The iCulture app is going to shut down – and here's why


After years of loyal service, it is time to say goodbye: the iCulture app will disappear from August 1, 2023. Why? We explain that in this article and we also tell you what it means for you as a current user and for people who still have in-app purchases. Jean-Paul Horn | – 29 March 2023, 16:00 whatsappfacebooktwittertelegramlinkedinmailprint

You may be wondering what's going on with the iCulture app. The app has not been updated for a while and new functions such as widgets are not yet included. After the major update to version 3.0, we made some minor improvements and bug fixes, but that was about it. That is not a conscious choice. Of course we would have preferred to keep our app up to date and make new improvements with every major iOS release, but unfortunately that turned out not to be possible. Here's what's going on.

Our permanent freelance app developer indicated some time ago that he could no longer develop for us due to his new full-time job at a global party. A new developer would quickly become too expensive for us. Of course we pay our freelancers a decent fee, but the current market conditions make it virtually impossible for small parties such as iCulture to hire a developer on a permanent basis or for several days a week. Developers are in demand and many independent developers have opted for more stability due to the uncertain economic situation worldwide.

Why are there no bug fixes?

There is also a reason why we are no longer developing the current version and have not fixed any bugs. We had been working on a complete rewrite of the app since 2021, which was already well advanced, but unfortunately we were unable to complete it due to the departure of the developer. It would take a new developer (if we could find one) quite some time to familiarize himself with code written by someone else. That simply costs us too much money.

We are aware that the current app contains some (very) annoying bugs. We are unable to fix these bugs because Apple no longer accepts updates of the current app. It no longer meets the current requirements.

In short: we were faced with three options: keep the app up and running in its current form as long as possible and wait until everything really crashes (that's beyond our credit), take a programming course ourselves (unfortunately, we have it with the current staff already busy enough with the website, so that won't work) or permanently stop using the app. We have chosen the latter with pain in our hearts. Not a nice decision, but it's better to be on the ‘highlight’ to stop, then wait until we are bombarded with complaints, because nothing works properly anymore.

Fewer and fewer news apps available

We understand that it is disappointing: the largest Apple site in the Netherlands must have an app, right? But that is not entirely unique if you look at the well-known international colleagues: our friends from MacRumors have never had their own app and the 9to5Mac app has not been updated for three years. Probably for the same reasons: in an ideal world, good developers are available in large numbers and can work an infinite number of hours on a perfect app, but if “smaller” news organization just can't do that. Another point that also plays a role for us is that the existence of the app holds back the development of the website, because every new feature must also be properly displayed in the app, so we lost a lot of time with that.

< p>Well-known Dutch tech sites such as Tweakers and Bright have not had their own app for years and are still doing fine. That has not been a reason for us to stop using the app. On the contrary, we have tried to keep it up as long as possible, but we have now reached a point where we feel that the current app in version 3.x really can't keep up and we can no longer justify the investment.< /p>

Now what?
At the time of publishing this article, the app is no longer available in the App Store. You can still use the app, but from August 1, 2023 the app will be functionally disabled. You can of course still visit our website, on desktop or mobile.

If you want to continue to receive notifications from iCulture, you can do so from iOS 16.4 thanks to the push notifications for websites. This works the same way as push notifications for websites on the Mac, but on your iPhone and iPad. You can set this via choose the gear icon for user settings in the web app via the menu. You will find the option for notifications at the bottom of the page. You can find more information in our article Add website to home screen.

The ability to buy off the ads via an in-app subscription has also now been disabled. Current in-app subscriptions will of course remain active until the app stops. People with an in-app subscription with an end date after August 1, 2023 can request a refund of the remaining part of their subscription fee after that date, if they wish. We have made an inventory of how many people this is, but this number is so small that we can easily handle this administratively. We will report on this in due course.

Long history
The iCulture app has been around since 2009 (!) and appeared a year after the App Store was launched. Initially still under the name ‘iPc’, since Apple changed our real name ‘iPhoneclub’ were not allowed to use. With the name change to ‘iCulture’ changed the name of the app, of course. Over the years, we've regularly added new features when it made sense for our news app. For example, push messages soon came in to keep you informed of new articles. We later refined this further so that you could only receive a notification for breaking news or our editorial choice. That option is also available for the web push notifications, so you don't have to worry about suddenly receiving a notification for every article.

We were also one of the few Apple news sites with an iPad version of the app. It earned a nice rating in the App Store of 4.6 stars based on 7,000 reviews. Something we are also very proud of is that our app was very accessible to blind and visually impaired users from the start, including with VoiceOver. We've received compliments on this several times from VoiceOver users. Of course we will take those experiences with us to make our (mobile) website even better and more accessible.

Unfortunately, it really is coming to an end now. Thank you for your always well-founded feedback and for your enthusiasm. We hope that you will continue to visit iCulture via the website – desktop or mobile.