Previous Headline: "Apple Confirms Purchase History Removal Is Intentional, in What Might Be the Worst Conclusion Possible to Recent Drama". For more information, please read the updated text:.

Update: We posted this story based on Pocket Gamer claiming to have received an official response from Apple regarding whether or not purchases being removed from users' App Store purchase history was intentional or not:

If an app that you own is removed from the App Store, you will no longer be able to download it from your purchase history, an Apple spokesperson has told Pocket Gamer.

We fired off a cursory email to Apple, but felt confident publishing this as both historically Pocket Gamer writes stories based on good sources and in nearly a decade of working with Apple, everyone gets the same response. Apple's PR is a well oiled machine with two settings: No response (or a "No comment") or the response. I just got off the phone with Apple's US PR who have assured me there has been no policy change. We will update as we get more information, hopefully today.

I'd like to extend my deepest apologies both to our readers and to Apple for jumping this gun and posting this story without confirming everything personally, which isn't a mistake I'm going to make again anytime soon. Tensions are high in our community, and in racing to cover this story as it develops I trusted a source I shouldn't have. Anyway, as soon as we have an actual official Apple statement on the matter, we'll publish it for everyone to read.

RottenAppleIf you've been following the drama over the last week or so surrounding classic premium games vanishing from App Store purchase histories, strap in for the equally disappointing and baffling conclusion to it all: According to Apple, apps that are no longer for sale on the App Store also will not be available to download again in your App Store purchase history. I'm really just sort of at a loss as to what to even say about all this anymore. Originally it seemed like it was easy to assume big publishers were pulling things they didn't want to support, particularly with the erie silence from them. When those same developers finally formulated a response and were just as confused as we were, things got interesting. Never in a million years would I ever have thought this was an unannounced policy change direct from Apple, but, here we are.

It's particularly puzzling, as for years now Apple has been championing the wonders of iCloud backups. I'd go as far as to say most iOS users, at least the ones I know, don't sync anything to iTunes anymore, as there hasn't been any real reason to since iOS 5. The iCloud backup and restore process, historically, has worked great. You're effectively uploading (and downloading) your unique personal data, then downloading all your apps and games again straight from the App Store. With this recent Apple policy change, you can no longer trust iCloud as a backup method as your apps will only exist for re-download as long as they're available for sale on the App Store. If an app gets removed now, and also purged from your purchase history, if you're not backing up locally via iTunes you're out of luck and Apple's response is to go pound sand.

Considering we first heard of this in an official capacity this morning, the developers I've spoken to seem equally shocked with Apple's decision. As Shaun mentioned yesterday, it was never the developers' intention to have their games vanish from purchase histories. Instead, they were simply pulling them from sale while they work on updates. It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out, but like most Apple policy changes, I'm not putting much hope in them eventually coming to their senses. Historically, once Apple has made their mind up when it comes to a new App Store policy, regardless of how ridiculous it is, it stays that way.

If you care about preserving your App Store purchases, there is a solution, but it's not a great one. As suggested by Craig Grannell on Twitter, checking this box in iTunes will download all of your purchases to your computer:

It especially sucks considering keeping a local backup of your apps and games soaks up a lot of hard drive space, which only stings worse with Apple's move to lower-capacity SSD storage (compared to traditional spinning drives, anyway) over the years. I straight up do not have the drive space to locally backup every game I download, and the prospect of needing to come up with some kind of external drive solution for downloading iTunes purchases just because they can be totally removed from the App Store and my purchase history at any moment is absolutely ridiculous. Worse yet, considering this was a totally silent change, how are people supposed to know they need to start backing things up locally when the unified Apple message on backing up is "Don't worry about it, just use iCloud!"?

As mentioned yesterday, there is a workaround to all this- But it involves proactive developers listing their apps for sale in some tiny remote iTunes region. This might work for indie developers, but for other developers who made games involving complex licensing deals or other complications, chances are there aren't provisions in their contracts for games still being sold but only in obscure African countries. Additionally, considering this has come as a total surprise to every developer we've contacted, getting the word out that they need to start doing this is going to be as much of a challenge as spreading notice that you can no longer trust iCloud for backups. Either way, I'm sort of at a loss as to why Apple thinks it's a good idea for the iOS ecosystem that things you bought can effectively vanish. With paid, premium apps becoming an increasingly hard sell, this is just one more nail in the coffin of expecting anything but supremely temporary free to play games as a service on the App Store.

[via Pocket Gamer]

  • gleeclub

    this whole mess stinks, like rotten Apples

    • Tallgeese

      I see whatchu did there.

    • LordVandal

      That's right mate it stinks right to the core.

    • MrThickDick

      It's not a big deal, people should stop buying games and not playing them.

  • defunct32


  • Brrobotix

    Can we get refunds on apps that we can no longer download? That might get apple's attention

    • Eli Hodapp

      That's the best part! If you complain enough Apple might give you some credit for a few free song downloads.

      • Zerol3onheart

        Customer: "Hey! This burger has a fly on it!" Manager: "Well, sorry about that. We stopped selling the burger now since there's an issue with it and we don't have it anymore." Customer: "Can I get a refund then?" Manager: "No, but here's some ketchup packets for your trouble."

      • Dailon Huskey

        Perfect analogy

      • LordVandal

        Mmmm ketchup!!

      • jgainsbrugh

        A better analogy would be the burger would have to disappear and even all past history of the burger... Maybe even your memories of eating a burger ... Hehe

      • NeoZeitGeist

        It's a quantum app burger the normal rules of the Appleverse don't apply.

      • jeffsters

        Don't worry your fat stomach will remind you.

      • jsrco

        Isn't Apple's refund policy as it stands now - within 15 days they must refund anything, including IAP? I have heard some disturbing things from people I personally know with Apps on the store in regards to this.

        This whole system makes me happy I can still buy physical copies of my games on consoles.

      • liam Hince

        Can they legally do this? There must be some law to prevent own digital content from just disappearing (Imaging if any other compay did this).

      • ironsam80

        I suppose everything they do is legal under the terms and conditions we agree everyone when entering to AppStore ecosystem. The point for me is if this ethical...

      • Martin Meier

        It's a legal move by Apple, we all agreed to it.
        But it's not ethical, no.

      • Hampus Jensen

        Presumably the terms of service has a clause about you not actually owning any content, just a license to use it. That seem to be the way it works with online distribution platforms.

