More than 1.5 million Android and iOS applications would be “abandoned”

Apple and Google launch the hunt for poorly maintained applications by their developers. But how many, exactly, have not been updated for several years?

At Apple as at Google, we have taken it into our heads to fight more effectively – and therefore more radically – against so-called “abandoned” applications, namely those which are no longer updated by their developers. Two main reasons for this: these neglected applications can potentially pose security problems while they do not guarantee optimal operation on the most recent terminals. New measures that raise a question: are these abandoned applications that many on the App Store and the Play Store?

To find out, we can turn to a study by Pixalate which analyzed the update cycles of the applications present on these platforms in order to isolate all those which have not been updated for two years or more. After reviewing some 5 million apps, it turns out that a third of them can be considered “abandoned”, or 1.5 million apps in total. Conversely, 1.3 million apps received an update in the last six months. Other information, the App Store has more non-updated applications: 53% of those that have not been touched up for four to five years are on the Apple store. A figure that rises to 58% beyond five years of neglect, despite the fact that the Play Store has more applications (about 3.2 million) than the App Store (about 2 million).

The same objective, but not the same rules

As a reminder, Apple will be a little more flexible, the new rule being to consider as “abandoned” applications that have not been updated for at least three years. Those of them that have not reached a minimum threshold of downloads will be removed from the App Store. A 90-day reprieve will nevertheless be granted to their developers, who will be invited to bring their creations up to date according to more modern standards. Note that apps that have disappeared from the App Store will continue to work on the terminals where they are installed and that in-app purchases will still be active if necessary.

On the Google side, developers have been informed of similar measures which will take effect at the end of 2022. In detail, the technique differs since dated applications will only be hidden from Play Store listings if they do not support a API level set at two years. Again, only new installations will be prevented and developers can avoid the sentence by reworking their apps.

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