Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

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

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
51,479
13,108



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

Kaibelf

Suspended
Apr 29, 2009
2,445
7,438
Silicon Valley, CA
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.
 
Comment

Sixtafoua

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2009
374
0
Boston, MA
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?
 
Comment

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
35,741
148
Walled garden or not, this is a great move by Apple. Devs who do this are absolutely ridiculous.
 
Comment

cclloyd

macrumors 68000
Oct 26, 2011
1,760
144
Alpha Centauri A
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?
 
Comment

akadmon

Suspended
Aug 30, 2006
2,006
2
New England
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.
 
Comment

nutmac

macrumors 601
Mar 30, 2004
4,953
3,843
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.
 
Comment

NasserAE

macrumors newbie
Jan 29, 2009
26
0
One more thing Apple.. Please reject apps that use posters instead of actual screenshots.
 
Comment

needfx

Suspended
Aug 10, 2010
3,931
4,241
macrumors apparently
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

----------

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
 
Comment

Limboistik

macrumors regular
Aug 11, 2011
193
5
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.

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.
 
Comment

Ichabod.

macrumors regular
Oct 1, 2012
122
1
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.
 
Comment

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
17,627
4,931
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.

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.


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

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

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.

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.
 
Last edited:
Comment

Earendil

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2003
1,549
0
Washington
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?

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.

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.
 
Comment

ATC

macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2008
1,165
369
Canada
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. :cool:
 
Comment

Kaibelf

Suspended
Apr 29, 2009
2,445
7,438
Silicon Valley, CA
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.

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.
 
Comment

needfx

Suspended
Aug 10, 2010
3,931
4,241
macrumors apparently
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.

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

they can hire some more people to screen
 
Comment

Sixtafoua

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2009
374
0
Boston, MA
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.

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.
 
Comment

somethingelsefl

macrumors 6502
Dec 22, 2008
448
176
Tampa, FL
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.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.