The number of titles available in Apple’s app store shrank for the first time in 2017, according to a report from Appfigures. That might sound like Apple should be concerned, but it’s mostly the company’s own actions that are responsible for the decline.
Both Apple’s App Store and Google Play experienced years of consistent growth up until 2017, at which point Google’s store jumped 30 percent to 3.6 million apps, while Apple dropped 5 percent—from 2.2 million to 2.1 million.
Appfigures writes that iOS developers did launch fewer apps in 2017 than in previous years—755,000, a drop of 29 percent compared to the year before—but there are several other factors behind the decline. Google developers, by contrast, released 17 percent more apps last year, bringing the total number of new releases to 1.5 million.
As noted by TechCrunch, Apple in late 2016 said it would delete “problematic and abandoned apps” from the App Store. The company increased its efforts in 2017 when it expanded its cleanup campaign to include clone and spam applications. It also went after older apps that hadn’t been updated to support 64-bit architecture, along with those that hadn’t seen any new downloads in years. Altogether, the purge saw hundreds of thousands of apps removed.
Appfigures suspects that the decrease in the number of new iOS apps could be due to Apple rejecting more store submissions as a result of its tighter guidelines. The publication adds that twice as many apps were ported from iOS to Android than from Android to iOS.