iOS Someone cracked our app

Ruprect

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2011
7
0
Saw a boost in activity in analytics on our app today. I was curious where all these new users came from so I did some searching and found this link: ** Link removed due to common sense **

It would appear that someone had cracked our app and is distributing the ipa for free. So my question is are there any steps I should have taken/be taking to prevent this?
 
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thewitt

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2011
2,102
1,523
There are some valuable discussions on the Apple Developer Forums about this. You certainly don't need to live with piracy. Don't let thieves win...
 

Blakeasd

macrumors 6502a
Dec 29, 2009
643
0
I came across this a couple days ago. I haven't had time to try it, but hopefully it can help you.
 
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Hansr

macrumors 6502a
Apr 1, 2007
897
1
Why the heck post a 6 minute to communicate something that can be explained in one paragraph...

Any measure can be cracked. Blocking JBs is a start but may be seen as unfavorable.
 

thewitt

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2011
2,102
1,523
Blocking jail breakers may be seen as unfavorable, but so is stealing someone's app.

Not all jail breakers are iOS software thieves, however all iOS software thieves are jail breakers...
 

jiminaus

macrumors 65816
Dec 16, 2010
1,449
1
Sydney
I remember this discussion from not too long ago. I remember there were basically two conclusions.

1. You can't stop it. You can try. But the mere act of trying will provoke some to try to crack it.

2. You can't think of this in terms of lost revenue/sales/customers. The vast majority of these people using the cracked version of your app will not pay of it.
 

Ruprect

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 1, 2011
7
0
What I find interesting so far is that according to my estimates (I'll know more tomorrow) 3x as many people are using the cracked version versus the legit version.

Also I'm surprised by the demand for cracking of $.99 apps. Are we really at that point where we are not willing to spend a dollar on an app? I saw some quote that I'll paraphrase - we'll knash our teeth over a one dollar app and then go out and buy a four dollar cup of coffee.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
7,145
1,166
The strategy I use is to introduce instabilities into jailbroken versions. Something that starts after a minute or two. Hackers won't notice because they're just checking to make sure the app launches, but it will reduce usage from illegitimate users.

If you do something obvious to show you've detected the crack, the jail breakers will dig deeper, and you don't want that.
 

thewitt

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2011
2,102
1,523
You do not need to disable the app, that's correct. Simply introduce a bug like crashing on a given level in a game, or lock up at random times so it's unresponsive... Be creative...

As for the argument that these guys won't buy it anyway, that's specious at best.

You don't pay for it, you can't use it. My product. My rules.

PS. We have a fairly good number of apps in the App Store with over 1M downloads and no cracked copies hitting our servers...
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,704
4,334
You do not need to disable the app, that's correct. Simply introduce a bug like crashing on a given level in a game, or lock up at random times so it's unresponsive... Be creative...
This kind of solution is terrible. It makes your app appear to be as cheap as the thief would like to believe it is. The thief feels like, "This game sucks. It crashes a lot. I'm sure glad I didn't pay for it." They feel justified in stealing it and are more likely to repeat the offense in the future.

I believe the best solution is to detect the crack, but let it slide for a while.

When you decide the time is right (when the user is so attached to the app that they're willing to pay for it,) you spring a UIAlert on them that says something like:

The Jig is Up!
I know you've not paid for my game. I didn't spend months working on this for nothing. I'm only asking for $0.99. That's cheaper than a bottle of water from a vending machine! Your free ride ends here; it's time to pay up like everyone else.​
And then offer a link to your app in the app store.

Don't be too hostile in your message, I'd suggest being almost comical, because you are, after all, asking them to pay for something that they have been illegally enjoying for free.

Alternatively, you can lock down your game by using IAP's with receipt verification. That's a world of pain and I don't suggest trying it, but then, it might be easier than trying to detect when someone is using a jailbroken version of your app.
 

vodouman

macrumors regular
Mar 30, 2008
202
9
London
I am a final year student working for my Computer Games Development degree and am starting a games company with some friends next May. iOS application piracy is something we have discussed when choosing our platform - it was a big issue for us.

We decided that rather than spend the time to try to prevent people who are going to steal the application eventually we're just going to focus on the people we care about - the paying customers.

Don't waste man hours on people who don't support you. Support the loyal customers.

I can't speak for you personally, but for me it's going to be about making people happy, making the best product I can make and having fun with my friends.

- Vodouman
 

thewitt

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2011
2,102
1,523
I am a final year student working for my Computer Games Development degree and am starting a games company with some friends next May. iOS application piracy is something we have discussed when choosing our platform - it was a big issue for us.

We decided that rather than spend the time to try to prevent people who are going to steal the application eventually we're just going to focus on the people we care about - the paying customers.

Don't waste man hours on people who don't support you. Support the loyal customers.

I can't speak for you personally, but for me it's going to be about making people happy, making the best product I can make and having fun with my friends.

- Vodouman
Good luck to you.

Come back and update us when your first app sells 1000 copies, but your analytics show 100,000 in use.... See if you still feel the same way.

It's just about then that the venture capital money runs out, and you start to wonder how you are gong to make the next payment on your car...
 

vodouman

macrumors regular
Mar 30, 2008
202
9
London
Good luck to you.

Come back and update us when your first app sells 1000 copies, but your analytics show 100,000 in use.... See if you still feel the same way.

It's just about then that the venture capital money runs out, and you start to wonder how you are gong to make the next payment on your car...
I'm sorry but if everyone had this attitude then nobody would develop for any platform.

There is no point getting stressed about pirates because they're the sort of people who probably wont buy it in the first place.

Also, I don't have a car. ;)
 
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