    • jeffsters

      Yeah...and can you get me a refund of $99 for MacPublisher? I can't buy replacement floppies and my SE30 still runs great!

  • Repulsa

    This is sickening I think whoever silently" made this change needs to be loudly fired. What a bunch of crap. I have never been more disgusted.

    • jeffsters

      Really? I want to live in your world! I might however suggest you read the news if you want to see about real injustice.

  • TomCrown

    I've had a local back-up for my iOS apps & Mac apps for years just like my image back-ups and time machine back-up, spinning HD are dirt cheap.

    • OldSchoolHeel

      I also had backups until the day that my backup drive failed, then 10 minutes later, my backup to my backup drive failed. Now, with data caps, I never downloaded the apps again, because of the cost of overages.

      • jeffsters

        Huh? Your story sounds too good to be true but taking you at your word your answer then is no backups? Then you have nothing to complain about.

      • OldSchoolHeel

        What part didn't you understand?

      • OldSchoolHeel

        Eesh, people like you make the internet such an annoying place.

      • jeffsters

        Lol...your the one that posted to a tech blog you don't do backups! That sir is annoying!

      • OldSchoolHeel

        You obviously have trouble reading.

    • stolenlogic

      This is my whole view on this. I just keep my apps on my computer, that's why I still have all the apps that let you play old SNES games. They can pull them from the store, but not from my HD.

    • joezero

      Exactly! I was a little surprised how quickly everyone jumped on the "cloud" bandwagon. If you don't physically own a copy of something, then you're just "leasing" it for as long as whichever vendor you're using wants to let you have it. We went through the same thing with the free website hosting (geocities, etc.) in the earlier days of the Internet. It was great until they weren't making enough money from ads and had to shutter the service. Same thing is true for any cloud-based content.

      Is iCloud convenient? Absolutely, but I'm not counting on apple alone to keep everything I bought safe, that's what the external HDDs from Costco are for.

    • Railgun

      Back that thang up

  • iMaxx

    Granted most of the iOS users don't have the knowledge but I feel this move is just going to make more people go the route of jail breaking and installing the apps from parties that have saved the .ipa. Ultimately I believe this will just lead to more pirating.

    • OldSchoolHeel

      I agree. I switched from Android to iOS because it just worked. I never felt the need to jailbreak like I did to root every Android device that I owned.
      After this, I am definitely going to jailbreak my iPad.

      I've been looking to upgrade my phone, recently. It certainly wont be the iPhone 6s, like I had planned.

    • jeffsters

      What on earth does a simple need to check a box and BACK UP have to do with Jailbreaking!?!? Come on!

  • Turk

    Man... I really wish the windows phones had a better selection of mobile games. Guess my
    next phone will be either Windows or android since my purpose for keeping with iPhones has been my purchase history. What a shame

    • jeffsters

      All because you can't back up? Hey...enjoy!

  • pillzhereish

    Right now I really don't feel like paying for anything anymore...

    • jeffsters

      Then you'll for sure get what you paid for!

  • Andritz

    Wtf ok i see no longer buying this is ridiculous il just go back to how i started downloading apps via appcake and jailbroken ways there if you want an older app chances are its still there and stay for longer and they also keep reuploading i started to buy from apple because its easier then the jailbroken way beacause i have an 16gb ipad which we all know space is a luxury and also dont have a pc and i also domt want to have to back up everything some of us dont have the time for this kind of crap but this just gave me the kick to go over there and forget any paying i mean they sold me a rental really...

    • Dailon Huskey

      They really need to
      Change to the buy button to rent button and I'm not even joking lets be real real

      • Andritz

        Yeah they should at least ppl will know what they are getting into

  • CrazedJava

    So please tell me again the justification for not giving us
    a simple and easy to use expandable SD slot?

    Additional diskspace is cheap, unless you’re on an iDevice,
    and then it is ridiculously expensive and unexpandable without upgrading. When I’ve pointed this out in the past I’ve been shouted down “because iCloud, so shut up!”. Well, the problem with “cloud” solutions is that you don’t control the data. Some 3rd party does.

    As a functional device, the iPads are still the best tablets on the market, but if I could get what I need on an Android tablet with fewer of the Android eccentricities I’d jump ship simply because every Android tablet
    I have owned had this one simple feature. SD cards, micro, mini, whatever, are all relatively cheap. You could keep backups of your apps for perpetuity instead of being at the mercy of some big company that already has your money and doesn’t owe you anything according to the EULA you agreed to.

    • Chocolate

      Apple extorts a lot of money from us by not offering an affordable storage path. That's why iPads start at a laughable 16gb, to force people to spend another $100 for 64gb etc.

  • johnchiafos

    I bet it has something to do with that malware flap from a couple weeks ago? I remember a list of malware apps came out, most of them in China? Maybe to ensure those apps never could be downloaded again, they flipped a panic switch and said, "delete ALL the non-available apps from EVERYONE's purchase history!"

    • Dailon Huskey

      Forgot about that would be interesting to find out but it seems they are ignorant at this point

    • Eli Hodapp

      That's not a terrible theory.

      • Rip73

        It might not even be a theory, in fact.

      • Repulsa

        It's still inexcusable

    • razorracer83

      I heard about that from that an email from Lookout. I think it was called XcodeGhost. Apparently, something in iOS 9's code makes it impossible for Lookout to remove it for now, not sure if it's the case for other antivirus programs.

    • Rip73

      That would be the most accurate interpretation of the series of events and the resulting decision that I've read anywhere on the internet so far.
      While not entirely accurate, it is very close to, probably, what happened as a result of XcodeGhost breach, the removal of the offending apps and further removal of them from purchase history and the wider effect.
      I would assume that when a more appropriate and balanced solution to the XcodeGhost infected apps removal problem is put into effect that it will also address the current issue for non infected apps that are removed.
      Or at least that a large team is working on remedying the whole situation.

    • joezero

      I think it may also be due to the significant number of apps that break with each iOS update. I've seen a lot of complaints both here and the App Store about apps not continuously being supported for each version change. If half your apps won't run because you updated the OS, that makes apple's mantra of "it just works" go right out the window. Sadly, it may be that rather than fixing those issues within the OS, apple may just be turning off access to any incompatible app so that no one notices that "it just (no longer) works".

