While mobile apps are an essential part of everyday life, there are several out there that haven’t seen an update in a while, and many on the Play Store are currently inactive. Research firm Pixalate conducted a detailed analysis of these “abandoned” apps on Android and iOS. An abandoned app, in the research firm’s words, is an app that hasn’t been updated for at least two years.
As per the firm’s report, approximately 1.5 million out of the 5 million (30%) mobile apps have been abandoned. Pixalate said roughly 870,000 apps on the Play Store come under the two-year bracket. This amounts to a third of all current Play Store apps. Meanwhile, around 314,000 apps on both Android and iOS last saw an update five or more years ago.
Apple’s iOS has around 290,000 apps that haven’t seen an update in four or more years. But there are some positives too. Around 1.3 million apps across the Play Store and App Store have been updated in the last six months (as of Q1 2022).
Numbers from alternative app hubs such as the Amazon Appstore for Android do not feature in the report. Despite this crucial caveat, it’s clear that thousands of app developers simply give up on their apps, for whatever reason. The good news for consumers is that Google is already taking steps to ensure apps receive frequent updates or risk termination from the Play Store.
Education apps and games on the Play Store are more likely to become inactive
Pixalate also offers insight into the categories of apps that could become inactive. For example, apps relating to education, general reference, or games are likely to fall out of favor. These apps are usually popular among children. On the flip side, apps that fall into categories like Health, Shopping, and Finance are more likely to receive frequent updates.
Abandoned apps pose security risks in the form of malware or phishing attacks, Pixalate points out. One of the primary purposes of frequent app updates is to patch any bugs or preexisting security vulnerabilities.
As Android apps are now available in more places than ever (including Windows 11), Google is likely to start taking inactive apps more seriously. The report also serves as a cautionary tale for budding app developers.