Home / Companies / News /  Over 15 lakh abandoned apps on Google, Apple may be removed soon. Here's why

There is always a risk to safety and security when a mobile application becomes abandoned or outdated. To ensure users have the latest privacy and security features, both Google and Apple are taking additional measures to eliminate apps that pose threat to consumers' credentials. The latest report shows that there are more than 1.5 million mobile apps on Google and Apple that have appeared to be abandoned by end of the first quarter of 2022. Chances are that these apps may soon exit from your Play store or iOS.

Research conducted by Pixalate shows that there are over 1.5 million apps listed in the Google Play and Apple App stores that appear to have been “abandoned," meaning that they haven’t been updated in over two years.

Notably, 1.5 million apps account to be 30% of all the 5 million mobile apps available for download that have appeared to be abandoned.

Pixalate analysis reveals that there are 314,000 “Super-Abandoned" apps on Google and Apple. This means that the apps are not updated in more than 5 years. Of total super abandoned apps - 58% or 184,000 apps are in the Apple store and 42% or 130,000 apps in the Google Play Store.

The application categories that are most likely to be abandoned are - Education, Reference, and Games, which are often popular with children.

On the other hand, 1.3 million mobile apps accounting for 28% of all apps have been updated in the past six months, as of the end of Q1 2022.

Pixalate's data highlights that 'more updates means more downloads'. It states of apps with over 1 million downloads, 88% have been updated within the last six months.

Meanwhile, categories like Finance, Health, and Shopping are top in the charts of being regularly updated and most likely to be innovative.

As per Pixalate, “Abandoned" apps may harbor serious safety and security concerns. With the growing awareness of consumer privacy concerns, this issue becomes even more important.

It added that the most innovative apps regularly release new improved versions with bug fixes and security patches. Further, Pixalate guided that advertisers need to take notice of how frequently apps are updated before deciding to invest.

Apple and Google both have announced their measures to remove outdated apps.

On its App Store Improvements, Apple has said, "to make it easier for customers to find great apps that fit their needs, we want to ensure that apps available on the App Store are functional and up to date. We are implementing an ongoing process of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don’t follow current review guidelines, or are outdated.

Apple has said that the App Store will evaluate apps in all categories to make sure they function as expected, follow current review guidelines, and are up to date.

Further, Apple mentions that developers of apps that have not been updated within the last three years and fail to meet a minimal download threshold — meaning the app have not been downloaded at all or extremely few times during a rolling 12 month period — receive an email notifying them that their app has been identified for possible removal from the App Store.

"The App Store team will contact you and ask you to make any necessary changes for your app to stay on the App Store. However, apps that crash on launch will be removed immediately from the App Store," Apple said on its developer website.

Last month, Google said, "as part of Google Play’s latest policy updates, we are taking additional steps to protect users from installing apps that may not have the latest privacy and security features by expanding our target level API requirements."

According to Google, starting on November 1, 2022, existing apps that don’t target an API level within two years of the latest major Android release version will not be available for discovery or installation for new users with devices running Android OS versions higher than apps’ target API level. As new Android OS versions launch in the future, the requirement window will adjust accordingly.

In its rationale, Google explains that users with the latest devices or those who are fully caught up on Android updates expect to realize the full potential of all the privacy and security protections Android has to offer. Expanding our target level API requirements will protect users from installing older apps that may not have these protections in place.

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