Total Number of App Store Apps Shrank in 2017 Thanks to Apple’s Quality Crackdown

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The number of apps available in the App Store shrank for the first time ever in 2017, according to data shared today by App Store analytics company Appfigures (via TechCrunch).

At the end of 2017, there were 2.1 million iOS apps available in the App Store, compared to 2.2 million apps at the beginning of the year.


Starting in September of 2016, Apple told developers it would be removing old, outdated apps that had not been updated with compatibility for more recent devices or no longer complied with current review guidelines.

Apple also created new App Store guidelines limiting apps created from commercialized templates or app generation services, and officially banned virus scanning apps, plus it cracked down on clone and spam apps, all of which contributed to the company’s App Store cleanup efforts.

Changes in iOS 11 may have had the biggest impact on the available number of apps in the App Store, though. With iOS 11, Apple stopped supporting 32-bit apps, which the company began phasing out in 2013. 32-bit apps do not open on devices running iOS 11, nor can older 32-bit apps be found in the App Store.

Since 2015, Apple has required all apps and app updates to use 64-bit architecture, so apps that became defunct with iOS 11 had not been updated in at least two years.

Appfigures says that the decrease in apps can also be attributed to a dip in the number of new apps submitted by developers in 2017. Just 755,000 new apps were added to the App Store in 2017, down 29 percent from the previous year. This too could be attributed to Apple’s more restrictive App Store policies cutting down on low-quality apps.


While the number of App Store apps has declined due to Apple’s efforts to make sure apps in the App Store are prioritizing quality, Google Play growth has accelerated. In 2017, Google Play reached 3.6 million available apps, a growth of 30 percent. Android developers released 1.5 million new apps in 2017, up 17 percent.

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The iOS App Store Shrank for the First Time in 2017

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Last year, Apple removed hundreds of thousands of scammy and low-quality apps from the App Store. It also tightened the rules and regulations on the App Store that led to the removal of many apps and also phased out 32-bit apps from the App Store. The result of all this? Continue reading
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App Store shrank for first time in 2017 thanks to crackdowns on spam, clones and more

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The App Store shrank for the first time in 2017, according to a new report from Appfigures. The report found the App Store lost 5 percent of its total apps over the course of the year, dropping from 2.2 million published iOS apps in the beginning of the year to 2.1 million by year-end.

Google Play, meanwhile, grew in 2017 — it was up 30 percent to more than 3.6 million apps.

Appfigures speculated the changes had to do with a combination of factors, including stricter enforcement of Apple’s review guidelines, along with a technical change requiring app developers to update their apps to the 64-bit architecture.

Apple had also promised back in 2016 that it would clean up its iOS App Store by removing outdated, abandoned apps, including those that no longer met current guidelines or didn’t function as intended. That cleanup may have well stretched into 2017, as app store intelligence firms only started seeing the effects in late 2016. For example, there was a spike in app removals back in October 2016.

Then in 2017, Apple went after clones and spam apps on the App Store. Combined with those apps that weren’t 64-bit compatible and those that hadn’t been downloaded in years, the removals reached into the hundreds of thousands over a 12-month period. Apple later went after template-based apps, too, before dialing back its policies over concerns it was impacting small businesses’ ability to compete on the App Store.

To see the App Store shrink, given these clear-outs, isn’t necessarily surprising. However, Appfigures found that removals of existing apps weren’t the only cause. iOS developers weren’t releasing as many apps as they had during the growth years, it also claims.

Android developers launched 17 percent more apps in 2017 to reach 1.5 million total new releases. But iOS developers launched just 755,00 new apps — a 29 percent drop and the largest drop since 2008.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean developers weren’t creating as many iOS apps — it could mean that Apple’s review team has gotten tougher about how many apps it allows in. Thanks to the spam and clone app crackdown, fewer apps of questionable quality are being approved these days.

In addition, some portion of the new Android app releases during the year were iOS apps being ported to the Google Play platform. More than twice as many apps came to Android in 2017 than Android apps coming to iOS, the report said.

The full report also developed into the numbers of cross-platform apps (450,000 are on both stores), the most popular non-native tools (Cordova and Unity), the rise in native development, the countries shipping the most apps (U.S. followed by China) and the Play Store’s growth.

It can be viewed here.

 

Mobile – TechCrunch

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