Google may delete (purchased) apps from your Android devices

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 15, 2024
Google Android

When you buy an app or game digitally, you don't really own it. What this means is that it can be taken away from you at any time, usually without compensation. The advice is to buy physical products whenever possible.

One such case of a game being removed just happened for Android users who happened to buy the action RPG Wayward Souls. Released in 2014 for Android, Wayward Souls is a classic action RPG that has similarities to Secrets of Mana and other classics.

The game is still available for other platforms, but when you check its Google Play Store listing, you will get a 404 not found error. The game is gone, not only from the Play Store but apparently also from user devices thanks to Google's remote deletion capabilities.

Android Store Wayward Souls removed

Android users who bought Wayward Souls on Google Play are affected. The last snapshot of the game on Google Play listed it with a rating of 4.0, 10k reviews and over 100,000 downloads.

A user on Reddit asked if the game got delisted. The post dates back 2 months, but it can take time before games get pulled from user devices as well.

Android Police estimates that more than 300 titles were removed from the Play Store and user devices as of June 2022.

With millions of apps and games available for Android, the issue may look minor to many. In some cases, Google pulls apps and games that it verified to be malicious or problematic in other regards. In the case of Wayward Souls and some others, it does not appear to be related to this.

Google's policies are not very clear on the matter. Delistings may happen when developers pull their games or apps, or when the apps or games violate developer policies or distribution agreements.

While Google states that Android users may continue to use these games and apps after they have been delisted, this is apparently not entirely true anymore. Refunds are only offered in specific cases. These include when someone else using a user's account made a purchase or when users report unauthorized charges made using their cards or other payment methods. Android users from the EU and UK may also get a refund up to 48 hours after they made a purchase.

In other words, buyers of the Wayward Souls game won't receive compensation for the removal.

Closing Words

Unlike on PC or consoles, there is no option to buy physical Android games or apps. The only option is digital through Google Play or any of the other stores available. While it is unlikely that a purchase is removed, it can happen and has happened.

As far as games are concerned, there is a good chance that gamers buy multiple games from a single developer. Some users on the Reddit thread mentioned that multiple games were removed from their accounts. This can't be verified, but it is plausible.

Android users may save installed Android apps and games. These can then be installed at any time on devices, including emulators on PCs and other devices. Google can't remove the apps or games if Google Play is not installed on the device.

Now You: do you buy apps?

Google may delete (purchased) apps from your Android devices
Article Name
Google may delete (purchased) apps from your Android devices
Android owners of the game Wayward Souls noticed recently that the game has been pulled from their devices. No word or notification from Google on the matter.
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  1. K. said on January 17, 2024 at 6:40 am

    You vill own nothing and You vill be happy.

  2. Reverie72 said on January 17, 2024 at 2:45 am

    google deleted app which purcashed its true. i buy 2 game in google play store. after i changed device and look the the game, its deleted from google play store. i very dissapointed with this policy.

  3. Leland said on January 15, 2024 at 10:36 pm

    I have several apps I purchased suddenly get pulled from the app store. That said I have yet to see one of them pulled from my device. I think many of these happened when Android 14 came out and it was clear some of these apps would have issues with that version. I suspect some were voluntarily pulled so as not to effect the other apps the authors still have listed on the app store. Bouncer is one I can think of off the top of my head. Battery Bar is another.

  4. Anonymous said on January 15, 2024 at 7:58 pm

    patronizing the customer sheep 4tw .

  5. Mike said on January 15, 2024 at 5:17 pm

    On today’s episode of “why I don’t give these companies money anymore.”

  6. bruh said on January 15, 2024 at 10:40 am

    That’s why you get cracked/pirated APKs with Google stuff removed from the manifest (as much as possible).

    When pirating something gets you a better experience, you’ve lost.

    1. Benjamin said on January 15, 2024 at 9:42 pm

      …you mean of course the piracy of corporations… in this case Google…

    2. Scroogled said on January 15, 2024 at 8:13 pm

      This is the way. I always backup my APK file before I get Scroogled.

    3. Mystique said on January 15, 2024 at 4:04 pm

      This is the way. I would rather donate to a developer and pirate an app than pay google so they can only give the app developer a few cents on the dollar.
      I don’t like or appreciate analytics and telemetry in my software and apps are jam packed with them. It’s funny how so many “experts” will tell you the evils of pirated apps and spyware but then deliberately ignore the fact that apps are spying on you right out of the box as it is.

      I would even go so far as to say you could also buy a cheaper phone root it, install Luckypatcher and patch your own apps and then repack them to deploy on your main phone. Of course there are better ways but still most definitely better than google play.

      I prefer apps that are also delivered through git repositories such as github and then use obtainium to keep your apps up to date. If the apps are free and you like the app and developer then you could look at making some donation if that is at all possible too.

  7. Tachy said on January 15, 2024 at 9:27 am

    This is nothing new. Download the game from someplace like APK Pure and sideload it and disable google play protect.

    (disabling it only stops it from scanning apps that didn’t come from the store)

  8. Anonymous said on January 15, 2024 at 9:02 am

    These days it is rarely possible to receive a refund for any app purchase in the Google Store in the EU. During the purchase, the user is forced to waive the right to return the application. Getting a refund is almost impossible, as the user must contact the developer. It’s surprising this has not been announced and it’s not possible to find any articles about it.

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