      • islesfan

        I'd be ok with broken apps disappearing, but things like NBA2K 14 still works fine in iOS 9, yet it's gone.

  • db2

    Is there an official source on this, besides "according to Apple"?

    I'll definitely think twice about buying apps or new iOS devices if this is a deliberate policy change.

    • jeffsters

      Maybe instead you can think twice about backing about we try that one on for size?

      • db2

        You mean the iTunes backups that no longer transfer apps from the device, and we also have no idea if that's a deliberate change? I don't see how that will help.

  • Spiral75

    Wonderful. I removed Dungeon Hunter 1 & 2 from my iPad because they stopped working. Those were actually premium games and great RPG's. I guess I wont be able to play them again. Its like all the great premium games are going away and we will be forced to play nothing but timer based games with other annoying IAP's. To make it like Orc Vengeance which I paid for AND bought optional in game stuff....just gets removed with no warning....Dev's dont answer emails. Man gaming is taking a dark turn

    • Tapper

      Orc Vengeance was a really nice game. I still have it on my Touch running iOS 7. Sadly it doesn't work on newer iOS versions, which is why I keep my Touch on 7 and will never update it. I do keep my iPad Air 2 updated to the latest iOS.

  • TheMerc

    If the events of recent weeks and today's final development have proven anything, it's that we - the consumers - are lowest on Apple's totem pole: after all, both Apple and the developing teams can remove any app they wish from the store for whatever reason, and those of us who've paid for it are left in the wind with nothing to show for it. Personally speaking, I don't feel that indebted to Jobs, Cook et al. to accept that and keep on trucking.

    I hate to say it, but this reveal kind of kills my desire to keep
    supporting the platform. Regardless of how much I enjoy playing games on
    my phone, digital services should, to a certain extent, look out for
    the consumer by assuring some degree of security to his/her investments. Apparently, Apple doesn't believe they need to provide that security. If this reveal were to be accompanied by an even greater reluctance on the customer's part to spend money on their apps in the future, Apple would have certainly brought that on itself.

    • Tallgeese

      I'm pretty sure the Chinese slaves that make our electronics at the Foxconn facility (yeah, the one with the suicide nets) are lowest on Apple's (and everyone else's) totem pole.

      • Tallgeese

        I also think it's ridiculous that Apple takes 30% (as Eli mentioned) from not only the initial purchase of a game but also every IAP and can break your game quite often (and people blame the devs for it, yay.).

      • Tallgeese

        They recently bitchslapped the developer of Dragon Strike by removing its game from the store for trying to get around this with serial codes.

      • Tallgeese

        Pretty sure most people hate Apple for something or other but can't live without it (for one reason or another). Devs can't exactly say this since Apple is the one whoms cradles them's babies.

      • Tallgeese

        I guess I can't post this last chunk for some reason. Oh well.

      • Tallgeese

        Maybe it was because of the phrase "bag of dicks?"

      • Tallgeese

        "Abe Lincoln?"

  • Pickman

    So this is the reason I can no longer download xcom-enemy unknown, which I bought for almost 20 bucks. The publisher recently said, that while they don't sell it anymore, It can still be installed via the "purchased" list of games.

    I think this decision by apple is very anti-consumer, even more so that they did not even announce the change, giving people the chance to backup their stuff.

    This is the dark side if cloudsaves and pure digital distribution. I expect more of this to happen....

    • Martin Meier

      But you really can, that is still in your purchase list and works flawless with iOS9. Other people just can't buy it anymore.

      • dancj

        I think you're thinking of Enemy Within. IIRC Enemy Unknown was pulled when they released Enemy Within.

      • Martin Meier

        No, it was only pulled from sale. It's still in my purchase list. I downloaded XCom: Enemy Unknown 4 days ago and played a few missions.

  • hincy89

    I'm very tempted to have as many of my purchases refunded as possible and begin solely gaming on my ps4. Or maybe I'll just jailbreak as a up yours to Apple (but then I'm screwing the devs as well) hmm

  • Dawn Stung atoms

    Where's the source of the official statement from Apple? It's important, you know?

    "link/screenshot or it didn't happen"

  • thesilverstx

    This makes wonder about getting a new iPhone over a galaxy note. If my previous purchases are going to disappear than why does it matter which one I have. Apple is just going to end up with only freemium apps and no innovation since no one is going to buy any premium apps. There is no chance I'm buying an Apple TV now.

    • TheMerc

      I'm at that point too. So far, the occasional iDevice was the only expensive extravagance I indulged myself in, mainly because of gaming and of my previous purchases, which ensured a certain loyalty to the brand. If that commodity is no longer assured, then it's bound to cause a person to question the point of buying so expensive a phone when a cheaper (and almost as good) smartphone is already available.

  • zergslayer69

    Thanks Apple.

  • ironsam80

    So all this fanfare about ''Cloud is the Future'' goes to ''Hey you need a physical drive to store what you buy'' in a blink of an eye and most important without an announcement even on developers.
    Sorry Apple but what made you the biggest in the world was the trust between us... and now that you are No1 you just turn your back to us that we bring you here by buying all your stuff and support your echosystem for years... And not only this, because, you are turning your back to your past and the statements you did about your services.

  • amusing Grace

    We should spread the word and share these articles all over Apples social media. Combine that with proper hashtags and sensationalistic headlines. So others become aware and maybe force Apple to change. The holiday season is coming up and together with expected lower overall sales from their current gen phones, maybe they become afraid of losing customer satisfaction and sales.

  • dancj

    The suggested solution (which is something I already do anyway) isn't good enough. That will only keep a copy of the version of the app that existed at the time you originally bought the app. For some reason Apple haven't seen fit to provide an option to have iTunes download all updates.

    In the past this wasn't too bad as you could sync the new versions of apps from your iOS devices to iTunes to keep them up to date - but as of iOS 9, that option has been removed.

    The only option now is to periodically go into iTunes and manually make it download all updates. Annoying to say the least.

    • vicsark

      I've been doing that every now and then, launching 200 upgrades downloads in the morning. Done when I come back home, 20 Gb in the trash.

    • jeffsters

      Not true! Updates are backed up when you back up your phone otherwise it's manual.

