Windows Store apps with no age ratings will be removed by Microsoft after Sept. 30

Microsoft is sending emails to Windows Store publishers that don't have age ratings for their apps. Microsoft says those apps will be removed from the Windows Store after Sept. 30 unless they get updated with approved age ratings.

Microsoft started rolling out the new age rating system for Windows Store apps in January 2016, based on the International Age Rating Coalition's (IARC) system. Ratings are also available for each market, like North America, Europe, Germany, Australia and Brazil. Microsoft previously warned that apps with no ratings would be removed from the store earlier this summer.

Now Neowin is reporting that Microsoft has sent a final warning to those app developers, along with a firm date for the app's removal if it does not have an age rating.

As part of our continuing efforts to improve the Store experience for our joint customers, we notified you several times to complete the Dev Center age rating questionnaire for your apps that did not have ratings based on the questionnaire. If you do not act by the deadline of September 30, 2016, we will need to unpublish your app for failure to comply with policy 11.11, Age Ratings.

It's very possible this move will result in many apps getting the axe that have been posted for some time, but have not been updated by their creators.

John Callaham
  • Like the app situation isn't bad enough, dumb idea to remove apps
  • If it gets rid of the dead or bad apps that only got created because Microsoft was paying people to make useless apps to pad app store numbers, I'm happy.
  • It's quality over quantity.
  • Yes, but Windows has got neither...
  • it's actually a great idea, and apple is doing the same, just announced today. If you just got few apps, that's bad, but having few apps and having to wade through montains of crap just to find those relevant few, then that's even worse. Apps should be maintaned or put out of their (and the user's) misery. 
  • Good way to remove crap apps too.
    It doesn't matter that the app count is low. The overall quality should be good and it's going in that direction !
    Android and iOS have a LOT of useless app too.
  • Windows store that much of apps and now they r removing more of them dumb idea what good it will do?
  • "to improve the store experience" by removing apps? Genius
  • Good way to improve quality apps Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This has both good and bad unintended consequences.  Good in that dormant and forgotten apps might be removed, leaving more regularly updated and arguably better quality apps to gain better visibility.  Good also in that some developers might even start to (re)pay attention to said dormant apps and update them in a meaningful way. Bad in that there will be people who have come to rely on some apps that have not received an update in a long time, possibly years.  What is not clear is what happens to an affected app that is already installed - does it remain or is it forceably removed?
  • It gets delisted, i dont believe it is actually removed from system. It took me 10 minutes to update my five app listings. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Not good. My favorite wall paper app appears to have been abandoned, and not age rated. I will miss photostream.
  • Have you reached out to the developer? If I were you, I'd email them or visit their website and ask them about this issue.
  • They said windows what?
  • I never could get Photostream to work right... maybe it's a new device thing. EDIT: Just tried it on my newest phone (Lumia 950) and it looks like it's working now! :)
  • This shouldn't remove it from your device, and so long as you are on Windows 10, you'll should still be able to re-download it from your store history.
  • Delete
  • I am using Photostream too. It seems it got updated because it did not work for some months and now its all great again.
    What I find strange/pity about these Ratings is that it is based on MS ratings and not national standards. Nudity in Europe for example isn't necessarily bad. While for MS it seems to be a big issue. Instead of MS Ratings, why not let users set their own filters on violence, nudity, etc?
  • I am looking at using this "feature" to remove one of my apps that is no longer necessary/applicable.
  • Bad idea to remove. It should have simply defaulted them to Adult, until the developer chooses to reclassify. For those who don't care about downloads, no big loss. For those who care about access and reach, it is an incentive. At the least, it would avoid the horrible user experience of breaking links or preventing restores after a clean install.
  • Yes default to adult would make much more sense than punishing every Windows user by taking away some of the most important apps in the store.
  • bye bye flickr Central which does not have age rating. the developer has disappeared!
