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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:14 PM   #1
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Apple Now Locking Screenshots for Submitted Apps, Shutting Down Popular Scam Tactic




Apple today announced on its Developer Portal that screenshots added to app descriptions will be locked in place once an app has been approved.
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Beginning January 9, app screenshots will be locked in iTunes Connect once your app has been approved. New screenshots may be uploaded when you submit a binary for an update to an existing app or a new app.
This small but important update shuts down a widely used scam tactic, where developers would upload game screenshots to get an app approved by Apple and then switch them out with screenshots from another popular app.

The scam tricked people into buying fake apps with screenshots ripped from another, more popular game, or a game that has not been ported to iOS at all.

For example, in one instance, an unofficial Pokemon Yellow app was uploaded to the App Store. The app snuck by Apple using an unobtrusive set of screenshots, and then switched them out with photos from the Nintendo game, which thousands of people then purchased.

Several apps have slipped past Apple using this method, including several Minecraft clones that simply use Minecraft screenshots to promote an entirely different game. For example in this video from Panic Blog, a Minecraft clone named "Mooncraft" is demonstrated. The app, presumably, used different screenshots to get past Apple reviewers, and then later changed the game information.

While Apple pulls these apps from the App Store quickly, it is rarely able to do so before hundreds of people lose money. Apple has refunded the purchase price of scam apps in the past, however.

Article Link: Apple Now Locking Screenshots for Submitted Apps, Shutting Down Popular Scam Tactic
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:16 PM   #2
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And now people can cry about a "walled garden" with no regard for the people who were being ripped off. As for me, I think this is a perfect move.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:17 PM   #3
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This never happened to me... receiving a "fake" app....
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:18 PM   #4
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Sometimes it makes you feel we live in a rather unpleasant world with all this fraud and deception.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:25 PM   #5
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While this is a good move, I don't think Apple is going far enough.

At the very least, buyers should be able to report (as well as request for refund) directly from the iOS device (App Store) under following category: (1) app constantly crashes, (2) app does something completely different, (3) app does not work properly on my iOS device, and (4) accidental purchase. And # of times the app has been reported for these issues should be included in the product description.

And if the app has been reviewed by Apple as a scam, every single apps from that company should be pulled out.

And finally, downloading free apps should not prompt for password. And dialog box for entering password should indicate final price of the app.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nutmac View Post
While this is a good move, I don't think Apple is going far enough.

At the very least, buyers should be able to report (as well as request for refund) directly from the iOS device (App Store) under following category: (1) app constantly crashes, (2) app does something completely different, (3) app does not work properly on my iOS device, and (4) accidental purchase. And # of times the app has been reported for these issues should be included in the product description.

And if the app has been reviewed by Apple as a scam, every single apps from that company should be pulled out.

And finally, downloading free apps should not prompt for password. And dialog box for entering password should indicate final price of the app.
tim@apple.com

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Originally Posted by cclloyd9785 View Post
Does somebody at apple try every app to make sure it works, along with looking where it accesses, etc. or just quickly review what the app looks like?
they only screen for porn
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:44 PM   #7
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tim@apple.com

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they only screen for porn
That's not Tim Cooks real email address. Just so folks know.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:54 PM   #8
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That's not Tim Cooks real email address. Just so folks know.
actually it is timmy@apple.com pronounced like southpark's TiMMy
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by nutmac View Post
While this is a good move, I don't think Apple is going far enough.
...
And finally, downloading free apps should not prompt for password. And dialog box for entering password should indicate final price of the app.
This at least has the benefit of someone not downloading a ton of useless apps if they borrow your phone without your knowledge.

Good change from Apple, very customer-centric.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 02:46 AM   #10
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This at least has the benefit of someone not downloading a ton of useless apps if they borrow your phone without your knowledge.
That's what a passcode is for. I'm tempted to say that Apple make you enter your password for free apps so that people that only buy free apps don't forget their password.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 03:09 AM   #11
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Ichabod.
benefit of someone not downloading a ton of useless apps if they borrow your phone without your knowledge.
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That's what a passcode is for.
Right - Not Possible by Chance.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nutmac View Post
While this is a good move, I don't think Apple is going far enough.

At the very least, buyers should be able to report (as well as request for refund) directly from the iOS device (App Store) under following category: (1) app constantly crashes, (2) app does something completely different, (3) app does not work properly on my iOS device, and (4) accidental purchase. And # of times the app has been reported for these issues should be included in the product description.

