More Shady iOS Apps Are "Recommended By Apple" & Charging Users Subscription Fees

Well, all the Apple users must first thank FlickType and Fleksy founder Kosta Eleftheriou who remained extremely dedicated to exposing scam iOS apps during the pandemic times and saving the world from losing.

However, his effort still wasn’t entirely successful as by statistics, some of the scams apps still managed to snatch millions of dollars of revenue illegally. There is now another addition to the list of such apps and it offers the services of Virtual Private Network while also marketing itself to be “recommended by Apple”.

According to estimates, this trick has made the app earn millions of dollars every month.

To surprise us all even further, Eleftheriou has highlighted six astonishing aspects of the app through which the makers not only managed to pass Apple’s vetting process but they also found their way to getting significant visibility on the App Store - but much of the credit for that goes to fake reviews.

How did It begin?

At the start of this year in February, Eleftheriou started to refer to fake versions of an Apple Watch keyboard app (which he himself also used) FlickType. While such apps are non-functional ripoffs, the list also includes KeyWatch.

The app works in such a way that when a user downloads it, the first screen is always black with an “Unlock now” button. Upon tapping onto that button, there comes Apple’s buy screen through which people are asked to confirm an $8 per week subscription for an app that is non-functional.

As a result, Eleftheriou referred to another app Roki that has been able to make $2M in the year 2019 alone and chances are that it would be successful in stealing double this year. This app is one of the many scam apps that the developer has on the app store - all thanks to the fake reviews system through which you can easily buy people to rate you.

Apple on the other hand does claim to remove scam iOS apps from time to time, but Eleftheriou still has a valid question of how the apps are able to get past the review stage and then remain on the App Store unless no one among the users notices.

He gave another example of StringVPN which had all the following strange details:
  • Using translated fake reviews
  • “Recommended by Apple” shown in popups across Safari
  • domain as contact email
  • App registered in India with Blank Website
  • A subscription fee of $9.99/week
  • Earning $1M (!) a month
Apple is already dealing with antitrust investigations and it is about time that they work fixing the issues with their review system which no doubt is better than many but still not error-free.

Photo: DKart via Getty Images

Read next: App Store On Average Receives 100K App Submission Requests Weekly, Apple Approximately Approves 60 Percent Of Them And Rejects 40 Percent Apps
Previous Post Next Post