The Apple App Store endured its first ever contraction in 2017 — dropping from 2.2 million published iOS apps in the beginning of the year to 2.1 million by year-end.
The news comes from a new report from Appfigures, according to TechCrunch. The App Store’s contraction was paired with the Google Play stores’ expansion — in 2017, it reportedly grew 30 percent to around 3.6 million apps.
The drop off, according to Appfigures, comes as a result of a few issues. Apple has begun pushing for stricter enforcement of app guidelines — meaning more apps were categorized as spam and removed. There were also technical changes to the App Store that required developers to adopt 64-bit architecture.
The change also reflects a purge of apps that were considered abandoned, outdated, or those that were out of step with current app-development guidelines. That clean-up began in 2016, but analysts suspect that purge may well have continued into 2017.
Other explanations for the great app thin-out include a temporary move to template-based apps, but that policy was relaxed over SMB complaints that the requirement made the App Store inaccessible for smaller businesses.
Beyond removals, however, Appfigures also found that iOS developers weren’t releasing as many apps as they had during the growth years. iOS developers launched only 755,000 new apps last year, a 29 percent drop and the largest fall-off since 2008.
Meanwhile, Android developers are getting more active. According to the report, Android developers launched 17 percent more apps in 2017 to reach 1.5 million total new releases. Some of those Android releases were iOS apps being ported to the Google Pay platform — nearly twice the number of Android apps went to Apple as Apple apps went to Android last year.