  • I just looked at it out of curiosity, it says "for ages 12 and up"?
  • Right, but that is the old, non-universal, non-regulatory-compliant age rating. Take a look at most popular apps. There should be a rating at the top of the listing similar to what you see on movies, games, software packaging, etc. in your region.
  • < removed duplicate>
  • Would be nice if there was a way to look through one's library of owned apps to see if any apps are affected so as to know which ones would vanish if one were to reset and restore from a backup (or if you upgrade to a new phone and some apps just don't show up after you restore).
  • Ugh, looks like the Waze listing still hasn't been updated with an age rating. I rely on Waze every day. This will be truly awful if it disappears permanently from the store and cannot be restored to a new phone in the future.
  • I use HERE a ton (a couple of times a week) and it works very well for me. I live in New York (Long Island specifically). I'm not saying you'll like it as much as Waze but if you have to find a substitute, I think HERE is a great choice. But it's a shame they're going to remove so many good apps that work. Posted via the Windows Central App for Symbian
  • Actually, the built-in Maps app is just as good as any other option, really (I actually prefer it over HERE) The main benefit of Waze is the *truly* real-time crowd-sourced traffic and maps updated quickly after new roads are opened / redirected, etc. I live in the Washington DC Metro area, and this really is a must around here with constant road changes and rapidly changing traffic conditions.
  • Yeah here in NY, it's a safe bet no matter which road you take you're gonna hit traffic. Lol Posted via the Windows Central App for Symbian
  • Not sure I agree that the default maps app is as good as Here - you can't tap on transit stops and pull up the entire route of every bus/train line that passes through as you can with here. It's also lacking any detailed building info, such as store directories for shopping malls - both really useful features that the Win 10 maps app doesn't have yet.
  • Support for HERE was pulled some months ago. There was story on win central. My understanding was it would no longer work when red stone rolled out
  • So I did some spot-checking in my own library, and here's a long, alphabetical list of apps we'll be saying goodbye to at the end of next month if they don't wake up before then (this is way worse than I thought, so brace yourself... and then start contacting these places—Microsoft features in this list too—to tell them you don't want to lose their app!): Amazon Kindle
    Audible for Windows Phone
    Best Buy
    Bravo Now
    CBS News
    Cocktail Flow
    College Humor
    Comedy Central
    Discovery Channel
    IM+ Instant Messenger
    IM+ Pro
    Khan Academy
    Microsoft Store
    Shared Shopping List
    The CW
    The Huffington Post
    Trulia Real Estate
    United Airlines
    VUDU Movies & TV
    Watch ABC Family
    Wheres My Phone
    XE Currency
  • Microsoft Store - that brought a smile to my face :) Microsoft are a truly crazy company - really don't know why I backed this lame old horse. ANY sensible person would just default all apps to an adult rating. But to remove them entirely?!! Sheesh...I'm glad I went for an Android rather than a 950. This dog of a platform has deffo had its day.
  • Does this apply to all apps or only games and kids apps? Why put age restrictions on productivity apps for example?
  • Because those apps could (inadvertently or intentionally?) give you access to things that may not be appropriate for younger audiences. Quite a lot of apps fall into this category—particularly web browsers and communication / collaboration apps (although most of these in the store that have gotten ratings appear to have gone the easy route and marked them appropriate for everyone, even though it's probably not appropriate for 7 year olds to be using Skype without parental supervision).
  • Jessicator, for me I am fine if a 7yr old wanted to use Office Lens. But possibly MS disagrees. I really don't like them determining what decisions apply on me and my family. Every culture is different, so restrictions should be flexible. Or in my personal best case scenario, user generated.
  • Um, Office Lens is rated E for everyone. Even if it was not, a parent could always override.
  • Um..just a theoretical example. What's an obvious rating for an app for you might not be so obvious in other countries/cultures. MS for example blocked an app of a Dutch children's show rated in NL
  • And that is precisely why different cultures and countries have their own rating systems. It's not actually MS that picks the rating. It's the content provider or app publisher.
  • < duplicate removed >
