Shady developers are turning Apple's app subscriptions into giant scams

This huge spike encouraged Lin to look at the store's own list of the top grossing apps. If you're the organiser of a family plan, you can't manage the subscriptions of others, those are managed by the individual accounts. Citing an App Annie report, he added that the App Store had generated twice the revenue of Google's Play Store in the March quarter.

In the scenario described, iOS users are enticed to subscribe to illegitimate services such as virus scanners, VPN apps, and password generators, among others.

Apple will impose limits on how many times apps may present a pop-up to ask you to review them on the App Store, 9to5Mac reported.

The VPN app offers to "auto scan duplicated contacts, merge or delete", as well as a full scan which will "scan for dupplicate (sic) name, phone, email, no name, no phone, no email". But when we tried to release to the App Store, we got hit with "Your app contains images and references of Pepe the Frog, which are considered objectionable content". To earn that amount the app would only need around 200 subscribers.

For Apple, the tipping is not encouragement for content creators, rather the same as the purchase of game, music and video, which should be classified as in-app purchase, and Apple can take 30 percent as commission.

Apple has been notoriously opaque about its review process, which has been a source of frustration to many developers over the years.

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While there have always been apps from less reputable developers in the App Store, one developer called attention to just how bad the problem has become in recent months.

Apple is known to have an iron grip on what apps can or cannot do, however the policy for tipping was unclear. So, if that is the case, how on earth did a fraudulent app like this make it into the App Store in the first place?

Gruber argued that Apple needs to reassess "the effects of allowing developers to buy their way to the top spot in search results".

Chinese online content aggregation app Toutiao and popular question-and-answer website Zhihu said they had reached a compromise with Apple.

Subscriptions and In-App Purchases can also be purchased directly from the App Store outside the app which will be helpful for large brands on the App Store who are big on the Freemium model.

  • Toni Ryan