Research reveals over 1.5 million ‘abandoned’ mobile apps

In the wake of a recent discussion sparked on the web by Apple’s policy to remove outdated apps from the App Store, analytics firm Pixalate has released a report giving insight into the number of iOS apps and Android outdated and how long they haven’t received one. update.

The news that Apple was going to remove outdated apps from its App Store quickly made the rounds on the web a few weeks ago, when several developers announced that they had received an email warning about some of their apps. This led potentially affected developers to express concern that Apple’s policy was unfair to independent developers and especially game creators, possibly affecting thousands of people.

Pixalate claims to have scoured the App Store and Play Store to analyze all apps available for download based on their latest update to determine their degree of “abandonment”. Abandoned apps were defined by Pixalate as apps that had not received an update for more than two years, with “super abandoned apps” having not received an update for at least five years.

Based on previous definitions, Pixalate found more than 650,000 iOS apps and around 870,000 Android apps that qualified as abandoned apps. Of these, around 180,000 iOS apps and 130,000 Android apps are considered super abandoned. These figures, which amount to 1.5 million abandoned applications in total, may seem high. But even more striking is the fact that a number of them still receive a significant amount of downloads. Indeed, around 16% of apps with 1 to 10 million downloads and 6% of apps with more than 100 million downloads are abandoned apps.

Another interesting number that can be found in the Pixalate report is apps that have received updates in the last six months, which could be seen as a measure of actively supported apps, rising at 1.3 million. The Pixalate report also shows that super-abandoned apps are comparatively more abundant in the App Store than in the Play Store, although this figure is a bit harder to interpret.

Unsurprisingly, games appear to be a top category for discontinued apps in the Pixalate report, with over 50,000 iOS and Android games not having received an update in the past two years. The other two most dropped categories are reference and education. Interestingly, apps in the finance, health, and shopping categories are the ones that tend to receive more regular updates.

Considering the figure provided by Pixalate, the number of iOS apps that have not been updated in the last three years is around 450,000 apps, which means that more than 10% of apps on the App Store may be removed. Similarly, around 400,000 Android apps have not been updated in the last three years, representing just over 10% of the apps available on the Play Store. Google’s policy, however, appears to be stricter than Apple’s, aiming to remove apps targeting an API level over two years old. This would potentially affect over 800,000 Android apps.

To put these numbers into perspective, note that according to Statista, there are approximately 4 million iOS apps and 3 million Android apps available in their respective stores.

Casey J. Nelson