Why are Android apps removed from Google Play? a large-scale empirical study

Haoyu Wang, Hao Li, Li Li, Yao Guo, Guoai Xu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


To ensure the quality and trustworthiness of the apps within its app market (i.e., Google Play), Google has released a series of policies to regulate app developers. As a result, policy-violating apps (e.g., malware, low-quality apps, etc.) have been removed by Google Play periodically. In reality, we have found that the number of removed apps are actually much more than what we have expected, as almost half of all the apps have been removed or replaced from Google Play during a two year period from 2015 to 2017. However, despite the significant number of removed apps, there are almost no study on the characterization of these removed apps. To this end, this paper takes the first step to understand why Android apps are removed from Google Play, aiming at observing promising insights for both market maintainers and app developers towards building a better app ecosystem. By leveraging two app sets crawled from Google Play in 2015 (over 1.5 million) and 2017 (over 2.1 million), we have identified a set of over 790K removed apps, which are then thoroughly investigated in various aspects. The experimental results have revealed various interesting findings, as well as insights for future research directions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2018 ACM/IEEE 15th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories, MSR 2018
Subtitle of host publicationGothenburg, Sweden 28-29 May 2018
EditorsEmily Hill
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450357166
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventIEEE International Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories 2018 - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 28 May 201829 May 2018
Conference number: 15th
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/conhome/8593335/proceeding (Proceedings)


ConferenceIEEE International Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories 2018
Abbreviated titleMSR 2018
Internet address


  • Android
  • app mining
  • app store
  • malware

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