  • ghosty222

    Wow wow wow that apple let down just keeps coming and coming... rip ios gaming if apple doesnt fix this problem (before i get flammed im only talking about freemium/premium and apps "WITH" IAP that unlocks more feautures. Not talking about full complete apps with no iap as i usually save complete apps to pc thank good too just got a 3tb)... I recomend everyone downloading app shopper from app store n set it up paid apps that go free and bamm no need to buy games anymore just wait a bit every game usually goes free sometimes, and also keep updated with IGN's free game of the month they give good games out too and fun.

  • dancj

    All this said, I disagree about the chances of Apple changing their minds. I can think of a few examples of times when they bowed to public pressure. I think they will here if enough places report it and enough people kick up a fuss.

  • bigrand1

    Un-freaking-believable!!!! What next?! I'll tell ya, Steve is turning over in his grave right now trying to escape and scream NO!!! to these Bozos who are running things now in his company!!!!! Killing it! Poor fanboys are taking hit after hit these days and having a harder time justifying their allegiance!! Headin' DOWN! Well, thankfully, I got my Android!

  • rich_952000

    I can definitely see greedy, nefarious and even "respected" developers using this to exploit consumers (yes, I'm looking at you 2K, Capcom); scenario: "Get NBA 2K16 on iOS for just $15, hot new game"...*pulled 2 weeks later* "Sorry folks had to fix some things" *next thing you know* "Hey Sports Fans! Get our new game NBA 2K16 remix just $15!"....

    Just saying

  • Diegan

    Apple wants us to jailbreak and pirate apps and iaps...

    • Martin Meier

      Definately not. This is nonsense.

      • Diegan

        Of course is nonsense (that they want us to do it) but we should!

      • Rip73

        No you shouldn't.
        You'd be screwing over developers as well and screwing over the hard working independant ones, the ones that still bring us premium quality content, the most.
        And that just wouldn't be right.

      • Tapper

        What if people "pirated" the apps they previously bought and had stolen from them (AKA removed from purchase history)? Is that wrong? I don't think it would be, but I don't personally engage in piracy.

      • Martin Meier

        I think it is still wrong. You can't make a "good" out of two "bads".

      • Rip73

        People have always had the means to download those apps to their local hard drive through iTunes and continue to have the ability to set a switch in iTunes to automatically download all new purchases (or free apps) bought on any of their idevices to their iTunes equipped computer so I don't know why they'd have to pirate their previous apps considering it's substantially easier to move that switch over to on and your computer will (and would of in the past if they had actually switched it on) continue to store locally your apps seamlessly with little or no effort.
        I mean it's all pretty simple really and the biggest question I find is why people were not already doing this anyway. It couldn't be simpler and it is a digital age. Things do change on digital stores so having automatic downloads turned on is as close to having a physical copy that we might have been used to with CD's or DVD's as one could hope for.

      • Poo

        It's not premium if it can disappear.

      • Rip73

        It's digital.
        Everything digital can disappear.
        The responsibility, if you're so concerned about it, is to back up yourself to some form of physical media device.
        Not too difficult really.
        People can't really keep passing the buck on to others just because they can't be bothered to back up themselves when they have numerous quick and easy ways to do that other than expecting Apple to do it all for them when they only paid a few bucks for the app in the first place probably.

    • Timmy2x

      Cause and effect

  • Earth Vs. Me

    I think the sad truth is that the Apple users who actually care about this (read: us) are only an insignificant fraction of the total customer base.

  • Blodia

    Tim Cook's reign at Apple has been a disaster for users.

  • Tim Cant

    This BS is exactly the opposite of what Apple have had us buying into - a reliable ecosystem that 'just works'. I'm *pissed off* about my missing music and I'm beginning to wish I hadn't spent a fortune buying a freakin' new phone if all my games are going to disappear too. We spend a lot of money on Apple software and hardware, they need to sort this out or they're going to lose more tech-savvy customers.

  • Jerutix

    I retract what I said yesterday. I'm sure Apple covered themselves with the update in Terms & Conditions, but all the vitriol for this should be on them.

    • Brendan Charles

      I think that the publishers did lack in transparency and communication- but yes, the entire problem does stem from apple.

      Why does it seem half of the games I own break when there's a new iOS version?

      Why did games disappear from 'purchased' section without the publishers even being aware, notified or having control?

      And finally, why is the refund system so horrible?

  • kendahlj

    Much ado about nothing

  • Lane Denson

    I've always thought I would stick with Apple to the bitter end because I was so locked into their ecosystem. Now, I'm not so sure.

  • Tim Cant

    I just wrote Apple a letter via their support form, I'd love to know if there's a better way. Here's my complain if you feel like kicking up a stink:

    I'm a huge fan of Apple, and have spent a lot of my money on Apple software and hardware. Recently a lot of music and apps have been disappearing from purchase histories. I understand this is all in line with iTunes and the App Store's terms and conditions, but the reality is that we were sold iCloud as a permanent ecosystem that would make it unnecessary to make physical backups. Please fix this.

    • curtneedsaride

      Well done. I went ahead and started with yours, expanding it a little. I know my words won't change much, but OUR words, as a huge collective, might get something done:

      "I'm a huge fan of Apple, and have spent a lot of my money on Apple hardware and software, including many in-app purchases. Recently a lot of music and apps have been disappearing from purchase histories. I understand this is all in line with iTunes and the App Store's terms and conditions, but the reality is that we were sold iCloud as a permanent ecosystem that would make it unnecessary to make physical backups to apps and music that is currently being sold, AND media that we have PURCHASED that may not be sold anymore. Please fix this so we can download everything we've purchased whether it is on the App Store and iTunes or not. I have a large iCloud subscription that I pay for monthly, and would even raise it if I could be sure that everything I purchase is backed up on the cloud, even if I don't physically back it up myself. I'm very disappointed in the direction the App Store has taken with this, and may choose to migrate from an Apple household to a different brand of computing and phone if I can be better taken care of and supported."

      • Tim Cant

        Wicked. If enough people complain, Apple will take notice 🙂

  • Alex Bittencourt

    So, I am done with them starting now. It is as simple as that.

    Bye bye

  • Pivi

    What happened to my comment? It wasn't obtrusive. Well, no matter, it's time to change to the droid.

  • GalacticPunt

    I've been buying games and reading your site for years, since the iPhone 3G came out and I happily paid $8 for Metal Gear Solid Touch. I finally signed up to comment today to say that I am done. Not with your site... not yet. But it won't have much use to me soon when I walk away from all Apple products.

