The Google Play Store could see the number of available apps drop by nearly a third as Google prepares to purge apps that haven’t been updated.
Google and Apple have both unveiled measures to deal with abandoned apps or apps that have not been updated in two years. In Google’s case, that amounts to 869,000 apps, while Apple has some 650,000. According to CNET, Google is preparing to hide those apps, making it impossible for users to download them until the developers update them.
The main reason both companies are taking these measures is to protect their users’ security. Older apps don’t take advantage of changes in Android and iOS, new APIs, or new development methods that bring enhanced protection. As a result, older apps can have security flaws that newer apps don’t have.
At the same time, some developers have complained about plans to remove apps that haven’t been updated in two years. In some cases, such as indie game makers, there’s very little to do once a simple game has been made and released. Such developers feel Apple and Google’s actions put an unfair burden on them.
Either way, neither company seems willing to alter course, and — indie developers’ concerns notwithstanding — it’s the right call for user security.