Apple says that it protected many millions of users from being defrauded to the tune of nearly $1.5 billion dollars in the last year, by policing its official App Store.
According to a newly published report by Apple, over 1.6 million risky and untrustworthy apps and app updates were stopped in their tracks due to the company’s fraud prevention analysis.
During 2021, Apple says that over 835,000 problematic new apps, and an additional 805,000 app updates, were rejected or removed for violating the App Store’s guidelines – which aim to weed out buggy, unfinished apps, as well as those which contain potential issues related to privacy, security, and spam.
Some of the more flagrant violations can include apps which contain hidden or undocumented features (more than 34,500 apps) or those which can cause harm (over 157,000 apps) by being spammy, acting as copycats for other apps, or mislead users by manipulating them into making a purchase.
Both Google and Apple app stores have been plagued with apps that fleece users of large amounts of money if they do not cancel their “subscription” before the end of a short “free trial.” Time and time again it has been found that people can be duped into starting free trials of an app, not realising they will be automatically converted into a paid subscription.
Meanwhile, Apple notes that it is not unknown for app developers to attempt to circumvent its review process by creating an app that works in a particular way, only to change its behaviour once approved. In 2021, over 155,000 apps were removed from the App Store for this reason.
Developers who repeatedly offend are removed from the Apple Developer Program, effectively barring them from submitting apps in the future.
Of course, Apple’s own vetting system can only go so far – and it is likely that some fraudulent apps continue to slip through the net. For that reason, the general public is encouraged to report problems to Apple