    This is the absolute nightmare scenario about digital storefronts that game forums have worried about for years. But no other digital service has ever done something quite like this because it is so rabidly anti-consumer. The only sensible thing for us to do is to walk away from Apple. Now.

    Actions have consequences. When my 360 red-ringed and Microsoft refused to replace it because it took a dent while shipping to them, I jumped to the Playstation ecosystem and haven't looked back. It's time to move to Android, and not give one more dollar to Apple.

    This isn't a walled garden anymore, it's a walled gulag.

    • Pivi

      Quoted for my exact thoughts. I'll sell my iPhone 6 in 1-2 weeks (God bless it's slightly new and immaculate), and won't look back. I think I'll sell my iPad 4 too.

      • Martin Meier

        Yeah, I am thinking about trading my iPhone 6 for a Samsung Galaxy or Xperia phone. *sigh*
        Wish I wouldn't have to think about that. I that money I invested in games since 2009....

      • Pivi

        Yeah, I should have left the Apple ship when they made those hideous design changes with iOS 7. I still hate how those icons look now, but I have (or should I say HAD) a backlog of apps that I did not want to leave behind. Well, I will love the beautiful (and changeable!) design of my new Samsung.

      • Alex Bittencourt

        I've spent over a thousand dollars. That's for sure. Now I feel dumb.

    • Alex Bittencourt

      I feel you. And agee entirely. Apple is dead for me.

      That's a shame, becousa iOS gaming could be a great thing.

  • SobriK

    I especially like (and I say this without sarcasm) that you took the high road and cited Pocket Gamer for this article, especially after they sniped your Appocalypse story idea yesterday!

  • Timmy2x

    I wonder, do you think this is a move to try and get people to spend more on the higher memory 128g etc iPads and iPhones? "Keep all your games (forever) on a massive storage iPhone!

    • Lane Denson

      Not directly, no. But I'm sure they would be happy if that were to be the result.

    • Alex Bittencourt

      I have a 64g device and it can barely touch the ammount of games I have.

    • vicsark

      128 Gb is not that much if you also have some pics/movies, comics, utility apps, kids apps... It gets crancked up real quick.

  • scottsoapbox

    The worst part of all this is that iOS 9 broke backup to iTunes for me on both my iPhone 6 & Air 2.

    • Timmy2x

      Maybe on purpose

    • Martin Meier

      That's not "broken".
      Apple removed the backup feature from iPhone/iPad/iPod to PC.

      • Rip73

        Until app thinning is implemented and they teach it to download remaining assets of the ipa through iTunes.

  • BitGameReviews

    It should be pointed out that several developers have agreed to fix their broken apps because of this policy. I'm not saying it's a good policy but I think we should keep focused on what we really want which is access to our purchased Apps and we want them to be functional. Keeping a bunch of broken unsupported apps doesn't get us much.

    • Alex Bittencourt

      If I don't upgrade my OS I WANT to have access to games that are not broken.

  • kowwok

    /bye Monster Hunter. I will miss you. Thankfully you're not a large game with awesome replay value and a permanent place in my games folder. Oh wait.

  • nonen

    This is incredibly disappointing. Come on, Apple.

  • Repulsa

    The Samsung Galaxy is the best imo my husband has one and you have removable storage I honestly wish I had upgraded to one instead of the iPhone 6 I have been a loyal Apple customer for so long but I just don't see my future upgrade being to an Apple device

    • Pivi

      Thank you, I'm looking at the Galaxy S6. I think I'll love the newfound freedom of my android phone.

  • shafnitz

    So when I got my iPhone 6s, I used my PC to do my backup and restore. I typically do this because it's faster than iCloud. But this time, it worked differently than all times in the past. After restoring my data, my iPhone proceeded to download all my apps off the app store instead of simply syncing them from my PC. It's possible that you can still manually drag an app to your device in iTunes, I didn't actually try. Still, this is going to be really frustrating for users.

  • Repulsa

    Here's another thing I enjoy browsing the App Store for hidden gems from 2010 or so that I buy and really I have to be afraid of losing all of those cause they are old and therefore expendable by Apple standards now I know I'll never buy another oldie but goodie again and it kinda makes me sad

    • Alex Bittencourt

      It also makes me sad. 🙁

  • Sean

    This is why I can never buy into a digital only media collection from iTunes.
    I've spoken to Apple and they say that any purchase movie/tv/book etc can be removed from your purchase history, if for example, the rights holder changes.
    I purchased The Walking Dead Compendium One from the iBooks store. Went to download it to my iPad, and it had gone. Apple advised that the publisher might have made a change to the book, meaning it was effectively a 'new' item and I no longer had access to it.
    If be happy to fully invest in an iTunes media library, but not whilst this is possible.

  • Timmy2x

    The way I see it as long as Apple keeps this there "dirty little secret" and doesn't advertise it then sad to say it's business as usual. Someone as said it best were a very small group that are in the know which this bothers.

  • Quazonk

    Hopefully this hits Apple's sales figures enough for them to rethink this idiotic policy.

  • The kernel

    This is sort of one of those things that I get and don't get at the same time. I understand a major dev house wanting to pull stuff off the app store for a few different reasons.

    1. It is no longer cost effective for the developer to maintain the software. 3.1 (the first release that I can remember) was released back in 2010 (iPhone OS). The OS as a whole has gone through a number of changes. would you expect Windows 10 machine to run DOS 6.2's version of Test Drive 3 to work flawlessly? I would suspect not. And its developer probably wouldn't want to put all the effort into making it work without some monetary benefit. Thats why developers write software, often times to make money (unless like me your an Open Source dev, and you write stuff sheerly for the absolute pain of dealing with others. Im a glutton, I know).

    2. The OS changes over the years have made upgrading, or even changing the software to support things is impossible, or next to difficult to do.

    3. As a software developer you just don't care, and as a result you pull stuff at random and at your own will.

    That said, It think its a little cheesy for stuff to get pulled out of purchase history, im sure there are a few games that were pulled out of my purchase history, and I would be sorely unhappy if they ever removed solomons Keep/Boneyard , I still love to intently play those games. 🙂

    • CrazedJava

      The difference is if I have an old Windows 3.1 game or whatever and I want to take my chances and run it on Windows 10, that's on me. If I call support they'll laugh me off the phone but if I want to hang on to something and use a workaround to still have access then I should still have access.

