Tech News: Scam iOS app discovered that refuses to open unless you give it a good rating.
The latest discovery from app developer and scam app hunter Kosta Eleftheriou is a true doozy, an iOS app that refuses to work before you give it at least a 3-star rating on the App Store. Although the UPNP Xtreme app, which claimed to allow users to stream video to their TVs, now appears to have been retired, we were able to verify that it generates the App Store rating box as soon as it opens.
There is no way to turn off the rating box, nor touch 1 or 2 star ratings, Eleftheriou said. We have tested this behavior, but some other users report that they were able to close the dialog or leave a lower rating.
This is just the latest scam app discovered by Eleftheriou, which is waging a war against them after its Apple The watch keyboard app, FlickType, has been overtaken by expensive apps with fake reviews. Eleftheriou says Apple removed more than 100 apps as a result of its reports, but it’s worrying that the multi-billion dollar company didn’t catch this scam during the App Store review process.
The behavior of the UPNP Xtreme app directly contradicts one of the best practices Apple lists on its developer site, which states that developers should “avoid immediately showing a review request when a user launches your app.” Typically, developers can request an evaluation up to that point in a 365-day period.
Apple’s review process has come under particularly intense scrutiny recently due to Epic Games’ lawsuit against the company. At the heart of the dispute is the 30% commission Apple accepts many App Store payments and in-app purchases. Apple claims he needs the commission to run the App Store and create a safe environment for users. But that argument gets weakened pretty quickly if obvious scam apps manage to get through Apple’s review process.
Apps like those discovered by Eleftheriou not only harm customers who end up downloading scammy software and can be tricked into paying for hard-to-cancel recurring subscriptions. It also harms legitimate developers who have to contend with apps willing to play dirty to get the good reviews needed to climb the App Store rankings.
Eleftheriou filed a lawsuit against Apple earlier this year, claiming it leverages its monopoly power over iOS apps to make money at the expense of app developers and consumers.