Apple App Store Improvements – Are We Ready for the Inevitable Change?

When someone or an entity imposes a change you don’t like, what do you do? Do you resist or embrace it? How about, when things aren’t changing at all. Do you adapt easily or prepare for a change? Do you practice how you’ll deal with its arrival? Are you open to all the possibilities change brings?
Well, the reason why I asked you these questions is that a few days ago, Apple announces App Store Improvements for more quality aside from the implementation of search ads. Also, they have updated their App Store Review Guidelines with details on subscriptions, Sirikit and iMessage.

“Quality is extremely important to us. We know that many of you work hard to build innovative apps and update your apps on the App Store with new content and features. However, there are also apps on the App Store that no longer function as intended or follow current review guidelines and others which have not been supported with compatibility updates for a long time. We are implementing an ongoing process of evaluating apps for these issues, notifying their developers, and removing problematic and abandoned apps from the App Store”. – Apple

Over the course of the past few months, Apple has been dedicating their much-needed resources to improving the App Store. In fact, way back in June, Apple announced plans to open up app subscriptions to all product categories to offer more favorable subscription revenue, improved sharing tools, and ads to App Store search results, to give developers new ways to promote their apps.
And just recently, developers were informed that there will be significant changes and improvements that are going to be implemented. 

These changes were submitted by the developer community like the removal of Abandonware apps (apps that have not been updated for a while) and problematic apps which do not follow their current review guidelines from the App Store. You don’t have to worry app owners, Apple will start auditing your apps in all categories on the App Store on September 7, 2016 (two days from now). And if an issue was found with your app, you will be notified, and you will be given 30 days to submit an update in order to keep your app on the App Store. Easy eh?

However, If you don’t or failed to fix all the necessary changes requested by the App Store team, your app will be deleted from the App Store until you submit an update.  Also, if your apps crashed on launch during their tests, it will be removed immediately.
Another big change is that there will be Character limitations for the App’s title. Instead of the usual 80 character limit, it’s now limited to no longer than 50 characters. This is their way to muck out apps with spamming app titles. Moreover, they believe that long app names do not provide user value and create a bad user experience.

“Search is one of the most frequently used methods for customers to discover and download apps from the App Store. In hopes of influencing search results, some developers have used extremely long app names which include descriptions and terms not directly related to their app. These long names are not fully displayed on the App Store and provide no user value. App names you submit in iTunes Connect for new apps and updates will now be limited to no longer than 50 characters.” – Apple

The character limitation for app names from now on applies to any (existing or new) app, that gets updated or newly submitted to iTunes Connect from now on. So better start conceptualizing for new and shorter titles and make sure that your new ASO strategy is updated.
These changes were inevitable because there is no way for them charge for updates. Also, app developers have been pulling apps because they don’t earn money and support costs or maintenance is too expensive. 

Apple needs to open up the platform so app developers can sell their apps directly to customers using whatever business model makes sense for their products. Apple, of course, can keep their App Store but users (iOS device owners) could then have the choice to buy elsewhere – this would give proper competition. Overall, for me, this is a good move. But then again, while they’re at it why not fix the search algorithm or add a more advanced search function. Why not add sort and/or filter options for both the search results and the user reviews, and fix the frosted pane on App pages that takes up half my iPhone 6+’s display.

Anyway, enough of the rambling. Like it or not, change is always happening and there’s little we can do to stop or prevent it. It’s a lot easier to deal with when you make the decision to change, instead of having it forced onto you.

When we embrace change, it’s easier to deal with it as your mindset is you’re under your control and you get to direct yourself when you make decisions about what to change. You can even learn to identify the new strategies that are likely to be forced on you and prepare for its arrival by changing before you even have to.

Remember, the most difficult change to deal with are those forced onto us without our being able to prepare. At least we’re warned, and we can act on it. Fighting the inevitable does no good. Believe me, it’s a lot easier to go with the flow than to waste all your energy going against it.

We still have time to update our app, fix all the issues, and come up with a shorter title that’s keyword optimized. Yeah, Apple has disrupted the familiar and our minds again, and some of us may be in shock or are less focused on what we should do and more on what we no longer can do. I know the feeling. Just breathe in, breathe out, maintain your focus, and you’ll figure out what to do.

Also, don’t wait for another change to happen again. Embrace that it will happen sooner than expected and train yourself to be open to it. Never put yourself in a situation where you fail to see the possibilities and opportunities that change brings. If you find yourself locked up into a single train of thought, please, force yourself into a new one, just for the sake of change.

Anyway, here are some useful resources:
Apple App Store Improvements FAQ
App News about App Store Improvements

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