iOS - saving an app that's being removed from App Store?

Gloomhaven Helper, an app that makes Gloomhaven faster to play, is being removed on May 22 by the developer because of a squabble with the creator of GH. I don’t care about the squabble, but want to preserve the app, which I purchased a while back.

I have an old iPad and an old iPhone and I’ll probably replace both within a year, and would like to have the app on my devices when I get them later. I have a Win10 laptop, though my wife has a Macbook.

Suggestions on how to preserve this now, and install it later? I have no clue how this would be done.

Even if the app is removed from the App Store, if you’ve bought it, it should stay on your devices and be downloadable on new ones through your App Store ‘Purchased’ tab. The bigger issue is that eventually newer versions of iOS will make that app obsolete, at which point your only option will be to continue running it on a device you haven’t updated to the newest version of iOS. But that should be a couple years away.

Ok, thank you. They say ‘removed from the App store’ I assumed that meant removed completely. Fingers crossed it’ll still be there for download after.

The eventual obsolesce is not a huge deal – once I get through GH:Jaws of the Lion (which I haven’t started) I’ll probably be fully done with Gloomhaven.


iTunes used to back up apps, but I don’t think it does anymore.

iMazing will do it though. I haven’t used it myself, but it seems to be the most popular choice for this type of thing.

This is generally true, but there are exceptions. Apple can remove things entirely—you can’t re-download them—and typically does so when an app slipped something past app review that Apple doesn’t allow. I think this has happened with emulators in the past, as an example.

I believe there is a way for the app owner to make the same request, that an app be removed entirely and unable to be re-downloaded. I don’t know the specifics of when they would choose this, but if the “squabble” is actually playing out in court or something with legal enforcement, this may be a case where that happens. So I’d look into something like what @LeeAbe suggests just to be safe.

Will do, thanks. Certainly if I get a new iPad, I could just keep and use the old one for that single app. But it’s nice knowing you have it tucked away somewhere.

Respectfully, I think for Tyler’s use case this is a complete waste of time. If a developer removes an app from sale, it is always available on compatible devices for people who already purchased it. Even if Apple pulls an app for sale–for example, because a dev snuck an emulator into it or something–the app remains for people who already purchased it. Apple has occasionally used a “kill switch” to nuke certain apps from orbit on all devices, but they only do this for malicious or highly illegal apps. This just isn’t going to happen with an app designed to help people play a board game more efficiently, full stop.

This is not always true. I’ve had more than one app disappear entirely, like Battle fleet Gothic: Leviathan. They are able to remove apps that you paid for not just from the public store but from your private purchase history, be aware. The only way to be sure you keep it, I think, is to keep it downloaded. Eventually, of course, some iOS update will break it and that will be that.