Facilitating the Spread of Knowledge and Innovation in Professional Software Development

Write for InfoQ


Choose your language

InfoQ Homepage News Research Finds over 1.5 Million "Abandoned" Mobile Apps

Research Finds over 1.5 Million "Abandoned" Mobile Apps

This item in japanese

On the heels of a recent discussion sparked on the Web by Apple's policy aimed to remove outdated apps from the App Store, analytics company Pixalate released a report providing insight into how many iOS and Android apps are outdated and for how long they have not received any update.

The news that Apple was going to remove outdated apps from its App Store quickly made the rounds on the Web a few weeks ago, when several developers announced they had received a warning mail about some of their apps. This led potentially affected developers to voice their concern that Apple's policy was unfair for indie devs and specifically for game creators, possibly affecting thousands.

Pixalate claims they crawled the App Store and Play Store to analyze all apps available for download based on their last update to determine their degree of "abandonment". Abandoned apps were defined by Pixalate as those apps that had not received an update in over two years, with "super-abandoned apps" having not received an update in at least five years.

Based on the previous definitions, Pixalate found over 650k iOS apps and about 870k Android apps to qualify as abandoned apps. Of those, just about 180k iOS apps and 130k Android apps qualify as super-abandoned. Those numbers, amounting to 1.5 million abandoned apps overall, may appear high. But even more striking is the fact that a number of them still receive a significant amount of downloads. Indeed, approximately 16% of apps with 1-10 million downloads and 6% of apps with over 100 million downloads are abandoned apps.

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

Not surprisingly, games appear to be a top category for abandoned apps in Pixalate report, with over 50k iOS and Android games having not received an update in the last two years. The other two most-abandoned categories are reference and education. It is interesting to observe that apps belonging to the finance, health, and shopping categories are those that tend to receive updates on a more regular basis.

If we consider the figure provided by Pixalate, the number of iOS apps that haven't been updated for the last three years is roughly 450k apps, which means over 10% of the apps on the App Store could be at risk of being removed. Similarly, about 400k Android apps have not been updated in the last three years, which account for slightly over 10% of apps available on the Play Store. Google's policy, though, appears to be stricter than Apple's, aiming to remove apps targeting a more than two-year-old API level. This would potentially affect over 800k Android apps.

To put those number in perspective, note that according to Statista there are about 4 million iOS apps and 3 million Android apps available in their respective stores.

About the Author

Rate this Article