Apple updates App Store developer guidelines ahead of iOS 10

The days are numbered for iOS apps that crash instantly upon launch or that use lengthy names to game search results, according to Apple's newly revised set of App Store developer policies.

Apple is cleaning up the App Store as it prepares to release iOS 10, a new generation of iPhones and an updated Apple Watch at its annual product showcase on Sept. 7. The company says it will begin to enforce stricter guidelines and a more comprehensive review process for software in the App Store. Apps that have been abandoned by their developers or "no longer function as intended" will be removed from the shop, according to Apple.

"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," Apple wrote in an email distributed to iOS developers. "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."

[Related: What Apple’s new open stance means for iOS apps]

When Apple encounters an issue with an app, it plans to contact the developer and inform them of the new 30-day timeframe to make the necessary changes and submit an update for approval. Apps that instantly crash after they're launched will be removed immediately.

Apple evaluates 100,000 apps every week

Apple plans to evaluate the more than 2 million apps that are currently available in the App Store, to enforce these policies across the entire iOS catalog. The company says it already reviews around 100,000 new and updated app submissions each week. Apps that Apple removes from the App Store will remain fully functional for current users.

Apple also announced that iOS app names are now limited to 50 characters. "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," Apple wrote. "These long names are not fully displayed on the App Store and provide no user value."

The company's App Store Product Page offers a set of best practices for developers to help create effective app names, icons, keywords, screenshots and descriptions. And Apple published a FAQ page for developers to further explain the recent changes.

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Matt Kapko

CIO (US)
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