Categories: iOS / Mobile Apps


If the App Store is looking a little leaner these days, there’s a reason. With iOS 11 and the revamped App Store just about to launch, Apple has begun some serious mobile app spring cleaning efforts. The target: the thousands of cloned or spammy apps gumming up the App Store’s shelves.

One-click apps are out

No clones, says the App Store about that mobile app.

No clones, says the App Store about that mobile app.

Per the App Store Review Guidelines, “apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.” Simple, one-click template apps such as clones of the hit games Flappy Bird or Candy Crush are the main objects of the clean-up.

These are the kind of apps that flood the store seemingly moments after an app hits #1 . Aka the ones hoping to cash in on the success of the original. Hundreds of thousands of such apps have been removed already, showing just how widespread the issue is.

These problematic apps go beyond annoying clones, however. Some take their copyright infringement to the next level. Music sharing applications, for example, take and disseminate pirated content on a mass scale – cashing in on royalties along the way. Other spam apps basically exist purely to get one particular ad in front of users. None of them are designed to be long-lived. By the time they’re shut down, they’ve already made their developers some quick cash.

Is your mobile app in danger?

Apple says no to that cloned mobile app.

Apple says no to that cloned mobile app.

But what about other, legit apps created through templates? After all, tools such as Appy Pie and Nativ are designed to help businesses build an app without knowing how to code. And many dev shops use templates at some point during the app development process. An app that’s hand-coded from start to finish is a bit of a unicorn these days. So when does “template” end and from-scratch begin?

According to TechCrunch, it’s more about the spirit of the law than the letter of the law. Apps that look and feel unique, even if you’ve built them entirely from templates, are fine. Ones that are simply a spun-up clone, on the other hand? No bueno.

Even so, mobile app developers creating a mobile app for someone else should be mindful of whose name is on the final product. If you’re shipping all your client apps under your own name, you might want to rethink that practice – unless you’re in charge of support for that app.

Three cheers for better apps

The idea that thousands of apps can suddenly get wiped from the app store might sound a bit scary. But the reality is that it’s great for users and app developers alike. The quality of apps on the App Store will increase dramatically – and so will our collective digital experience.



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