Millions of abandoned apps on Google Play and Apple Store

There were over 1.4 million abandoned apps on Google Play and Apple App Store in 2022, according to Pixelate’s Q4 2022 delisted mobile apps report. The good news is that it is down from 1.6M in 2021.

That represents 21% of Google Plays and 42% of Apple App Store’s active apps. Interestingly 51% of the Apps were on the App stores for less than one year, showing it is way too easy to throw together an App and try to monetise it. The figures below are for Google/Apple. Report here.

  • 47/56% had no privacy policy URL.
  • 90/97% data harvested location.
  • 47/69% data harvested adverting information.
  • 44/68% did both.
  • The majority did not list the country of origin.
  • China origin Apps comprised 6,441/13,728.
  • Russia origin Apps comprised 5,887/3162.
  • US origin Apps 25,812/42,368.

The top categories (in order) include Games, Entertainment, Music/Audio, Tools, Education, Books/Reference, Business, Finance, Lifestyle and Shopping.

Disturbingly over 44,000/58,200 were explicitly aimed at children.

The top 10 abandoned for each store are below, and there is an Excel link to the Top 200.

Apps can be delisted for things like breaching App store policies to the developer’s decision to no longer support it.

There are many issues with abandoned apps.

First, an abandoned App won’t receive updates, security patches and could be incompatible with later operating systems or policies.

Second, the App may still serve Programmatic Advertising, costing advertisers an estimated US$45 loss.

Third, the App may continue to track you and provide personally identifiable data to who knows who or where.

Finally, the App may spoof another popular App to enable malware or data harvesting.

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