Apple to impose 50-character limit on app names, remove poorly maintained apps

By , Sep 1, 2016

App Store Feaetured tab teaser 001

Apple just sent an email blast to its registered developers to inform them that it’s implementing two suggestions from the developer community starting September 7, 2016, the same day the iPhone 7 event is scheduled to take place. The first concerns “abandoned” apps that no longer function as advertised and the other deals with funny tricks some developers resort to in an effort to game the system.

Your TL;DR version:

  • “Problematic” and ”abandoned” apps (that have not been maintained or received compatibility updates in ages) will be removed from the store starting September 7. Apps that don’t work as advertised or follow iOS development guidelines will also be removed.
  • Apps with names longer than 50 characters won’t be accepted and this applies to both new submissions and updates to existing apps. Apple found that some developers have used “extremely long” app names in an effort to influence App Store search results.

Here’s Apple’s letter to developers in its entirety.

Dear Developer,

We love helping customers discover innovative, useful, and exciting apps on the App Store. With more than 2 million apps available and around 100,000 new and updated apps submitted each week, there’s something for everyone. To make it easier for customers to find great apps that fit their needs, we’re implementing two suggestions from the developer community starting September 7, 2016.

Quality Apps
Quality is extremely important to us. We know that many of you work hard to build innovative apps and update your apps on the App Store with new content and features. However, there are also apps on the App Store that no longer function as intended or follow current review guidelines, and others which have not been supported with compatibility updates for a long time. We are implementing an ongoing process of evaluating apps for these issues, notifying their developers, and removing problematic and abandoned apps from the App Store.

Shorter App Names
Search is one of the most frequently used methods for customers to discover and download apps from the App Store. In hopes of influencing search results, some developers have used extremely long app names which include descriptions and terms not directly related to their app. These long names are not fully displayed on the App Store and provide no user value. App names you submit in iTunes Connect for new apps and updates will now be limited to no longer than 50 characters. You can learn more about creating effective app names, as well as icons, keywords, screenshots, and descriptions, by reading the App Store Product Page.

If you have any questions, contact us.

Best regards,
Apple Developer Relations

Apple’s dedicated webpage has more info on recent App Store improvements.

On a related note, Apple today also updated the official App Store Review Guidelines with information on app subscriptions, SiriKit and downloadable iMessage content.

You can read these updated guidelines on Apple’s website.

Thanks, Seb!

Source: Apple

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  • Agneev Mukherjee

    About time… Just love this quality check. We don’t want iOS to be anything like Android.

    • Mike

      Yes we don’t want iOS to be anything like android where you can download apk. files off the mobile browser…

      • Rei

        Okay, that was uncalled for. What about us hard working developers who send out private custom builds to our team?!? Or you also have the fans that also want to contribute in things such as translations or improved code? How about closed betas.. ..I’m pretty triggered how you can see that as a downside, there isn’t anything wrong with it because you could just use a verification module if you are going against piracy. Ever hear about Xposed? Us developers make private or open custom builds for different roms and devices that—I’ll stop there, you clearly are just…lesser

      • Mike

        Calm down… Just because I said you can download apk. files off the mobile browser doesn’t mean that it’s always about paid apps… Yeah some apps are good but there are other reason people download them for. For me I look for older version of apps or root apps that you can’t always find on the playstore. I have xposed on my phone and I use that too… Plus when I have to pay for an app off the playstore I have google survey so I actually pay for the apps I need.

  • Great decision by Apple. I’m glad to see they don’t want to inflate app numbers by keeping abandoned apps.

    • Agneev Mukherjee

      Yeah, but it won’t be 2 million anymore, will it?

      • Elias Chao

        They could state that they’re sure about the quality of every single app in the store, unlike other platforms.

      • No, and that’s fine

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        I agree.

  • Rowan09


  • DOOManiac

    Hope the “abandoned” app threshold really does mean that it doesn’t work anymore, and not just the look/feel. I’ve got a few crucial apps I use daily that were never ported to the iOS7 look & feel. But I need them and there are no readily available replacements…

    • I think the process goes like this: Apple finds an app that doesn’t work anymore due to a lack of updates. Apple contacts the developers to find out if they’re going to update it. If Apple doesn’t hear back soon enough, the app is deemed abandoned & removed.

    • Assuming it still functions wholly then it should be safe, whether it’s officially updated or not.

    • The Guy

      Like what apps?? Name what you’re talking about because I’m sure they are updated or have better versions.

  • Ernie Marin

    About time those “Super fun time shooting gun time fun game super gun” are removed, those are nothing but scams and should have never made it into the store.

    • Tim Johnson

      So 50 characters would get you here: “”Super fun time shooting gun time fun game super g”

  • John Smith

    I just wish they mandated 4-inch adaptations of apps when the iPhone 5 came out. At least that way 6S and Plus users would still have full screen apps rather than black borders.

    • The Guy

      Name some apps because I’m not seeing any that aren’t …

      • John Smith

        Virtual Families, Spore (Evolution and Origins made by EA), Fortress Wars, a LOT of games from 2009, bunch of useful calculator apps, useless flashlight apps, etc. You might not be an app user, but for those of us who challenge Apple’s “there’s an app for everything”, there really is. And unfortunately a quarter of them haven’t been updated since Steve died.

      • The Guy

        Geez, at least name something useful and in the past 2 or 3 years, all that you listed so far is pretty crappy even then, lol.

  • Finally. I’m tired of seeing games like “Flappy Frozen GO: Crush the Minion Candy before Angry Bird Clans Clash vs. Craft Zombies!” that try to fit keywords from popular apps despite them being totally irrelevant.

  • mrgerbik

    so what about apps that work fine on older devices? Are they considered ‘abandoned?’