There could soon be far fewer apps in the App Store

App Store

There's a huge number of high quality apps available for iOS devices, but there's also a huge number of rubbish, broken or outdated ones, and Apple is set to address this by performing a cull of those that don't meet the company's exacting standards.

In an FAQ page Apple has revealed that it will begin reviewing and removing apps on September 7. Quality, up to date content will be safe, but any apps that crash on launch will be removed from the store immediately, while for other issues developers will be given 30 days to make any necessary changes.

Problem apps include those which no longer function as intended or which haven't been updated in a long time. Another potential issue is with naming, as long app names full of descriptions and search terms have been used for some apps in an attempt to push them to the top of search lists.

These are spammy names, usually attached to spammy apps, and they simply clutter up the search, so Apple is requiring new and updated apps to have names of 50 characters or less.

These changes should be good for users. Apple's App Store is already generally known for quality over quantity (at least in comparison to Google Play, which often feels like a free-for-all), but with over 2 million apps available on iOS it's no surprise that there's still a quality issue with many of them.

There's not an app for that

While the change will probably mostly remove worthless apps and spur developers of higher quality abandoned apps into finally updating them, it does raise a couple of interesting questions.

Firstly, will the number of available apps significantly drop? The figure is largely irrelevant to most users, but has been a point of pride for Apple and makes for an easy way to compare app stores, so Apple may not want to see it drop below the 2 million mark.

Secondly, will any popular or useful apps get swept away? By the sounds of things, the changes shouldn't affect quality apps that function on iOS 9, but a quick trip to the store shows that many apps haven't been updated in years, and these may be targeted.

The good news is that if your favorite app is removed you'll still be able to use it, it just won't be available on the App Store any more, but hopefully that will push the developers to submit a new and improved version.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.