App Store cleanup

I’m in favor of Apple’s upcoming app store cleanup, as long as they err on the side of keeping an app in the store if it isn’t clearly broken or abandoned. They should start slow with the obvious cases: crashing on launch, not updated for retina or even 4-inch screens. There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit that could be programmatically swept through.

David Smith wrote about this kind of App Store cleanup over 3 years ago, arguing that Apple could do a lot without getting into the subjective quality of an app:

Instead, I think Apple would be well served to adopt objective measures for quality or at least freshness to improve the overall quality of the Store. Adopting such a policy wouldn’t fundamentally change the situation for developers; every app they submit already has to be approved. All that this would do is apply some of those same required criteria to the app on an ongoing basis.

John Voorhees picked up on the urgency of Apple’s new policy for an article at MacStories:

We are well past the time when the number of apps served as meaningful bragging rights for Apple keynotes. The directness in tone and relatively short time frame given to developers to make changes to apps sends a clear message – Apple is serious about cleaning up the App Store.

It remains a challenge to preserve the part of our culture that is captured in old apps. I wish Apple could aggressively curate the App Store and allow old apps to be archived and available. But that’s far from an Apple priority. For now, it’s right to present the best possible user experience for App Store customers.