App developer

Auditing My Apps for the App Store Cleanup

As I wrote a few days ago, Apple announced that they will be implementing new review procedures for already released apps and will remove those that meet any of the following criteria:

  • no longer function as intended; or
  • no longer meet current review guidelines; and,
  • apps which have not been supported with compatibility updates for a long time.

Analysing these criteria and taking the more detailed support page into account, I believe the following will be Apple’s general policy: Apps which haven’t been updated in the last 24 months and which crash on launch or no longer meet current review guidelines will fall into scope of being removed from the App Store.

What current review guidelines are applicable? My assumption is that this review process for historical apps will be automated and that Apple will not be conducting manual reviews to ensure, for example, UI modernity.1 That said, the red flags I think Apple will be looking for as a starting point are:

  • Apps that aren’t 64-bit;2
  • Apps that have iTunes metadata that is outdated (e.g. a privacy policy that returns a 404)

It is inevitable that the criteria will be updated over time. For example, I imagine that in a few years apps which don’t contain @3x assets will be considered abandoned.

Auditing my apps based on this analysis reveals the following:

App Updated within 2 years 64-bit Crash on launch Metadata intact
The FFI List Yes Yes No Yes
Baby’s Milk Yes Yes No Yes
Primes Yes Yes No Yes
Amazing Flag Quiz No No No Yes

Even though Amazing Flag Quiz still makes a small amount of money through in-app purchases, I firmly believe that it falls foul of the new rules. (I’ll be writing a new version of Amazing Flag Quiz as my next project.)

What would really help is if Apple didn’t leave so much of this to conjecture with only two days to go until they begin implementing. I am hoping for more information at their event on the 7th.

  1. Given the sheer volume of apps, I think manual reviews are a no-go. ↩︎

  2. Though not mentioned in the review guidelines, 64-bit has been required since 2015. ↩︎