Google and Apple will soon remove a total of approximately 1.55 million apps from the Play Store and App Store respectively. These are considered abandoned apps that have not been updated for more than two years. These abandoned apps account for more than one-third of the combined catalog of apps available on both app stores according to a report from analytics firm Pixalate (via CNET). 869,000 of these apps are found on the Google Play Store while the App Store houses 650,000.
You might be wondering why Apple and Google would decide all of a sudden to take action. After two years without receiving an update, an app is more susceptible to getting hacked. Both Apple and Google have policies in place to deal with apps that have been ignored by their developers. In the Play Store, an app that hasn’t been updated for more than two years is hidden from users and will not appear in search results.
Apple has also been known to remove neglected apps after two years. Despite what seems like a large number of apps considered to be abandoned, 68% of the apps in both stores, or 3.1 million titles, have been updated within the two year timeframe. The app categories most likely to be abandoned include Education, Reference, and Games.
Considering that children and teens are the target users of gaming apps, it surely would not be a good look for Apple and Google if it was discovered that many of them have not been updated leaving them wide open to being hacked.
Over 1.5 million iOS and Android apps have been abandoned
It turns out that the most frequently updated apps are the ones that have been downloaded the most. 84% of the apps with over 100 million downloads have been updated at least once over the last six months.
Pixalate also discovered 314,000 “Super-Abandoned” apps which are those that haven’t been updated in over five years. Of those neglected apps, 58% or 184,000 were found in the App Store. 42% or 130,000 of these ignored apps were discovered in the Google Play Store.
Older apps aren’t able to take advantage of newer security additions made to Android and iOS which is why both Apple and Google want to remove them from their respective app storefronts. However, smaller independent app developers complain that there is often nothing that they need to do after they release an app. These developers feel that they are being unfairly targeted by Apple and Google.