Pixalate Releases H1 2021 Delisted Mobile Apps Report: 15% of Google and Apple App Store Apps Delisted but May Remain Installed on Consumer Devices; Over 25% Did Not Have a Privacy Policy

Over 813,000 apps with over 9 billion downloads, 86%+ of which targeted children aged 12 and under, were removed from the Google Play and Apple App Stores in the first half of 2021.

Pixalate, the market-leading fraud protection, privacy, and compliance analytics platform for Connected TV (CTV) and Mobile Advertising, today released the H1 2021 Delisted Apps Report containing insights about mobile apps removed from Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The analysis helps developers and advertisers recognize potential threats of privacy and compliance breaches.

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Pixalate analyzed more than 5 million mobile apps across the Google and Apple app stores, and found that more than 813,000 — over 15% — were delisted in the first half of 2021. On the Google Play Store, the apps were downloaded over 9 billion prior to delisting, while the delisted Apple App Store apps had over 21 million consumer reviews prior to delisting. The apps’ delisting could be caused by various factors, including an app store policy breach or the developer’s withdrawal.

Of potential concern to advertisers and consumers alike, delisted apps can remain installed on a device even after the app has been removed from the app store. If an app were removed due to an app store policy violation, there is an increased risk to consumer privacy and security, as well as brand safety for advertisers.

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Key findings:

Through analysis of delisted Google Play Store and Apple App Store apps in the first half of 2021, Pixalate found that:

  • Over 813,000 apps were delisted from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in H1 2021; Google had had 9.3 billion downloads and Apple apps had 21.8 million user ratings prior to delisting
  • COPPA risks: 86% (Google) and 89% (Apple) of the delisted apps targeted children aged 12 and under
  • 25% of Google and 59% of Apple delisted apps had no privacy policy detected
  • On Google, 26% of delisted apps from Russia had no privacy policy detected; on Apple, 60% of delisted apps from China had no privacy policy detected
  • 66% of delisted Google apps had at least one “dangerous permission: 27% of had access to GPS coordinates and 19% could access the camera

What’s inside the report

Pixalate’s H1 2021 Delisted Apps Report includes:

  • The scale of delisting apps in both most popular app distribution hubs
  • Country of origin of delisted apps
  • Characteristics of “dangerous permissions” which could be a reason to delist the app from the store
  • Rankings of the most popular delisted apps
  • Developers with the most delisted apps

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