Apple extends native app deadline by six months

12 September 2019

Apple has granted developers an extra six months in which to ensure their apps are updated to be fully native to iOS.

Gambling app developers now have until 3 March, 2020 to develop iOS apps, rather than HTML5 products hosted within a native wrapper. After this date, all non-native apps will be removed from the technology giant’s App Store.

The announcement was made days after the original deadline, set in June, passed on 3 September.

In June, Apple amended its App Store review guidelines to announce that any product not built purposefully for its operating system “may not provide access to real money gaming, lotteries, or charitable donations, and may not support digital commerce”.

This caused a potential headache for the gambling industry, with the majority of iOS apps built as ‘container apps’ where an iOS frame is built around an HTML5 product. This practice has been widespread in the industry, as it is less expensive and time-consuming to develop.

At the time, Betfred-backed digital marketing specialist Degree 53 warned that building a fully native iOS app in just three months was “a massive undertaking and potentially unrealistic”.

“It will require sizable and skilled native development teams to ensure all functionalities are fully compliant,” Degree 53 explained.

Businesses that fail to develop iOS apps by the deadline not only face their apps being withdrawn from the App Store, but are also likely to see Apple reject updates to non-compliant apps. It is also likely that customers will be unable to download updates to products already installed on their phones.