This summer, the iOS app development community celebrates the App Store’s 6 year anniversary. For the mobile app development ecosystem, that is an insanely long period of time. In a recent report by Adjust, the app intelligence company gives a solid overview of the App Store and discusses the iOS app life cycle – birth, life and death.

According to the report, there are 1,252,777 iOS apps available in the App Store and as many as 60 thousand apps are added per month – keep in mind, that rate continues to grow. The App Store is similar to the earth’s population in terms of birth and death rate. In 2013, 453,902 new apps were released in the Apple App Store and almost 15% of them were removed – thus being the app’s death. In 2013, the number increase was 396,341 apps and this dynamic should be used when the store’s app volume estimations are given.

According to the report there was no correlation between low ratings and negative comments, which could trigger apps pulling themselves from the store. Those apps were removed from the App Store due to violating App Store terms and conditions or were voluntarily pulled down by developers. By 2015, Adjust predicts 578,000 new apps to be released on the App Store – we’ll check on this prediction in 2015 to see how accurate it was.

Since inception, 1.6 million apps were released on the App Store including the 350,000 apps (~22%) that were removed or ‘dead’. Let’s look at the death rate by App Store category; Books (27%), Entertainment (25%) and Utilities (24.9%) have the highest percentage of ‘dead’ apps, whereas Games have the highest absolute number of ‘dead’ apps (65,643 apps, a rate of 21.7%).

The term ‘Zombie’ was introduced by Adjust in 2012, labeling apps that didn’t generate enough downloads to be featured in the App Store top lists. Back in June 2013, 70% of iOS apps were considered ‘Zombies’ and as of this June it is 79,6%. This goes to show that the app discoverability problem is only getting worse.

Art Dogtiev,
Head of Branded Content