It was recently discovered that over 420,000 apps were mysteriously removed from the App Store, with no explanation from Apple or its Devs (developers).
Of course, when it comes to the App Store, a public explanation for why an app was deleted isn’t necessary. Apps come and go for a variety of reasons, and requesting that each one is accompanied by its own public tweet or video message from Apple CEO Tim Cook is hardly a reasonable request. Apps disappearing from app stores like Google Play or, well, the App Store are usually owing to policy infractions that aren’t discovered until later, or because of a change in the community policy that the app’s developers don’t follow. Devs may usually claim ignorance, make the necessary modifications, and return to the stage with no more consequences.
See Also: Huawei Just Removed Around 190 Malicious Apps From Its AppGallery
This latest uninvited evacuation of over 400 thousand individual applications, on the other hand, piques our interest a little more than the usual app store disappearances. What prompted Apple to remove so many developers from its extremely lucrative store service in such a sweeping manner?
For those curious about how abrupt the transition was, AppFigures, a data analytics organization, reported that the absence occurred between April and July. Even a four-month timeframe is insufficient to warrant the large number of apps removed from the marketplace. So, what precisely did the Devs do to warrant such a harsh eviction? While we may not have definitive answers to such a topic, making assumptions and educated judgments is simple enough.
Apple’s Tracking/Transparency features went live at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, with app developers given until January of this year to make any necessary changes. In this sense, “fixing things up” refers to deleting any and all unwitting user data extraction from programs. There will be no siphoning of cookies, location data, browser history, or anything else without express user consent. Because consumers are unlikely to share such information on the spur of the moment, developers have to rethink their profit margins for their apps. Third-party advertisements were no longer an option.
What appears to be more plausible than anything else is that Apple just waited a little longer for applications to catch up then, when they didn’t, began an active campaign of removing non-compliant apps from the Store entirely.