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 a third of the total catalog of apps available in both app stores, according to a report by the analytics firm Pixalat (via CNET). 869,000 of these apps are in the Google Play Store, while the App Store houses 650,000.
You may be wondering why Apple and Google would suddenly decide to act. After two years without receiving an update, an app is more susceptible to being 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 has not been updated for more than two years is hidden from users and does not appear in search results.
Apple has also been known to remove neglected apps after two years. Despite what appears to be a large number of apps considered abandoned, 68% of apps in both stores, or 3.1 million titles, have been updated within the two-year time frame. The app categories that are most likely to be abandoned include education, reference, and games.
Given that kids and teens are the target users of gaming apps, it would certainly not be a good look for Apple and Google if it were discovered that many of them have not been updated, leaving them 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 apps with over 100 million downloads have been updated at least once in the last six months.
Pixalate also discovered 314,000 “Super-Abandoned” apps, which are the ones that haven’t been updated in over five years. Of these neglected apps, 58% or 184,000 were found in the App Store. 42% or 130,000 of these ignored apps were detected in the Google Play Store.
Older apps are not able to take advantage of newer security additions to Android and iOS, which is why both Apple and Google want to remove them from their respective app store facades. But less independent app developers complain that often there is nothing they need to do after releasing an app. These developers feel that they are being unfairly targeted by Apple and Google.