We often talk about the number of applications downloaded daily from App store And google play, which perform better and which prove more profitable for developers, but there’s less discussion about how much of the two stores’ vast app fleet gets updated on a regular basis. An interesting study sheds light on the phenomenon, highlighting how the so-called app “discontinued“, or apps that haven’t received any updates in the past two years represent a far from negligible percentage.
OVER 1.5 MILLION ABANDONED APPS
According to Pixalate estimates, by the end of the first quarter of 2022, the abandoned apps in both stores are in total more than 1.5 million: 650,000 are in the App Store, 869,000 in the Play Store.
For reference, 1.3 million apps were updated in Q4 2021 and Q1 2022; to put it another way, apps that haven’t been updated in the past two years outnumber those updated in the six months to March 31. And again: 1.5 million applications represent about 30% of all those existing in the two stores (5000000).
But there is even worse: the analysis also highlights the existence of the beyond. 314,000 apps that haven’t received new updates in over 5 years, and are split almost evenly between the two stores: 58% (184,000) on the App Store and 42% on Google Play (130,000). Those who have not received updates for over four years are 500,000.
The consequences of this graveyard of apps – which nevertheless continue to be downloadable – are easily understood: an obsolete app is a source of potential risks to user safety who continue to use it. The good thing is the most downloaded applications seem to regularly receive new updates: 88% of apps with more than 1 million downloads (in total) were updated during the observation period (beginning of October 2021 – end of March 2022).
The study also provides some predictions on which app categories are likely to be updated regularly, namely Finance, Health, and Shopping. And rather After games and educational apps are at risk of being abandoned: 38% of these applications have not received updates in the last two years; a not very encouraging prospect because they are mainly used by younger users who thus expose themselves to the aforementioned risks.
WHAT APPLE AND GOOGLE DO
Pixelate’s analysis attempts to quantify the consistency of outdated apps across the two major stores, but both Apple and Google are aware of the phenomenon and have already put measures in place to combat it. The Cupertino house started last month warning developers of apps that haven’t been updated in a while (rather vague indication) that if the update fails within the next 30 days it would have deleted the content from the App Store. Instead, Google formalized the new rule that requires developers to use APIs that are less than two years old from the last major Android release; otherwise, the applications will not be deleted but will no longer be identifiable by users.