The last time I wrote about scam subscription apps, I finished by saying this:

Communication about what Apple is doing and how they think about these problems would be a huge step in the right direction.

So, when Apple published a press release this week titled “App Store stopped more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2020” followed by 1,300 words about the measures they take to counter scam apps and fraudulent developers, I should have been thrilled.

Yes, I wish it hadn’t taken the discovery phase of a major lawsuit to prompt them to make a statement, but I am happy that they’re talking about it.

The statistics they quote are impressive, too. As I suspected, there’s lots of work going on behind the scenes. $1.5B of prevented fraudulent transactions. 150,000 spam apps rejected. 470,000 developer accounts terminated. 250 million ratings and reviews removed. That’s a lot! What a great job they’ve been doing. Right?

That’s certainly the message of this press release, but I’m afraid it did not make my wishes come true. My disappointment comes from how they talk about these problems. This is a press release, so it’s not a surprise that it paints a positive picture of the company, but they talk about these issues like they are completely solved and have been on top of the problem from the beginning. There’s no mention of “we have a lot of work to do” or any hint that the App Store isn’t a perfect fortress of impeccable moderation and scrutiny. The work they are doing is impressive, as I knew it would be, but the problem is a very long way from being solved. In fact, to “solve” it shouldn’t be the goal. To genuinely keep on top of it should be.

All of the talk about “relentless steps forward to combat these risks” would sound much more authentic if the scam apps were harder to find. Take a look at this tweet from Kosta Eleftheriou, for example. It’s a screenshot of an app he created as a solo developer without access to any internal Apple systems, and it shows a list of problematic apps. It’s clear that the problem is not solved, and Apple is not keeping up.

I wish Apple could find a way to be more honest about some of the more negative aspects of the App Store in their developer communications. Yes, a press release isn’t the correct venue for that, especially with all the lawsuits, but it must be possible. If not, it’s time to shut us up by living up to the claims made in this press release. I think we’d all be happy with that as a solution instead. 👍

Dave Verwer  





iOS Developer @ Doximity – Doximity, the medical network used by over 70% of US clinicians, is hiring passionate iOS engineers (full-time remote!). You'll get to be part of an amazing product team and work on an app that is constantly evolving. Use your skills (Swift, MVVM, FRP) to be an integral part of our newly launched telemedicine feature. Apply today! – Remote within the US

Senior macOS Engineer @ Paw – Become the Lead macOS Engineer for one of the most popular Developer Tools! Paw is an application that lets developers test REST and GraphQL APIs. We count Apple, Airbnb, GitHub, Mailchimp among our customers. – Remote within Europe

Senior iOS Software Engineer @ TeamSnap – If you find sharing party parrot emojis in Slack amusing, TeamSnap is the place for you. We’ve been remote since before remote was cool. You’ll work on a team with big ideas and tiny egos to develop a product that has been featured by Apple at WWDC and has 25+ million users. – Remote within the US

Flutter Developer @ MealPrepPro – At Nibble Apps our mission is to make healthy eating easy. Our team is behind one of the most well-loved health apps worldwide, MealPrepPro. The app is regularly featured by Apple and serves a passionate community of thousands of users. We’re bringing MealPrepPro to Android for the first time and we’re looking for a Flutter developer to join our close-knit team of 6. – Remote

Senior iOS Engineer @ Scoop – Scoop is building the central platform to enable any company to thrive with hybrid work. Our team is experienced, collaborative, and product-minded. We've weathered the storm of COVID, more focused than ever on the opportunity that we have to build great products. This is a special opportunity to help enable an entire generation of employees to unlock the full potential of flexible work. – Remote within the US

Mobile Full Stack Engineer @ Expensify – Join our passionate team of top-notch engineers to solve a real-world problem, and help people spend less time managing expenses and more time pursuing their real goals. As we revolutionize the way people manage their expenses, being part of the Expensify team means building the easiest, fastest, and most efficient platform to automate everything expense-related. – Remote, San Francisco, Portland, Michigan, New York, London, or Melbourne


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And finally...

Type carefully in App Store Connect! 😂