Why Apple is cracking down on ‘free’ apps


Apple is making more moves to clean up its App Store.

After cracking down on outdated apps, the company is now placing restrictions on how developers describe their apps. Apple is now rejecting updated and new app submissions that have the word “free” in the name, VentureBeat reports.

“Your app’s name, icons, screenshots, or previews to be displayed on the App Store include references to your app’s price,” Apple reportedly pointed out.

“Please remove any references to your app’s price from your app’s name, including any references to your app being free or discounted.”

Apple has yet to comment on the change other than to confirm its existence but the policy change is yet another sign Cupertino is looking to clean up its App Store.

The company is also cracking down on outdated apps that haven’t been optimized for newer iPhones and iPads, which could include as many as 200,000 apps. That’s in addition to the 47,000 apps Apple removed earlier this year.



While the change in how developers describe their apps in the App Store seems like a more subtle shift, it fits with the company’s ongoing efforts to scrub old and low-quality apps out of its store. Many developers use “free” in their app names to try and game the store’s search algorithms and lure new users.

Doing so may help an app appear higher in some search results but few high-quality apps actually use the word “free” in their name (with the possible exception of apps that have both a free and paid app). Apple could now be trying to crack down on apps with spammy-sounding names to improve the overall quality of its App Store,

Or, the company could simply be trying to reduce confusion. As Apple notes in its developer guidelines, referencing a price in an app name could be confusing to people in other countries where the price may be different.

Whatever the case, we’re likely hear more in at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference later this year.

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