Removing an app from the App Store is an important decision that app developers may need to make for various reasons. The main methods for removing an app include unlinking the app from your account, deactivating the app, selecting the ‘Remove App’ option, or contacting Apple Support. There are pros and cons to each approach that developers should consider carefully.
Quick Overview of Removing an App from the App Store
Here is a quick rundown of the main ways to remove an app from the App Store:
- Unlink the app from your account – This severs the connection between the app and your account but does not delete the app listing. The app will still be visible in the App Store.
- Deactivate the app – This removes the app from sale in the App Store but keeps the listing visible and retains app data.
- Select ‘Remove App’ – This option completely deletes the app and its data from the App Store.
- Contact Apple Support – Get in touch with Apple to request app removal for special cases.
The best option depends on your specific reasons for wanting to remove the app. We’ll now go into more detail on each method.
Unlinking the App from Your Account
If you want to transfer an app to another developer account, unlinking it from your current account is the way to go. Here are the steps:
- Sign in to App Store Connect and go to My Apps.
- Select the app you want to unlink.
- Go to App Information > App Links.
- Tap the minus sign next to your Apple ID to unlink it.
- Type DELETE and click Confirm.
This removes the association between the app and your account. However, it does not delete the app listing. The app will remain live and available for download in the App Store.
Unlinking is useful when transferring an app to a new owner or developer account. It breaks the connection to your account without taking the app offline.
Pros of Unlinking the App
- App remains available in the App Store.
- No disruption to users.
- App data is retained.
- Good for transferring app ownership.
Cons of Unlinking the App
- App continues to appear under your developer name.
- You lose access to app management features.
- New owner has to upload updates under their account.
Deactivating the App
Deactivating an app removes it from sale in the App Store but retains the app listing and data. Here is how to deactivate an app:
- Go to App Store Connect and select My Apps.
- Choose the app and go to App Store > App Information.
- Turn theAVAILABLE ON APP STORE switch to off.
- Enter a Deactivation Date and reason for deactivating.
- Click Deactivate.
Once deactivated, the app will display as “Unavailable” in the App Store. Users who already downloaded your app can continue using it and receive updates, but new users won’t be able to download it.
Pros of Deactivating an App
- App remains visible in the App Store.
- Existing users retain access to the app.
- App data is preserved.
- Option to reactivate the app.
Cons of Deactivating an App
- App is removed from sale in the App Store.
- No way to transfer app ownership.
- New users can’t download the deactivated app.
Selecting “Remove App”
The “Remove App” option completely deletes your app from the App Store. Here are the steps involved:
- Go to My Apps in App Store Connect.
- Choose the app and select App Information.
- Scroll down and click Remove App.
- Confirm that you want to remove the app.
Once removed, the app listing and data will be permanently erased. Existing users will no longer have access to the app on their devices.
Pros of Removing an App
- Fully deletes the app listing.
- Option to publish a new version of the app.
- Clears up clutter if you have multiple apps.
Cons of Removing an App
- Permanently deletes app data.
- Existing users lose access to the app.
- Decision cannot be reversed.
- Users might provide negative feedback.
Contacting Apple Support
In special cases, you may need to contact Apple Support to request app removal. Examples include:
- Removing an app published under an incorrect account.
- Deleting an app published by someone who gained unauthorized access.
- Removing an app that violates updated App Store guidelines.
- Requesting urgent takedown of an app with serious issues.
You can contact Apple Support via one of these methods:
- Online support form in App Store Connect.
- By phone at the Apple Developer Support number.
- Email to [email protected] for legal requests.
In your request, provide detailed information and the reason for app removal. Apple will evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis.
Pros of Contacting Apple Support
- Direct communication with Apple.
- Quicker app removal in urgent cases.
- Personalized support.
Cons of Contacting Apple Support
- Slower response time for non-urgent requests.
- No guarantee Apple will agree to remove the app.
- Less control over timing of app removal.
Factors to Consider When Removing an App
When deciding how to remove your app from the App Store, take into account these key factors:
- Reason for removing the app – Is it temporary? Permanent? For transfer?
- Impact on existing users – Will they lose access to the app?
- Preservation of app data – Do you want to retain data?
- Speed of removal – How quickly does the app need to come down?
- Alternatives to removal – Can you unpublish or transfer instead?
Weighing these considerations will help determine the best course of action. Here are some examples:
|Scenario||Best Removal Method|
|Transferring app ownership||Unlink from your account|
|Temporarily pulling app to work on updates||Deactivate app|
|Permanently removing an outdated app||Select “Remove App”|
|Removing malicious copycat app||Contact Apple Support|
Step-by-Step Guide to Removing an App
Follow this step-by-step guide to fully delete your app from the App Store:
- Sign in to App Store Connect – Access your developer account dashboard.
