The newest iOS won't support older apps, so Apple is removing them from its store. Here's what you can do if your apps are in danger of becoming obsolete.
By Julie Bawden Davis
Seeking to provide the best user experience for app users, Apple is currently removing hundreds of outdated apps from its App Store.
“Apple is responsible for the safety and speed of iOS and the iPhone," says Andrew Gazdecki, founder and CEO of Bizness Apps, a platform that allows business owners to cost-effectively build mobile apps. “If an app isn't up-to-date with Apple's latest engineering tools and using 64-bit support, it will be removed from the Apple App Store."
The reason for outdated app removals is clear. “Apple has to drive continual sales of their devices, so consumers must see a true perceivable difference in capability and performance year over year to continue purchasing," says Joe Puthur, president of Mortgage Coach, an app that helps consumers make mortgage decisions.
“It's completely plausible, even expected, that new phones running 32-bit apps would appear slower and less responsive than models generations older running those same apps," adds Puthur. “If a developer is unwilling or unable to even complete this basic maintenance function, then there's no choice but to remove the outdated app for the benefit of the user and developer communities."
Updating Apps Beneficial to Business
If a business's apps are being actively maintained, updates occur on a regular basis. At least once a year there are iOS version updates to ensure the app is compatible with the latest version and security expectations, notes Puthur.
“Business owners who have maintained their apps and demonstrated that they're both relevant and essential via periodic updates and a growing audience will benefit and gain visibility in their respective spaces," he says.
On the other hand, developers who haven't pursued growing their apps and respective audiences, but have posted apps simply for purposes of branding, may find themselves at risk of being removed from the App Store, Puthur continues. “The more crowded the App store space, the more pressure on Apple to ensure the best-performing apps are easily found."
If you're relying on app usage to provide benefits to your target audience, consider making updates—even small ones—and posting them periodically.
“Updating apps can be as easy as only changing the version number and recompiling with the current SDK [software development kit], if there aren't bugs to fix," says Puthur. “This is required, anyway, for something as routine as switching App Store images."
Take Advantage of App Updates
Not updating your apps today may end up costing you more tomorrow. “In every enterprise solution category—ERP [enterprise resource planning], CRM [customer relationship management], POS [point of sale]—there are new modern disruptors, often both mobile and cloud-based, delivering far more value for far less investment," says Puthur. “Business leaders need to take on the small, short-term pain of change to reap the benefits. The measurable ROI of being mobile optimized is usually very clear."
To update, you first need to find out if your mobile app is still using the old 32-bit support, says Gazdecki. “To check, open settings, tap on general, tap on about and select applications. This brings up a list of the installed apps that are 32-bit support. If your app is, you'll need to reach out to your mobile app developer and make some upgrades to ensure the app meets Apple's standards."
When you do make upgrades, consider that the iOS update Apple releases contain dozens of enhancements that can improve user experience, says Puthur. “To be a true innovator you must make yourself aware of these opportunities and consistently improve."
Take advantage of updating your app. “Focus on ways of making your app essential to your targets, and you'll successfully grow your audience and your business," says Puthur. “Gaining customer feedback, usage analytics and competitive analysis are all good tools to use in maintaining a successful app."