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Apple Starts App Store Cleanup, Removing Dregs

Today Apple is tending to some housekeeping chores in its App Store, cleaning out non-quality apps and providing mobile developers with guidance to keep their wares functional and engaging.

The company last week announced its store cleanup would begin today with a review of apps in all categories.

"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," the company said in a post on its developer site. "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of evaluating apps, removing apps that no longer function as intended, don't follow current review guidelines, or are outdated."

As explained in another post, the App Store cleanup is one of two suggestions from the developer community to help customers find valuable apps.

The other suggestion is to limit app names to 50 characters, making apps easier to search for. While that initiative will be enforced going forward in new apps and app updates submitted to ITunes Connect, the quality cleanup measure will likely result in some disgruntled developers when non-quality apps are removed.

"Quality is extremely important to us," the company said. "We know that many of you work hard to build innovative apps and update your apps on the App Store with new content and features. However, there are also apps on the App Store that no longer function as intended or follow current review guidelines, and others which have not been supported with compatibility updates for a long time. We are implementing an ongoing process of evaluating apps for these issues, notifying their developers, and removing problematic and abandoned apps from the App Store."

Apple pointed developers to its App Store Review Guidelines for guidance and best practices to maintain high-quality apps.

If non-quality apps are found, their developers will be contacted and asked to make changes to bring them up to par, Apple said, though apps that crash upon launching will be immediately taken down. Developers will have 30 days to bring their apps up to snuff, after which they'll be removed until a suitable update is provided.

Apps that are removed will continue to function for their current users -- including in-app purchases, a major revenue driver for many developers -- with no service interruptions.

In addition to the App Store Review Guidelines, Apple provided links to App Review Resources, Debugging Your Apps and Making Great Apps for the App Store.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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