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What happens to an app when it leaves the App Store?

I always thought that, if an app is no longer available in the App Store, that any copies that exist on users’ devices will stay there – just no more updates.

It seems that that is not the case. I have had apps removed from my iPhone because they are no longer available in the App Store. Beyond the fact that an app that was paid for is gone, even if the app was free, the user might have accumulated a large amount of data for the app. This is also gone.

I realize that this isn’t something that can be addressed by this forum. My question is, how do I address my concerns to Apple? I thought the Feedback app would be the place to go, but that app has disappeared from my phone and I can’t find it in the App Store.

So, where do I go next?

I have never seen that happen. I have used several apps that were no longer on the app store until they stopped working after an OS update several years later. AFAIK, Apple will not remove stuff from your phone.

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What Feedback app do you mean???

My experience is the same as @roosterboy ‘s

It seems to have started recently. There was an egg timer app and an app for a restaurant (don’t remember which). The icon showed “waiting…”. When I tapped it, I got a message to the effect that the update failed (I have automatic updates set on) because the app was no longer available in the app store.

Now I don’t remember what happened afterwards. I think that when I replied to the message, the app disappeared. The next time it happens, I’ll make a note of the actions.

There used to be an app on my phone called “Feedback Assistant”. It’s gone now, but I noticed that it’s still on my MacBook. However, it seems to be only for reporting issues with the Apple software – there’s no topic to discuss the App Store…

If you have automatic updates turned on, then I suppose that could happen. Although why it wouldn’t just not try to update a vanished app is something for Apple to answer.

Yet another reason why I think automatic updates causes more harm than good.

OK, my bad. You get to choose whether you want to keep or delete the app.

That solves that question.

Hi @roosterboy

I think the reason why this happened is that “Offload Unused Apps” is turned on.

What this does is automatically remove unused applications on your phone. You can still see the app icon but a little cloud icon appear on the left side indicating that when you tap the app it will need to download again.

I think what happened is the app is not used for a long time, and when you tried to open it, it tried to download the app again first sadly the app is no longer available.

I link below a good article from OSXDaily for more information about this.
iCloud Symbol Next to Apps on iPhone or iPad? Here’s What It Means & How to Fix It

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I did have that turned on a while ago. Before I turned it off, several apps, including that one, got offloaded I’ve since turned it off, but the offloaded apps stayed off.

I did have the option to keep it, though, so it must have been saved somewhere else, probably my iCloud.

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That would only happen, though, if it has been a while since you’ve used that app. It wouldn’t happen just because an app is no longer on the app store.

Correct.