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Apple has begun its massive purge of apps from the App Store

iPhone and iPad rest on a table, each with the App Store open.
Jongjet Klieanthong/123rf / Jongjet Klieanthong/123rf
Apple’s great purge of App Store apps has well and truly begun. The company announced in September that it would be removing apps that no longer worked as intended or didn’t follow guidelines from the App Store, and that process began in October.

So how many apps did the company remove? A massive 47,300. App removals jumped up a hefty 238 percent last month. Around 28 percent of the removals were games, with the next two top categories being entertainment, which accounted for 8.99 percent, and books, which ended up at 8.96 percent.

Data about the App Store purge comes from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, which says that while Apple does routinely get rid of outdated apps from the App Store, it’s now doing so three to four times more than it did on average between the months of January and September.

When Apple first announced the purge, it said that it would send a notice to developers, who would have 30 days to update their apps before they would be removed. While there was clearly a spike in app deletions, it’s unlikely that the purge has finished — we’ll probably see more apps deleted over the next few months, and Apple will most likely keep a close tab on apps going forward to ensure that the App Store is as up to date as it possibly can be.

We don’t know exactly how Apple defines apps as “abandoned,” but in a message to developers, it said it would delete apps that haven’t been supported “for a long time.” In other words, it’s totally up to Apple’s discretion when it comes to the apps that are being removed.

It’s also important to note that despite the fact that Apple is removing so many apps, the App Store is still growing. Sensor Tower says that the App Store could double in size by 2020, to a robust 5 million apps.

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