While Apple is currently facing criticism for upcoming privacy changes, a more immediate financial danger to millions of iPhone and iPad users has been exposed. And it is an area where Apple is a repeat repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat offender.
New App Store warnings have been issued to iPhone and iPad owners
Following revelations that Apple has facilitated iOS scams with profits “measured in billions”, the company has now been spotted promoting new scams in its App Store which can cost users hundreds of dollars per year. And some of the examples are jaw dropping.
As iOS developer Beau Novelle notes, “One of them doesn’t even do anything” despite the fact it charges users almost $700 per year. With fellow iOS coder Simeon doing a deep dive on one example which lets users access the app for free once they have submitted their payment details, then automatically starts charging $12.99 per week after three days.
As Simeon notes, all these scams use Apple’s own in-app payment system so Apple is taking a direct cut of the scammers’ profits. Apple declines to say how much it earns from the App Store but recent data from Sensor Tower projects Apple generated $41.5 billion in revenue in the first six months this year alone.
Moreover, the App Store has made it increasingly difficult for iPhone and iPad owners to spot scams. Notably, scammers have been able to force five star ratings, obscure true costs and dodge detection for months. Notably, one senior Apple engineer has described App Store security as “bringing a plastic butter knife to a gunfight.”
Consequently, scam apps are currently being downloaded hundreds of millions of times with claims that a “FACTORY of scam apps” is emerging. In one of the most egregious examples, scammers even managed to hide casinos in children’s apps.
With Apple preparing to launch its most advanced iPhones yet, the hard truth is — whatever iPhone you own — visiting the App Store is becoming a risk. And that needs to change.
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I am an experienced freelance technology journalist. I have written for Wired, The Next Web, TrustedReviews, The Guardian and the BBC in addition to Forbes. I began in
I am an experienced freelance technology journalist. I have written for Wired, The Next Web, TrustedReviews, The Guardian and the BBC in addition to Forbes. I began in b2b print journalism covering tech companies at the height of the dot com boom and switched to covering consumer technology as the iPod began to take off. A career highlight for me was being a founding member of TrustedReviews. It started in 2003 and we were repeatedly told websites could not compete with print! Within four years we were purchased by IPC Media (Time Warner’s publishing division) to become its flagship tech title. What fascinates me are the machinations of technology’s biggest companies. Got a pitch, tip or leak? Contact me on my professional Facebook page. I don’t bite.