      Furthermore, if I want to take that older software and maybe do a build of Win 3.1 on old hardware so I can still run it, that's my choice. Assuming I can keep a copy somewhere.

      That last point is key. By forcing us down the iCloud path there is no other option. There is no workaround, there is no trying to run an old app on a new OS and hope for the best, there is no alternative build/run on older hardware and old OS.

      Basically they have made it clear. It is their way or nothing. Doesn't matter how much you've spent with them or how loyal a customer, if it is inconvenient to Apple and doesn't fit with their vision of where you should be at then it can go away at their whim.

      It is the ugliest of precedents to set.

  • Timmy2x

    Shouldn't we be given a heads up email before a game is pulled from our purchase history? I mean we did buy it with the intent to own it forever right?!

  • NeoZeitGeist

    Well I guess it's time to buy into different hardware if Apple just wants to rent apps to me for an indeterminate period of time. I will just show my displeasure by spending my money elsewhere.

    • iamninja

      I know I'm going to get flamed for this but as much as I hate what apple is doing (removing apps without our knowledge) I've invested way too much money into games in the apple ecosystem (in the high hundreds). So I'm going to keep my stay with apple and for the future as well. Just make sure to not delete your games, don't do large OS changes (ex. iOS 8 to iOS 9), and keep iTunes backups of all your stuff. After I lost my very first couple games a few years ago I realized these are the safest routes when dealing with these types of issues.

      • Tallgeese

        Yoga Fire! Yoga Flame! Dhalsim wins!

      • Tallgeese

        That's what I'm currently doing but not updating is a security hazard and some of the newer apps require me to update. I also have a lot of things invested in Apple's library but the whole bothersome system makes me wonder if I should continue to invest. I already stopped letting Apple manage my photos and music. Sadly they frakt my camera videos upon export.

      • iamninja

        I don't have any personal data on my iPad it's spefically for games only. Currently I'm running iOS 8.4.1 on my iPad Air 2.

      • Alex Bittencourt

        I don't think you are going to be flamed for that. That's your decision and should be respected. I am going to finish all the games I can, then close up shop.

      • iamninja

        True story! Wish u well buddy!

  • Scottlarsen

    It's almost as if John Sculley were secretly running things at Apple these days. I guess it's time to look at my Android options.

  • iamninja

    Also I'd like to add. Developers general release games first on iOS before android and they tend to work better out of the box and there's more support for them. I like Apple products and for the most part they do "just work". But yeah I have to stick with my work around to not get screwed.

  • Tallgeese

    I think this brings new meaning to Apple's Limited Time deals.

  • BitGameReviews

    I am so confused.....

  • Lohengriehn

    Ive bought a lot of games on the appstore with my prepaid cards. there are around 20€ left. Ill spend the money on the last 2-3 games. Then Ill stop buying games, music or any other virtual product. Im german and some things needs to be secured. For example: my purchase history.

    thx to all devs which brought life to my ipad! but its time to go back to modules for me (means 3ds). i feel very disappointed with apple after the last weeks. thanks god i passed on the iphone6/+/s, ipad mini4 and apple tv.

  • knownquantity

    The policy makes sense to me, regardless of whether it's really "new" or not. It's not Apple's IP, so if the developer pulls the game from the store…not sure why anyone would expect Apple to continue to make downloads available. They're not the owners of the property.

  • Spudboy

    Time to make a bag of popcorn and watch the comment section explode! Weeeee...

  • Alex Bittencourt

    Let's see how this all unfold. There's a lot of damage being done on the last days.

  • Gurney Halleck

    I have been eagerly waiting for the 6s and with my contract open for upgrade in November was dead set to buy the new iPhone 6s 128gb exactly because of my extensive backlog of premium app titles. I have often considered other interesting and even exciting platform options, but have remained with Apple (In all other respects I have been a solid PC Gamer/Ehthusiast) as I have really appreciated the design aesthetic of having a phone that also handles much of my productivity and computing tasks and is a great gaming device. The thing is, I really love gaming on the iPhone, the experience has come a long way and many of my favorite genres of gaming have been very well adapted for play on iOS devices over time (puzzlers, platformers, adventure games, PnC's, strategy, gamebooks, RPG's etc... Many of my favorite titles have migrated to the iOS platform and this is what motivated me to buy into iPad as well as the iPhone leaving behind my laptop I lieu of using my iPad with a keyboard case to be my productivity and gaming device of choice. The thing is, each upgrade I have done has been exactly because most of the games I really enjoyed have survived and I was able to naively believe that I can keep adding to my backlog while still playing the older games I like. I actually have a funny chronology bug in me and so when I see something awesome and new I buy right away to support quality developers on the iOS platform (responsible citizen kind of thing) while actually playing through my backlog up from the back (I bought all my games because I like them and I want to play through the experiences I have bought into.) this has also been a fun way to observe the evolution of the platform. The problem is, over the las year many of the big new awesome titles that have released have been breaking and then disappearing from the store before I ever get to them and I no longer have a laptop or desktop computer to perform manual backups too using iTunes (something even more disappointingly broken in iOS 9 it now appears.) Now this might not be as hard to swallow if there was a way to backup my content locally to say a Wireless hard drive or some other external storage option without doing it through an iTunes installation on a separate computer, but Apple does not allow this. The real rub is that I was regrettably thinking about iOS cloud solution as being something that would grow and become more robust a solution in the likes of Steam. I have a massive catalog of awesome games there and as long as a PC will support the OS they released in then I can always download and play them because every game I have ever bought on Steam is STILL THERE! All the way back to Half Life 2 (my first Steam purchase!)

    I have invested over $1000 dollars in iOS gaming alone since I bought into the ecosystem and now I feel like my dreams of the direction of cloud computing and computer independent mobile solution on iOS hardware have been totally crushed. I feel betrayed that I trusted in this platform to both push the limits of hardware capability while also building a reasonably backwards compatible and user-centric architecture to reward high participation in the AppStore. This is really hard to swallow and thinking deeply about it now, I really feel like I am going back to PC. I can be happy with my amazing Steam backlog for years to come and for the same price of a new iPhone 6s and iPad Pro (which I excitedly was planning to buy), I will instead be investing in a new desktop gaming rig for AAA titles and considering the Surface pro for Steam adventure and Indy gaming. I guess it's time to start considering what Android and/or Windows phones have on offer, but I think I am moving away from gaming on phone for the most part with this type of behavior seeming to become more and more the norm from Apple..

