Developers complain that Apple promotes fake apps in the App Store

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Samuel Axon

Developers have once again publicly highlighted cases where Apple has failed to block fake apps from the App Store. The applications in question charge users unusual fees and generate revenue from legitimate or high-quality applications. Although Apple has previously been criticized for not banning the release of such apps, developers this week complained that Apple was actually promoting some of those apps.

Apple’s Australian App Store has published a story called “Slime Tension” which highlights a certain category of applications. but according to For some developers and moderators, some of these applications have very high subscriptions, although they do not offer many features.

Take, for example, an application called the exhausting title “Jelly: Slime Simulator, ASMR”. Unless users sign in, the app is full of ads; It is run more than once in a row before the user interacts with it in any meaningful way. The MacRumors report says the app would use the “$ 13 per week subscription feature” to remove these ads. (When we downloaded the app ourselves, we were asked to sign up for about half the price of $ 7.99 per week. It’s not clear to us if prices have changed since the first reports or if there are regional price differences.)

As MacRumors also noted, Apple’s App Store review guidelines explicitly state that Apple “rejects expensive apps that try to deceive users at unreasonably high prices”. Obviously, this is subjective and open to interpretation, but some developers claim that this and other applications from the story of “Slime Relaxations” go too far.

These are not new problems. Developer Costa Eleftheriou prominent Apple Watch application scam triggered by fake reviews. Apple distance The offensive app after Eleftheri’s comments received extensive posting on Twitter and in the media. But Eleftherio and other developers set out to find out More scam apps.

Apple in the current situation defended its efforts to prevent fake apps from the App Store Submitted to The Verge When the press reported Eleftheria’s findings:

We take comments of fraudulent activities seriously, investigate every report, and take action. The App Store is designed to be a safe and reliable place for users to download apps and a great opportunity for developer development. We do not tolerate any fraudulent activity in the App Store and we have strict rules against apps and developers trying to cheat the system. In 2020 alone, we shut down more than half a million developer accounts due to fraud and removed more than 60 million user comments that were considered spam. As part of our ongoing efforts to preserve the integrity of our platform, our Discovery Fraud team is actively working to eliminate these types of abuse, constantly improving its processes.

Apple continues to play with these apps, but many developers have publicly and privately complained that the company is taking too long. The developer we emailed with claimed that it took Apple 10 days to remove the app, while Google only needed it when it discovered a fake app that stole property from its legitimate app that was apparently on it, and intended is to extract users from the right applications. a day or two ”by Android. The app was allowed to return to the Apple App Store as soon as the stolen property was removed. During the long wait, the legitimate app developer lost many users and profits, while the illegal app developer profited.

Like Apple, it fights lawsuits to prevent third-party stores from accessing iOS because these alternative app stores may be less secure than Apple’s, claims by developers that leaked fake apps could jeopardize Apple’s defense. The company has a big incentive to stop fake apps and there seems to be a will. But the processes that Apple uses to achieve this goal seem far from perfect, and therefore legitimate users and developers are also at risk.

Given that Apple has invested in solving this problem, it’s hard to imagine that the examples the developers have uncovered are more cases of malignancy than inefficiency. But the consequences can often be the same for developers and users.

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