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Apple Warns It May Ban This From All iPhones

The tech giant announced a change to what will be available on your device.

It's not an overstatement to say that the iPhone has revolutionized technology in the 15 years since it was first released. The handheld devices ushered in a new era that allows us to snap photos, pay for groceries, or order dinner from the same type of gadget that was once limited to making phone calls. But as with any piece of technology, Apple is still fine-tuning how its most popular product works, including a recent announcement that it may be removing one thing that's available to all iPhones and iPads. Read on to see what could be disappearing from your device in the coming weeks.

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It's not uncommon for Apple to change what the iPhone offers on short notice.

apple warning with latest iPhones

Thanks to annual hardware updates, customers can expect new models of iPhones to go on sale each year that typically offer significant upgrades to everything from the camera and storage space to screen resolution or functionality. Apple also makes minor changes even between the release of each new device, especially as regular software updates that offer protection against security threats or provide new features.

But every so often, the tech giant has also stepped in to change certain things about how the devices work or what's available to customers. For example, in March of last year, Apple made a major push toward privacy protection when it announced that it would require apps that gather your personal data from use across devices to ask for permission with a prompt. And on March 1 of this year, the company said that it would be banning apps for Russian-state-controlled media outlets Russia Today (RT News) and Sputnik from its app store in every country except Russia after its invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Apple will also be removing a significant number of certain apps from its store in the coming days.

young black man confused while looking at phone

Now, there may be another major change coming to what's available for iPhone users to download. In a recent email to certain developers, Apple announced that it would be removing apps from its download store that had not been updated in a "significant amount of time" unless they submitted a new version of the flagged software within 30 days. The move could see roughly 3,000 apps dropped as the company continues its efforts to tidy up offerings on its online marketplace, TechCrunch reports.

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The company soon extended the deadline for developers to resubmit their apps.

A close-up of a person's hands holding an iPhone and texting

After the company's announcement immediately sparked an uproar from some developers, the company released a news statement on April 29 that helped clarify the initial email. Besides extending the reapplication process from 30 days to 90, Apple also explained that it has been using such methods to help organize its app store since 2016 "at the suggestion of developers." The company says that the process removes apps "that no longer function as intended, don't follow current review guidelines, or are outdated" and helps to "ensure apps work for the vast majority of users and support our latest innovations in security and privacy," adding that roughly 2.8 million apps have been removed over the past six years as a result.

The tech giant also clarified which specific apps were at risk of being dropped due to its policies. "Developers of apps that have not been updated within the last three years and fail to meet a minimal download threshold—meaning the app has not been downloaded at all or extremely few times during a rolling 12 month period—receive an email notifying them that their app has been identified for possible removal from the App Store," the company wrote.

The announcement sparked some immediate controversy among certain developers.

WROCLAW, POLAND - APRIL 12, 2016: Apple iPhone SE smartphone

The initial announcement from the company immediately stirred controversy, especially among smaller developers who may not have the ability to constantly refresh or update their apps that still function well, such as games.

"I feel sick. Apple just sent me an email saying they're removing my free game Motivoto because it's more than [two] years old," Robert Kabwe, a developer with Protopop Games, said in a tweet on April 22. "This is not cool. Console games from 2000 are still available for sale. This is an unfair barrier to indie devs."

Others pointed out contradictions in Apple's guidelines. In an April 23 tweet, developer Kosta Eleftheriou said the company had removed an app he had developed for the visually impaired because he hadn't updated it in two years—even though the once-popular game Pocket God was still available despite not having released an update in seven years, The Verge reports.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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