    I am curious, I haven't found any real evidence yet, but have any of you seen titles pulled from the Google Play store in a similar fashion? Also, are games breaking often with new Android OS versions?

    I have been so excited for the new hardware Apple is releasing that I really feel sad to be losing it as my favorite platform for games and I really have a hard time justifying the cost of he phone if it is not reliable as a gaming enthusiasts platform going forward. Barring a change in policy, I'm not seeing myself going back after this.

    I personally lost more than $100 in premium games that have broken from new iOS releases that have not been updated by the developer and that I never got to play. I am done buying new iOS games until I have played through my backlog, and/or some kind of policy change corrects this.

    Most of my money spent on the AppStore has been in support of quality premium titles with no, or limited IAP. This is a sad sad day to be an iOS gamer...

    • Alex Bittencourt

      That's sad to hear that, especially when I think and feel exactly the same. 🙁

    • AppUnwrapper

      This is almost exactly what I wrote on my site earlier. I bought an iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6S this year primarily because all my apps are in the Apple ecosystem. Now I'm regretting that iPad purchase and wishing I saved my money for a Surface Book (even with the silly name). I really hope this news isn't true.

      • Alex Bittencourt

        I am thinking of keeping a close eye to Surface Pro. Maybe that's going to be my next move.

      • AppUnwrapper

        I bought my iPad for the same reason you did -- I was using my iPhone as my computer and it was getting ridiculous. I wanted the same experience but on a larger screen. Ideally I would have bought a laptop/tablet combo but the technology wasn't really there. So it came down to iPad or Surface. I chose iPad so I could sync my devices. But this Surface Book looks like it could be what I wanted in the first place -- something that might replace my PC but also work as a tablet. May have to save up for it even if does turn out this is all just a big misunderstanding.

      • Alex Bittencourt

        I just read about the Surface Book. Might be the thing I was looking for.

  • Alan Baldwin

    Is this Marco's fault?

  • jgainsbrugh

    My decision is that I will only spend money on $1 premium (Rental) game purchases. I mean, red box is $1. But $5-$20 on something that may disappear at any time is just stupid.

  • Bliquid

    Sheep happens, it was nice of you to aknowledge it.
    But this means we're back to square one?
    That is, who knows what the heck is going on?

    • vicsark

      Something has been happening lately for sure. Apple needs to clarify and take a clear stance on this real quick before this story goes up to more mainstream tech/news websites and gets blown in a PR nightmare for them.

  • vicsark

    Also I guess this is not Craig Garnell's real personal email 😛

  • BaronKrause

    Are you sure "no policy change" doesn't just mean that somewhere deep in their usage agreement there is some line that states that in the end they can for whatever reason they see fit do whatever they want, like pretty much all online service agreements have?

  • LordVandal

    The only thing that's stopping me from diverting from the iPhone next year when my business contract is up, is the fact I'm a gamer, iOS has decticated software fine tuned so hardly any jolks or jerks *except for Apple PR *bad-um-tiss. @tumbleweed@,and ideal for gaming, android which I currently have takes forever to load games and still mighty laggy. 😎

    • DuckingGold

      Then you have a shitty phone. Try getting something not 3 years old.

  • Earth Vs. Me

    Everything about Pocket Gamer has always seemed really amateur to me.

  • Tapper

    So, what exactly is the TRUTH here? Is Apple deleting apps from our purchases when a publisher pulls it or not? Who is making the decision to do that -- Apple or the app developers?

    This has been a problem for YEARS. I've lost several apps along the way that I enjoyed and paid for, all because I couldn't maintain backups on my computer due to lack of HD space. I don't recall ever being told that my purchases would just disappear one day on a whim and without any warning, but that's what happened, and continues to happen.

    Honestly, I have never liked Apple as a company. They seem very arrogant.

    • Alex Bittencourt

      "They seem very arrogant."


  • Fabian

    Never thought I would have to jailbreak my iPhone just to download games I've already paid for!

  • Drelen

    I wonder if this is some ploy to push their iCloud subscriptions on us.

    • Alex Bittencourt

      I have a subscription and at the moment I don't see how this benefits me.

  • Ahlih Shah

    It's not cool the way you've thrown PG under the bus here and the tone smacks of arrogance.

    Anyways, we all know somthing is amiss. Stop trying to butter your relations with Apple and instead find out what's the root cause man!

    Given the facts at hand, I'm pretty sure PG is correct anyways this time. They got a way more specific reply. Plus, no new policy may simply mean this is an old policy being enforced.

    • RichF

      I agree, PG updated their story in response to this. They clearly received an official comment from Apple's Europe PR team and posted their own story. The tone of the update makes it sound as though PG is spouting sensationalist rumors, when all they did was publish an officially sanctioned statement from their Apple PR contact, which has now been contradicted by Apple's US PR contact. No reason to make it sound like PG erred, and the update should really reflect that PG was reporting the information Apple gave it.

    • Sterling Archer

      I couldn't agree more.

      Eli, not cool. I respect you as a game journalist very much, but to throw someone under the bus when it doesn't seem as though they intentionally did something wrong just isn't fair.

  • ZeeMonkeyMan

    Anyone who game on iOS should stop playing anything on the platform as a sign of protest but we won't because they have us by the balls

    • Alex Bittencourt

      I am going to stop buying anything from them if it is really a policy from Apple. And as soon as I have finished my backlog I am done with their products.

  • Bookreader

    Look, I love many IOS games, but with the way Apple's been treating games lately, if I was a developer I would not want to choose the app store as a means of distribution for my game. There's just too much risk of the game not working in the future or Apple doing something stupid like the confederate flag incident.

  • Grits n Gravy

    On one hand: if an app is broken after an iOS update, as Apple, you don't want Joe Bro complaining about this app he has that he bought 5 years ago doesn't work

    On the other hand: I bought it, it should be mine forever

  • Patt

    This whole thing is making me re-think my purchase of an iPad Pro. Perhaps i should just spend a little more money and get a gaming PC and go with Steam or GOG. I wonder if these services have these same problems?

    • Hampus Jensen

      Not right now. Steam lets you download things that has been taken off the store, assume GoG does the same. The question is, what if Steam were to go out of business. Your library of hundreds of games just disappeared. I'm a bit uncomfortable about how big Steam is for that reason and I certainly have no interested in the digital purchase options on consoles.

