Wednesday, November 28, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

How to Game the App Store

David Barnard:

I’ve been pestering Apple for years publicly and privately about the manipulation and outright scams going on in the App Store. Apple has made some progress here and there, but overall Apple’s strictness in some areas and hands off approach in others has disproportionately rewarded bad actors while stifling conscientious developers.


So, let’s talk about how developers are gaming the App Store and why it matters to the future of the platform. Any one of these tactics might seem somewhat bland individually, but when tens of thousands of apps deploy multiple tactics across many categories of apps, the impact can be measured in hundreds of millions of users and likely billions of dollars.

Previously: Apple Pulling High-Grossing Scammy Subscription Apps Off the App Store, Weather Alarms Scam.

Update (2018-11-30): Zac Hall:

The latest example is a rather sophisticated and devious trick used by an app that claims to read your heart rate through your fingertip using Touch ID. In reality, the app (which is currently on the App Store) uses your fingerprint to authorize a transaction for $89.99 while dramatically dimming the screen to fool you.

Dave DeLong:

Meanwhile, I’m in Day 6 of being “In Review” just because I added a single auto-renewing subscription to my app. #NotAmused

Update (2018-12-03): Guilherme Rambo:

This app had a list of Apple’s IP ranges, it was probably using them to change its behavior during app review

Update (2018-12-04): Ben Sandofsky:

Apple yanked over 700 apps from the Chinese App Store that were using rollout-like SDKs to avoid app review.

Previously: Apple Rejecting Apps That Use Rollout.

Lukas Stefanko:

Multiple apps posing as fitness-tracking tools were caught misusing Apple’s Touch ID feature to steal money from iOS users. The dodgy payment mechanism used by the apps is activated while victims are scanning their fingerprint, seemingly for fitness-tracking purposes.

John Gruber (tweet):

None of this is news, but it continues to surprise me that Apple hasn’t cracked down on all of these scams, especially the ones that trick people into paying for subscriptions. That’s just outright theft.

Update (2018-12-06): Dave DeLong:

Finally movement on my app. Got rejected for 2 reasonable things and 1 thing.

Apparently, the cost of my app after a free trial period isn’t explicit enough.

I’m not sure my eyes can roll any further back in to my head

One of the things I should’ve mentioned about that button (and the rest of that screen) is that I literally copied it from another app on the store. Same text, same layout. Just changed the name and the price of the IAP for my app.

Update (2018-12-12): Luc Vandal:

Let’s all celebrate @screensvnc 8th birthday with yet another silly metadata rejection from App Store Review.

Scam people all you want but don’t you dare show a Mac in your app preview so customers can understand how Curtain Mode works! This is fucking ridiculous.

1 Comment

Add to the list:
Download/decrypt free app, repackage it with your Ad banner views and publish as your own without changing functionality/design at all

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