In the span of seven days, South Korea has publicly disbelieved on the international stage. It passed a landmark bill that could prevent Apple and Google directly from collecting their 30% cut and may encourage other governments to do so. Developers were also angry at the Apple press release in which the company claimed that it had settled a lawsuit worth $100 million and created a fund of $100 million for developers. However, the company promised 30 million dollars to the lawyers while making no real changes. Hopscotch’s CEO shared her story about how Apple’s App Store review staff repeatedly gaslighted her, insisting that there was an issue in the popular kid’s coding app.
What can Apple’s 30% buy you?
Apple made a slight concession for big developers on Wednesday. Nick Heer wrote that the company seemed to have temporarily lost its self-congratulatory tone. We don’t have to go into complicated developer negotiations to highlight the glaringly obvious ways Apple is failing on the job.
The company claims that the App Store is “curated and maintained by experts”, that it is “a safe place to find and download apps” and that apps are held to the “highest standards of privacy, security, and content.” However, the company’s emails show a very different picture. These emails show that Apple knew about the egregious scams used to bilk iPhone users of millions of dollars long before our report and they continue to fail in their efforts to block them from invading Apple’s App Store.
It is worth repeating: Apple has the highest value and most profitable company in the entire world. Apple currently earns $10,000 per second, with $3,600 profit. A large part of that profit comes from the App store. The App Store has been more successful than either the iPad or Mac since 2016, as shown in #10.
Apple could change the system if it wanted. Apple, which is the most profitable and valuable company in the world, will likely be dragged along kicking and screaming to a world with an App Store that works better.
Now, let’s get straight to the 5 things that you need to know about.
5 Things Apple Could Do To Prove It Actually Cares About App Store Users
Well, there might be certain reasons, I’ve compiled the list of 5 major things to know about. So here are they:-
Identify Its Most Profitable Apps for Fraud
This is not rocket science. Anyone can do it. It was possible for me. You can do it too. Look for the App Store apps that make the most money. Find ones with suspicious reviews and inspect them for ridiculously high subscription prices. For example, $9.99 per week for a wallpaper app that merely repackages wallpapers that you can download online for free. Congratulations, you have found a scam.
In January 2018, Apple’s App Review Program head wrote that “We must think about how we can stop this from happening.” This was referring to a 32-page presentation on how to trick users into paying recurring subscriptions with apps that harvest wallpapers, horoscopes, and ringtones from the internet. (#64). Yet, three years later, we still see the same scams. Apple refused to answer my question about whether it checks its top-grossing apps for fraud when I asked.
A Big enough App Review Team to do the job
Apple employs 500 app reviewers. Only 500 are available for the whole world. 500 people can process 100,000 apps each week using automated tools.
As we’ll know that even if Apple were to be trusted and believe that all of its reviewers are skilled, knowledgeable surveyors who can spot scams quickly, the math is difficult to understand. App Store reviewers work 10-hour days (#68), but the sheer number of apps means that each reviewer only gets 15 minutes to review each app. This is even if they don’t take breaks. Documents also indicate that they might work overtime.
Emails from Epic v. Apple suggest that App Review may not be as savvy as it seems. Eric Friedman, Apple’s head of fraud, called the department “a wetware-rate limiting service and nothing else” (#60), suggesting that its goal is to simply get apps through the pipe. The trial documents also show that the App Review team repeatedly demanded a quicker “SLA”, which was a guarantee that apps would be reviewed within a specified time. This is #65, which allowed bad apps to enter the store.
What size should Apple’s App Reviews team be? It’s hard to know, but Facebook claims it has more than 15,000 content moderators. Google says it has over 22,000 reviewers across its various services. Even Twitter, The Verge reports, has 2,200.
Although these platforms have more messages to review than Apple, they don’t claim to offer the highest standards of privacy, security, and content. They also test programs on pocket computers. Apple could do a better job if there were more reviewers.
Apple, which is not Twitter, is the most profitable and valuable company in the world. It is easy to argue for a higher number of moderators.
Stop auto-renewing subscriptions by default
According to the research, it’s been found that people hate pop-up messages. What kind of popup messages would you rather not hate? They ask me if it’s true that I want to continue subscribing for an app or service until I am charged for another month. Each time I would know that the App Store was looking after me and not the company who secretly hopes I am the type of customer who doesn’t bother to check his credit card bill.
Apple might not do this. It would lose a lot of profits and drive away some of the most successful developers from the platform. These developers were leaving because Apple made it too difficult to cancel their services. It would solve the problems of many who, after realizing they had been duped, went to the App Store reviews section to complain about not being able to cancel their subscription.
Kosta Eleftheriou, a scam hunter, has it right. “If Apple truly cared about people’s privacy, they’d adopt the same stance with money as they would with their own money,” is the exact stance that Apple CEO Steve Jobs outlined so clearly in 2010. Ask them each time. Jobs spoke about privacy and suggested that you ask them to tell you not to keep asking them.
Lock Underage Users out of The Adult Apps
The Tech Transparency Project discovered recently that minors don’t have to find a secret gambling den to access illicit content. Instead, the App Store will offer blatantly explicit apps even though Apple knows the user is underage. The Project created an Apple ID for a 14-year-old simulated boy and found 37 adult apps that allowed him to sign up. These included dating apps with explicit content and a casino game. Additionally, advertisements popped up for additional casino apps rated for the 17+ crowd.
Trial documents show that Apple’s head for fraud stated in February 2020 that there was a problem with child predators at the App Store. He called it an “under-resourced issue” and an “active threat” (#71). Although it wouldn’t be an easy fix, stopping minors from accessing certain apps would be a good idea. It feels like a simple solution to an embarrassing problem.
Reintroduce the “Report A Problem” button
While we are on the subject of those who identify fraudulent apps in the App store and then leave unanswered pleas for assistance there, did you know that every app had a “Report a Problem” button?
Apple told me that it exists and it is still available, but it felt like a joke to me when I asked them about it. Here are the reasons:
Users must scroll to the bottom of either the Apps or Games tabs to find the new link. It is not accessible from the purchases tab. It does not actually open in the App store; instead, it opens a web browser where you will need to log back in. Clicking “Report suspicious Activity” will redirect you to Apple Support, instead of actually submitting an actual report.
You can report a quality problem by selecting “Report a Quality Issue”. The free-to-download apps will be greyed out and you won’t be able to click on them. Apple will not allow you to report a scam unless it has already been committed.
Other options include “Request for a refund” or “Find my Content.” You cannot report a scam if you choose “Request for a refund” from the drop-down menu.
It is possible, and even probable, that Apple would receive false reports from other developers if it allowed anyone to report scams. Apple has already created an environment for bad actors to game the system by buying hundreds of star scores and thousands of false ones.
Apple is one of the renowned manufacturer out there serving essential services, although the overall sales of the company have reached higher than ever alongside when it comes to the App store the overall downloads has been increasing over the years.
Through this detailed post, I’ll be sharing the best 5 things that Apple actually cares about the App store that you need to know about. Also, I’ve serves some of the most essential terminologies that you need to know about.