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Apple Now Locking Screenshots for Submitted Apps, Shutting Down Popular Scam Tactic

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot



    Apple today announced on its Developer Portal that screenshots added to app descriptions will be locked in place once an app has been approved.
    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
  2. macrumors 6502a


    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.
  3. macrumors 68020


    This never happened to me... receiving a "fake" app....
  4. NOV
    macrumors 6502


    Sometimes it makes you feel we live in a rather unpleasant world with all this fraud and deception.
  5. macrumors 6502


    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?
  6. macrumors Nehalem


    Walled garden or not, this is a great move by Apple. Devs who do this are absolutely ridiculous.
  7. macrumors 68000


    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?
  8. macrumors demi-god


    I always liked how "ponzi scheme" sounded, even though it is completely unrelated.
  9. macrumors 68000

    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.
  10. macrumors regular

    So ... there's no Pokemon Yellow...? *Sniff*
  11. macrumors 68020

    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.
  12. macrumors newbie

    One more thing Apple.. Please reject apps that use posters instead of actual screenshots.
  13. macrumors demi-god




    they only screen for porn
  14. macrumors regular

    No...that's not the issue here.
    The problem here is scammers upload a basic legitimate app, with matching screenshots, and gets approved. So testing it or not has nothing to do with it getting approved.
    The scammers then switches the original screenshots with something more popular and would entice people to buy their app, thus making a quick buck.
  15. macrumors regular

    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.
  16. gnasher729, Jan 9, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013

    macrumors G5


    You don't make any sense. Someone creates a game that isn't very good and probably won't sell too many - but it is tested, and there is no reason to reject it. _After_ the app is accepted, the developer swaps images.

    You'll love to know that it is named after Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi, known as Charles Ponzi. Completely unrelated as well.

    The app store contract also says that while Apple pays 70% of the retail price to developers, Apple has the right to get 100% of the price back in case they have to give refunds in that kind of situation. I don't know how hard it is for Apple to get their money back.
  17. macrumors demi-god


    That's not Tim Cooks real email address. Just so folks know.
  18. macrumors 68000


    Reading comprehension fail.

    From the article:
    "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."

    See that order of operation? Developers were previously allowed to switch the screen shots AFTER it was approved, thus tricking people. Now they can not switch it after the fact. Under the new rules, the approvers will have a chance to recognized illegitimate "screen shots" that don't belong to the app being reviewed. I readily approve of this move.
  19. ATC
    macrumors 6502a

    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. :cool:
  20. macrumors demi-god


    actually it is timmy@apple.com pronounced like southpark's TiMMy
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Feel free to review every single app, beginning to end, and verify total accuracy, including every game (some of which take days or weeks to complete). You should be done in about 700,000 years.
  22. macrumors 6502a

    pokemon on ios? Too good to be true :(
  23. macrumors demi-god


    its the most valuable & potentially rich company in the world in a country with soaring unemployment.

    they can hire some more people to screen
  24. macrumors 6502


    I see your point, but being an apple developer, I can say first hand that apple takes the review process very seriously for proper review. Even small updates usually take two hours for apple to review. One update of mine took almost six hours for apple to review, and it wasn't even a particularly big update. I think that this policy has more to do with developers being dishonest in their marketing rather than inadequate quality of content.
  25. macrumors 6502


    Great move for consumers and devs. Now, let's add the ability to submit videos of apps in action or app trailers (with the same review process).

    Boost and promote good devs, the rest will follow.

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