- Click My Apps – Locate the app you want to remove.
- Select App Information – Go to the app details screen.
- Scroll down and click Remove App – This option permanently deletes the app.
- Confirm app removal – Verify that you want to proceed with deletion.
- Check App Store – The app listing should be fully removed within 24 hours.
- Respond to any user feedback – Address concerns from existing users who lost access.
Following these seven steps correctly removes your app from the App Store. The process is irreversible, so proceed with caution.
What Happens When You Remove an App
Here’s an overview of what happens when you remove an app from the App Store:
- The app listing is deleted and becomes inaccessible to new users.
- The app name becomes available for reuse in a new submission.
- Associated app data and images are removed from App Store systems.
- Existing users who already downloaded the app lose access and cannot redownload.
- App removal appears on your account status and app information pages.
- You cannot submit an app with the same bundle ID for 180 days.
- Reviews, ratings, and install metrics for the app are reset to zero.
In summary, removing an app erases its entire existence and record from the App Store. Previous users no longer have the app on their devices. You must be certain before pursuing this permanent option.
Mistakes to Avoid When Removing Apps
When deciding how to remove an app from sale, steer clear of these common mistakes:
- Removing the app first and dealing with fallout later – Have a plan to minimize user disruption.
- Failing to deactivate first before unlinking or removing – Deactivating adds a layer of protection.
- Deleting the app without downloading analytics data – Retrieve your data before removing.
- Using “Remove App” to temporarily pull an app – This permanently deletes the app.
- Removing an app without responding to user feedback – Address concerns and complaints.
Avoiding these errors ensures a smoother app removal process that respects your users. Deactivating apps temporarily before permanent removal is a best practice.
Recovering a Removed App
Is it possible to recover a removed app? Here are the options:
- Undelete within 30 days – Apple can restore recently removed apps.
- Resubmit as a new app – Publish the app again from scratch.
- Restore app backup – Recreate the app from your own archives.
- Retrieve app files from users – Obtain app data from customers.
The easiest method is contacting Apple within 30 days. Beyond that, you will have to build a new app listing and start over.
Best Practices for Recovering a Deleted App
- Act quickly if you change your mind – Restore within 30 days.
- Keep app files and source code backed up – Helps recreate the app.
- Archive app metadata and images – Speeds up resubmission.
- Hold on to user data exports – Useful when recovering app data.
- Communicate with users – Explain how you are restoring access.
Advance planning makes it much easier to recover and republish an app that was removed from sale.
Alternatives to Removing an App
Instead of removing an app, consider these alternate options:
- Unpublish the app – Make unavailable temporarily while retaining the listing.
- Release an update – Fix issues and improve app quality for users.
- Sell the app to another developer – Transfer to new owner.
- Merge the app into different app – Consolidate apps.
- Make app free instead of paid – Expand user base.
Removing the app should be a last resort. Explore ways to update, upgrade, or revive the app before deleting it permanently.
Removing Apps from Sale – The Right Way
Here is a summary of best practices when removing an app from the App Store:
- Consider alternatives like temporarily unpublishing the app.
- Deactivate the app first before permanent removal.
- Clearly communicate with users beforehand.
- Download all relevant app data for preservation.
- Carefully choose between unlinking, deactivating, or removing the app.
- Have a recovery plan in case you change your mind.
- Respond promptly to user complaints about removed apps.
Following these guidelines helps ensure a smooth app removal process that respects your customers. Take the time to deactivate and communicate before permanent deletion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I delete an app from the App Store?
Yes, developers have the ability to fully remove an app from the App Store using the “Remove App” option in App Store Connect. This permanently deletes the app listing and data.
What happens when you delete an app from your phone?
Deleting an app from your phone only removes the app from your device. The app remains available for download in the App Store. Your personal data may still be retained by the app developer.
Can you recover a deleted app?
If an app was recently removed from the App Store, you may be able to recover it within 30 days by contacting Apple Support. Beyond that window, you will have to submit it as a new app.
Can you reuse an app name?
Yes, if an app is removed from the App Store, the name becomes available to reuse for new app submissions. Make sure to pick a unique name not already in use.
Does Apple notify users when an app is removed?
No, Apple does not directly notify users if an app they downloaded gets removed from the App Store. The developer should communicate removal plans clearly with users beforehand.
Removing an app from sale on the App Store is a significant decision. Take time to consider all options and outcomes before proceeding. Have a plan to communicate with affected users. Deactivate apps first before permanent removal. And if in doubt, you may be able to recover accidentally deleted apps within 30 days. Follow best practices, and you can smoothly pull your app from the App Store when needed.