  • Annoyingly much of my post was deleted by WC, because of the children's apps content. Anyways...MS definitely has a say in it. They apply their own set of rules which supercede those of a country. Now American companies are pretty prude, and just offend Europeans, but imagine the near future where for example Chinese (government) and Indian(government) OSes and hardware suppliers will reign the market. Now that someone started to apply rules to fit all, why wouldn't these countries be allowed to impose their (government) values upon us? And they will.
  • I wonder if WAZE will be one to go? Hopefully Google can get it together in time.
  • I'm sure Google would be very happy to see Microsoft remove their app from the store. Because that truly is an app with no comparable on Windows. Microsoft will be pushing customers into their competitors arms.
  • Good move, respect this one coming from msft. It's better to remove those apps today than get ppl disappointed over crappy apps tomorrow. I'm afraid Play store have thousands and thousands of unwanted apps yet Google doesn't want it removed. So that's how you stand on top with numbers, and that numbers have taken over ppl long ago.
  • Just have a look at Jessicator's list of her affected apps. We aren't just going to lose crap. We'll be losing things like Waze!!
  • Great, ios and android store has around 50% or more useless crappy apps, this is how to prevent it. Nevertheless we need more good apps for Windows (mobile)
  • The publishers have had ample time to become compliant. It only takes a few minutes to perform from what I gather. Publishers knew about this since January of this year. If a store cleansing results due to non-compliance SO BE IT. Quality over quantity! Face it. Publishers that don't care about the platform will not do a thing.
  • Scroll up in the comments to see the long list of apps we'll be losing... Some of these are things that a lot of people use daily. I get that publishers may not care, but let's at least try to inform consumers so they can get on those publisher's cases to update their listings.
  • I'm on it, boss lady!
  • This sounds like a terrible idea that will enrage Windows users.
  • It took my bank ABN-AMRO a while but they are just in time. Pfffff.
  • We already have a few apps and they will remove these. It must be total joke.
  • My guess is that Microsoft will have to back off this policy due to dev backlash and lack of visibility on the store. That, or find a different way to entice devs to adding the rating. I like someone else's suggestion though of making all apps "Teen" or "Adult" by default to thwart any short-term backlash. But yes, something will need to be done to keep in-line with this.
  • That deadline was already announced a few months ago, and in the meantime they sent devs several reminders stating that date. Right now, they are getting a bit more aggressive, by pretending that your app has been reviewed (without the dev asking for that) and was rated "non compliant".
  • #StoreIsOverParty /s seriously though this might not end well (maybe)
  • Hope it clears out a lot of the crApps. The numbers aren't worth it. Quality over quantity always
  • I've never considered myself the sharpest crayon in the box, that being said, developers weren't making Windows Phone apps equivalent to what they were making for Android and Apple so what makes you think they'll be coming back to clean up their mess. What incentive do they have? Not market share.
  • The purge is a good thing. Less fart apps!
  • This is the most ridicolus thing ever. Age ratings should only be on movies. Age ratings in apps and games are ****** up. Specially PEGI!
  • Agree. Boundaries (regions) are only in the interest of an ancient industry not willing to adapt to globalization. As a consumer these restrictions make it harder to buy apps and the opportunity to have apps created that now are considered to be in violation in some nations.
  • I wonder why Microsoft is so desperate to have such a silly and trivial thing hurt their Store so badly. Is it mandatory due to some new European or Murican laws?
  • This is just another nail in the windows mobile coffin.  Satya knows exactly what this will do.  That list has alot of high profile apps in it.   They will all be gone Sept 30.  Including windows store.  There is the writing on the wall,  the windows mobile platform will offically die on sept 30th.  All MS apps like one note etc will be loaded on windows 10 from OEM,  and from microsofts office website.  Since no one uses apps on desktop,  and just websites,  This is the future of MS!  
  • Let's be proactive. Everyone pick their favorite apps go to their developers website or go to the email, tell them how important and essential they are. They will response positively and we will save Windows. I'll do Google, because having to use only Edge makes me crazy (doesn't load my favorite pages right). Just joking, that's not our job. This should have been someone's responsibility all along.
  • Sorry Mike,  Until the nimrod that is ceo is fired,  there is no saving Windows.   
  • Thanks for the reminder.