has data from analyst firm Pixalate saying the two-year hiatus would remove 869,000 apps from Google Play and around 650,000 from the App Store. That’s about a third of the current total selection of apps in any store. These numbers would cause Google Play to change from 2.6 million apps to 1.7 million apps and the App Store from 1.95 million apps to 1.3 million.

This Google number is an estimate as Google officially said the limit is two years. Apple has not publicly stated a cutoff point. The company has only personally emailed developers and said it’s removing apps that “haven’t been updated in a while,” but something developer have set this date at two years.

Both app store owners have a solid argument for this – that old apps are lower quality and more prone to exploits. Many developer say that such an approach leads to collateral damage. Not every two-year-old app is broken. Not every app in the world is a live service that’s always updated, and such a model doesn’t work for a free project. Android users always have sideloading and alternative app stores, but Apple users lose access to the cleaned apps.

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