And if the app has been reviewed by Apple as a scam, every single apps from that company should be pulled out.

And finally, downloading free apps should not prompt for password. And dialog box for entering password should indicate final price of the app.
I fully agree with what you said. The only exception is the bolded part. For me, sometimes I hand my iPhone to my 6 yr old to play with and he knows how to roam the app store very well. If free apps didn't require at least an initial password-authoriztion, I'd get my phone back with pages and pages of newly installed apps.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 05:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ichabod. View Post
This at least has the benefit of someone not downloading a ton of useless apps if they borrow your phone without your knowledge.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATC View Post
The only exception is the bolded part. For me, sometimes I hand my iPhone to my 6 yr old to play with and he knows how to roam the app store very well. If free apps didn't require at least an initial password-authoriztion, I'd get my phone back with pages and pages of newly installed apps.
Very valid concern, but I think this would be better handled if Apple allowed temporary override of restricted operation. For instance, my iPad is sometimes used by my 4-year son. Under Restrictions, it has both Installing Apps and Deleting Apps restricted. IMO, there should be an option to override restricted operation via passcode.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 05:26 PM   #14
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Do diligence, it's a customer's obligation regardless of how high they think the garden walls are. Always reasearch your apps if you care about your money (and your privacy).
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 01:42 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by nutmac View Post
Very valid concern, but I think this would be better handled if Apple allowed temporary override of restricted operation. For instance, my iPad is sometimes used by my 4-year son. Under Restrictions, it has both Installing Apps and Deleting Apps restricted. IMO, there should be an option to override restricted operation via passcode.
I use those restrictions on my kids iPads/iPods and think it's great. I also have an 11 year old whom I donít want to be scammed by these phoney apps. She does like Pokemon
Itís hard to keep track on my daughters galaxy tab though. It doesnít ask for a password on free apps which is kind of scary. I do use age restrictions itís just hard because itís also my wifeís phone account.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 02:18 PM   #16
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Finally, downloading free apps should not prompt for password.
That's a GREAT list with a little amendment to this. Maybe the option to turn off password prompt for free apps would work, but I need this feature with a kid who uses the iPad frequently. I don't want a thousand crappy apps being added to my devices when I'm not around. ^_^
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:19 PM   #17
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This actually makes a lot of sense. Good job, apple. I'm also really liking the new icons on the iTunes connect home screen. Any other devs notice that?
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:21 PM   #18
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Walled garden or not, this is a great move by Apple. Devs who do this are absolutely ridiculous.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:24 PM   #19
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I always liked how "ponzi scheme" sounded, even though it is completely unrelated.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:26 PM   #20
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One more thing Apple.. Please reject apps that use posters instead of actual screenshots.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 07:09 AM   #21
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Walled garden or not, this is a great move by Apple. Devs who do this are absolutely ridiculous.
I think sums up the opinions of everyone here. Well done Apple. A great way to beat the shoddy developers.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 09:34 AM   #22
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Seems the scammers in the above example didn't even have to code anything, they just took some opensourced iOS game called Alphabet Blocks:
http://www.insurgentgames.com/alphabet-blocks/

So they are scum in every sense.

Surely Apple requires developer identification for security purposes so potential malware authors can be tracked down, so how can the scammers hope to get away with it? It is outright fraud. Does Apple pay micropayments for each sale as they occur, or lumpsums at the end of some financial period? If the latter, surely the scams will be detected before the payout unless it is right before the financial period is ending.

Apple's online stores sorely needs a Refund button (which will erase the local copy on all devices and cancel registrations), with the onus being on Apple as the retailer to refund the money, which they can withhold from payouts to the developer.
I'm sure there are ways to game this, but some amount of fraud/theft/loss is always accounted for in any retail system, and can be mitigated just as this move does for the bait-and-switch scam.
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 07:51 AM   #23
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Devs who do this are absolutely ridiculous.
Devs who do this are underhand sneaks, if not downright fraudsters.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:24 PM   #24
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this actually makes a lot of sense. Good job, apple.
Not really -- it's merely a reaction to a problem caused by an inadequate app review process. Apps like this would have never been allowed into the App store if Apple reviewers actually bothered to test them.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 04:25 PM   #25
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So ... there's no Pokemon Yellow...? *Sniff*
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