Apple Trashes ‘Hundreds of Thousands’ of Apps in Aggressive Cleaning Spree

iOS-11-App-Store Credit: Jakt
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Since the App Store will be adopting a whole new UI design as part of the upcoming iOS 11 software update, Apple has gone to great lengths in order to “clean house” ahead of the impending refresh; and according to a report published this week by TechCrunch, Cupertino has so far removed a boat load of outdated, incompatible, or otherwise spammy apps from the App Store.

But Apple isn’t stopping there, according to the report, which goes on to cite the company’s renewed focus on detecting and clearing out so-called “clone and spam applications” (or those “carbon copy” apps created primarily using one-click app generators, which have become increasingly popular tools in recent years). According to Apple’s updated App Store Review Guidelines, any “apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected,” as the company seeks to crackdown on the influx of spammy, duplicate apps that have metastasized the app store.

For instance, some amateur developers have taken popular titles like Flappy Bird, for instance, and by utilizing one of these so-called “one-click app generators,” have been able to produce eerily similar apps that have essentially “taken over” the app store. There are currently “thousands” of Flappy Bird-styled games available, for example, with nearly all having been created using a 1-click template.

TechCrunch notes that this issue stretches much farther than games, though, and some nefarious developers have resorted to creating inherently illegal apps for things like music streaming — most, if not all, of which have been found to draw upon pirated content as their main source of revenue generation.

“There are hundreds of copies of music-streaming apps that shill pirated content to make it harder to track them down one by one and allow for single-shot bursts of revenue capture before they’re found out or retired,” TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino said.

Apple’s move to intensify cracking down on these clone apps is constituent with its recently announced plans to cleanup the app store in general. Thus far, the report alleges that Apple has cleared “hundreds of thousands” of apps, including clones, spam apps, apps that haven’t been downloaded “in years,” as well as any remaining 32-bit apps whose developers have no plan or intention to provide an update for iOS 11’s compatibility with 64-bit apps only.

“It’s my understanding that this cleanup has resulted in hundreds of thousands (yes, multiple hundreds of thousands) of apps being removed from the store over the past year,” Panzarino said. “That includes clones, but also things like apps that aren’t 64-bit compatible, apps that are unused (haven’t been downloaded in years) and other scammy boat trash.”

Apple’s plans to begin cleaning up “problematic and abandoned” apps were first announced last October, and the company erased upwards of 50,000 apps as part of that effort; however, with a brand-new app store experience looming in iOS 11, Apple’s cleanup efforts have become increasingly aggressive, its app submission rules more strict, and its apparent desire to create a top-notch app store stronger than ever before.


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