  • Duckster

    Next Apple will be adopting the Nintendo Eshop account system, games will no longer be universal and will be only downloadable to the current iOS device you are using. You will however be able to perform a system transfer should you upgrade your device.

  • vic_viper_001

    They just don't want my money anymore. That's okay... everything goes for free eventually if you wait long enough, and I have all the time in the world.

    How do you like them Apples?

  • TyNoodle

    I've had it with apple!! Who wants to buy my iPhone and iPad? I'll use the money to buy a PC that will play every game forever! I'll finish up the games I currently have of course, but right after that I'll be done with Apple! I was really excited for the new devices and games coming up, but now I've decided to deny myself that enjoyment because I want to make a point. I'm sure I'll be completely satisfied being a PC gamer only from now on. I certainly can't think of any good reasons to stay with Apple after this. Why did I even have an Apple product in the first place? I forget.

    • Alexythimia23

      Im feeling the same, its just gone and shot itself in the foot.

    • Alex Bittencourt

      The problem is that PC games also break over time. 🙁

      Many gems won't play anymore.

      • thesilverstx

        Yes that happens but at least on the pc side fan made patches sometimes get made or you can even emulate an old os such as diabolical. iOS does not have any way to do this unless you jailbreak.

      • DuckingGold

        I can play games from 30 years ago on my PC, with the iPad, not even 3 years.

  • Dom1nat0R

    XCOM EU, original Air Supremacy and NOVA 2 vanished from purchased thanks to new policy change. I could download them a week but not anymore $20 down the drain

  • gleeclub

    Nova also???? damn i am pissed, now even more games gone, this is utter bullshit!!! way to screw a customer who has bought hundreds in IOS games!!

  • hincy89

    I bet it was Apple but they won't admit it now, if people did what I have then they have left negative feedback on there site, organised a call back and spoke directly to someone and used-online chat and email.
    each one outlining my issue and wasting there time while they tried to fix/ remedy the issue. I was even offered a free song which I refused so a email was sent anyway containing its code, so I called an complained about that so they offered me a AppStore gift voucher which again out of principle I refused again stating that they couldn't guarantee the apps I purchase would last, when asked what they could do to help I stated nothing but reinstated my past purchases.

  • Herbert Derps

    Lately Touch Arcade has been reminding me a lot of The Jerry Springer show, and I keep coming back to see what happens next. 🙂

  • Huy

    Is anyone else as pissed as I am that a iOS release has broken so many games? Not small time indie games either, but major studios. When the likes of Bioshock, XCOM, Telltale series break on an OS update, its a clear sign Apple don't give a crap about actual QA testing on games.

    There is also a disconnect here that I've seen a lot of gamers blame the developers.

    Imagine on your Windows 7 PC, Microsoft has an update and you install it, now your games are broken. Who do you blame? Certainly not the developers who ensured that they follow protocols when developing their games, they follow the BOOK as to how code should run. Then suddenly a freaken update changes the RULES.

    I'm a smalltime solo dev, I went through the debug to find what's wrong and how to fix it, and the fix is a hack, work around the broken iOS code that they pushed through. Do I fix it by implementing a hack? Well, I could, but then the next micro iOS update would most likely break the hack as they revert and fix their broken code.

    It's a terrible situation for gamers & gamedevs.

  • mkdms14

    Wait I am confused about the update of the original article and the apology. Are the apps that I bought being removed permanently from my purchase history or not?

    • lavenders2

      Apple have been removing purchases from your purchase history - anyone can prove this by comparing reciepts to their purchase history.

      This article is about finding a response from apple about the issue. The original article quoted pocket gamer and the response from apple they got, saying that removing stuff from your purchase history is actually intentional. The update has said that TA themselves want a response and that they cant confirm the validity of pocket gamers claim, so now they have contacted apple in order to get their own response (personally, this reeks of denial at the response from apple - pocket gamer have no reason to lie about this issue). So now TA are waiting for a response from apple to confirm the original article from pocket gamer.

      • mkdms14

        Ok thanks for the explanation. I was a bit confused because it almost seemed like they were correcting themselves on something that need no correction. At this point in time I don't feel like I will be buying premium apps anymore if Apple can go around take it away from me. I am no legal expert but it sounds really fishy to me. I am sure somewhere down in that 1,000,000 + page user agreement there is probably a line that states they can f@@k buyers out of there digital purchases if they want to.

  • jeffsters

    Oh please! Yet another tech blogger manufactured controversy? It has always been the case that apps can be removed such as "Amp Up" back in 2009! Back then Apple said if you backed the app up locally you could use it as long as it worked otherwise it was gone. In other words BACK UP!

  • caliminus

    better check your library ... all my games that was removed got back in my library for some magical reason even bioshock

  • Shiro

    Oh my god! They killed gaming! YOU BASTARDS!

  • Tuzzo

    So, correct me if I'm wrong

  • Marco Tuzzi

    Damn phone, it sent my previous, unfinished post.
    As I was saying, correct me if I'm wrong: if Apple hasn't changed policy on app removal, what's happening with all these purchase history disappearances??
    According to the other post, some of them are coming back.
    Should we assume there was a bug in AppStore of maybe the developers did something wrong when they only wanted to remove the games from store and ended up removing them from purchase history as well?
    It seems strange that so many developers did this by mistake, though :/

    Let's see what (if) Apple would say about all this mess...

  • Roguedog

    Well, now that it's confirmed that the original story is in error, and that nothing has changed regards to Apple's purchase list... how do all of you Apple Bashing Jerks feel? Let me guess... STUPID?!

  • one.sixty.four

    I never really got onboard with the iCloud backup thing. It seemed a lot less concrete than syncing with my iMac (2TB, so storage isn't an issue), and I'm glad I still do it. This whole situation is so sad for the App Store. I just hope this is just a phase in the App Store's life cycle, but I doubt it. Let's just hope good mobile games weren't just a fun run while they lasted.

  • Richard Liu

    The fact is: most of apps are removed by creators themselves. And most of the time, app is temporarily pulled for a fix. Any apps removed from App Store, even temporarily, will not be able to re-download. It's how App Store works since day one, which is 7 years ago.
    Apple seldom proactively pulls apps, unless something is seriously going wrong (such as XcodeGhost.) If Apple intentionally bans something, they will pre-announce the policy change, and put a deadline date.