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Stack Exchange developed two mobile apps: Stack Exchange app and Stack Overflow app.

The Stack Overflow app has been delisted for a while from the respective store:

However, just recently, the Stack Exchange Android app also disappeared from Play Store, while the iOS version is still there on App Store.

Some findings:


P.S.: Asking the question for animuson:

Do you know if this was asked about on Meta anywhere? It was not intentional for [the Stack Exchange app] to disappear, so if there's a question about why it disappeared it'd be nice to get a status-review on that so we can look into it more. [...] The Stack Overflow app was a separate app. That one should be gone from the stores. The Stack Exchange app is not maintained but was supposed to still stick around.

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    It was about time they disappeared, they were no longer maintained. Every so often a confused new user asks a question about it, I'd be glad if they didn't reinstate that broken piece of software.
    – Mast
    Aug 18 '20 at 4:45
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    It is worth noting that when Kasra left the company, SE lost access to the accounts under which the apps were published, and when the Stack Overflow app was taken down, they decided not to go through the (supposedly) onerous process to recover access to their account since there wasn't any point in doing so (they weren't going to republish that app). Aug 18 '20 at 5:08
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    Wild guess: disappointed users flagged/reported the app, SE did not respond to Google attempts to contact them, and as result it was removed. But... can't really know. :/ Aug 18 '20 at 5:15
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    A distinct non-answer: you should have asked "why took it that long" instead? Software that isn't maintained any more is always prone to turn into a security risk. When you know that your product is dead, then kill it for good, instead of keeping it around on some app stores. Those places aren't supposed to be graveyards for half dead zombies.
    – GhostCat
    Aug 18 '20 at 6:13
  • @GhostCat Well, the comment from animuson quoted in the question belies that question; as they said, the app wasn't supposed to be removed. Aug 18 '20 at 6:41
  • If it wasn't to be maintained at all, eventual removal was bound to happen. I used to use it, but found the web version more feature-rich anyway. I'm sure there'll be a few upset people but in 6-12 months noone will likely care.
    – Robotnik
    Aug 18 '20 at 7:02
  • @SonictheMaskedWerehog And I am saying that such an approach "dont fix it any more, but keep it available" is a bad idea.
    – GhostCat
    Aug 18 '20 at 8:08
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    @Robotnik The primary use case of the app is phone notifications. I usually don't use the app at all, but just have it installed for the sake of notifications. That's why they're still keeping the app up, even though it's not supported. Aug 18 '20 at 8:10
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    Good or bad, the app was at least a convenient way to access the platforms on mobile devices. Isn't there a way to get an official answer from Stack Exchange rather than making guesses? :P I'll go the APK way though for as long as it still works.
    – singhnsk
    Aug 27 '20 at 20:31
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    Commenting just to acknowledge this wasn't forgotten, and is in the CM backlog to figure out what happened here.
    – JNat StaffMod
    Oct 8 '20 at 14:19
  • @JNat see answer by Chris, it most likely explain what happened. Nov 9 '20 at 12:08
  • @SonictheK-DayHedgehog - notifications in the app have been broken since Android 10, I was literally just coming here to post something asking if there were any plans to fix that, when I learned that the app is no longer in the Play Store at all....
    – patbarron
    Nov 16 '20 at 19:35
  • @patbarron Seems like an issue with your device. I'm running Android 11 and notifications still work for me Nov 16 '20 at 20:54
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    Thanks for the tip, @MetaAndrewT. — the person who was in charge of the app doesn't work here any more, though, which is why it's a bit more complicated, but that's where we were starting to look late last year before the break, yup.
    – JNat StaffMod
    Jan 11 at 11:06
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    I understand all the "it was not maintained, so remove it" comments and answers. But what about making a new app? The mobile site kind of sucks, mobile is the future and although not all functions worked very well in the app, it at least kept me way more active on the Stack sites, I miss the Android app, especially the notifications and would like (a better) one back. Where do we vote for that? The currently available third party one with all respect suck even more.
    – Bob Ortiz
    Jan 20 at 20:52
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Similar to what happened with the Stack Overflow app on iOS, we didn’t deliberately de-list the Stack Exchange app from the Play Store. As far as we understand, it was taken down by Google due to reported bugs that went unresolved. In previous posts we said we’re no longer maintaining the apps and are instead investing in responsive design to support smaller screens natively. However, we were OK with letting the mobile apps remain listed for those using them as our mobile strategy was not defined. Prior to today, the only remaining app available was the Stack Exchange iOS app in the App Store.

At this time I can confirm that we do not plan to invest in building native mobile apps. As such, we’ve decided to officially de-list the Stack Exchange iOS app from the App Store as well. Allowing it to linger has caused confusion for users, overhead for us to investigate each time it comes up, and an overall bad experience for having something out there that we’re not maintaining.

We understand that push notifications were one of the primary features that users enjoyed with the mobile apps. As we beef up responsive design, we will be exploring web push notifications as well. There’s no timeline for this yet but it is something that’s on our radar that we’d like to get to.

Lastly, at this point, we will continue to maintain the mobile API routes that are still running server side as we have been doing because the maintenance is low and it’ll keep the app running for those who have already installed it. It should be noted, however, that services specific to the app will have low maintenance priority, components may be decommissioned as the need arises, and issues with the general public API will continue to have their normal maintenance priority.

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    Thanks for keeping the APIs available. My broken image repairer script depends on it...
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Apr 8 at 18:20
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    Given that you intend to invest in web push notifications at some point, can this request asking for them be changed from declined to deferred? Apr 8 at 19:29
  • @SonictheCuriouserHedgehog Sure thing. Updated.
    – Des StaffMod
    Apr 8 at 20:23
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    Can you please also delink them from your website? I still get results saying "open with app" but when i click it the play store open. Basically all stackoverlow links from mobile are broken for me. Jun 30 at 22:41
  • @DanieleSegato Any chance you could upload a screenshot of what you're seeing? Link it in a comment here or feel free to email me directly - adam@stackoverflow.com. As far as I know we cleared out all existing pointed to the apps, but it's certainly possible we missed something.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jul 1 at 20:50
  • Hi Adam! I've sent you via email with an email titled "Stackoverlow Android Google Play app ghost" Jul 3 at 6:40
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You said that AppBrain stated that it was delisted on July 28, 2020 and there was no Play Store policy deadlines around that time which is not quite true.

Google have said that 64-bit support must be available by August 1, 2020 if the app uses a Corona Labs SDK or Adobe AIR software and the AIR SDK

The Play Store policy deadlines state:

As of August 1, 2019, apps and games published on Google Play must support 64-bit ABIs for their corresponding 32-bit architectures. Apps and games that use a Corona Labs SDK or Adobe Air software and the AIR SDK have until August 1, 2020 to comply. Games built with Unity 5.6.7 and lower have until August 1, 2021 to comply

I don't know anything about app development and therefore I don't know about the Stack Exchange app, but maybe Google was three days premature if it is because the apps are 32-bit only and used the Corona Labs or Adobe Air SDK.

Maybe it was taken down by Google because they assessed its security level and found risks within the app.

In my view, as it was so buggy, it should have been taken down a long time ago. The apps have not been updated since 2017 and it doesn't look like they will ever be updated with bug fixes, etc. As @GhostCat points out in the comments:

Software that isn't maintained any more is always prone to turn into a security risk.

When you know that your product is not going to be maintained, then kill it for good, instead of keeping it around on some app stores.

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    imgur.com/DHMqZSo is a screenshot of the open source page - for reference. Could be 32 bit only and they might have waited.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Nov 11 '20 at 10:57

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