Phil Schiller on App Store Knockoffs in 2012: 'Is No One Reviewing These Apps?'

Knockoff apps have long been a problem in the App Store, with scam apps sneaking past reviewers to compete with genuine apps and steal sales, and back in 2012, Apple's Phil Schiller was absolutely furious when a fake app made it to the top of the ‌App Store‌ rankings, according to documents shared in the Epic v. Apple trial.

appstore
At the time, Temple Run was a super popular iOS exclusive title, and in February 2012, a fake version of Temple Run hit the ‌App Store‌ charts. Schiller sent out an email to Eddy Cue, Greg Joswiak, Ron Okamoto, Phillip Shoemaker, Matt Fischer, Kevin Saul, and others on the ‌App Store‌ team. "What the hell is this????" he asked. "How does an obvious rip off of the super popular Temple Run, with no screenshots, garbage marketing text, and almost all 1-star ratings become the #1 free app on the store?"

"Is no one reviewing these apps? Is no one minding the store?" he ranted on, before asking whether people remembered a talk about becoming the "Nordstrom" of App Stores in quality of service.


Since that 2012 rant, ‌App Store‌ reviewers have continued to struggle with knockoff apps that mimic real apps. A second document highlighted Minecraft knockoffs that had made it into the ‌App Store‌ not once, but twice, and was eating up Minecraft sales, and in a third 2015 document, Schiller comments that he "can't believe" that Apple doesn't have automatic tools to find and kick out scam apps.


Scam iOS apps that defraud users and mimic real apps continue to be a problem to this day. In recent months, developer Kosta Eleftheriou has taken to speaking out against scam apps and highlighting notable scams in the ‌App Store‌, bringing additional attention to the issue.

Top Rated Comments

idandavid Avatar
14 months ago
Great! I'm glad to see management at apple is taking issues like these seriously.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
P-DogNC Avatar
14 months ago

Oh really? There's only 100 good apps? Miss me with this BS.
I think you meant to say “1000 good apps”. Math.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Caliber26 Avatar
14 months ago
In totally unrelated news, Craig Federeghi is such a fine specimen.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple-Guy Avatar
14 months ago

Great! I'm glad to see management at apple is taking issues like these seriously.
Except, they don't, that's from 2012, nearly 10 years ago, yet still a major problem
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hansenc Avatar
14 months ago
Phil asking the tough (and obvious) questions to his team. I've always wondered how these apps last so long in the app store. Seems the exec team wonders too :D
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Macintosh IIvx Avatar
14 months ago
Glad to see they took initiative to address it.

Before some point out that a few have slipped through, remember that there are literally millions of apps in the App Store. I'm sure you and your coworkers have never made a mistake in your jobs.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

app store blue banner russia

App Store and iTunes Purchases Reportedly 'Turned Off' in Russia

Thursday March 10, 2022 4:39 am PST by
iPhones.ru is reporting that iTunes and App Store purchases can no longer be made by Apple device users located in Russia, leaving them unable to pay for apps, media, or Apple services. According to the Russia-based site, it is now impossible for users to add funds to their App Store or iTunes Store accounts using regional bank cards issued by Russian banks including Alfa-Bank, Sber, and...
app store blue banner

'Report a Problem' App Store Option Returns to Combat Scams

Monday October 4, 2021 5:04 am PDT by
After being removed several years ago, Apple has restored the "Report a Problem" option on the App Store in an effort to flag issues and combat scams. Spotted by Richard Mazkewich and Kosta Eleftheriou and highlighted by The Verge, the option allows users to report individual App Store listings in iOS 15. When selected, the option directs users to a website with a drop-down menu to report...
Apple One Apps Feature 2

Apple Music, App Store and Other Apple Services Again Experiencing Outage [Update: Fixed]

Tuesday March 22, 2022 2:30 pm PDT by
Apple's services and apps appear to be experiencing yet another outage, with complaints on Twitter about problems with Apple Maps, the App Store, Apple Music, Weather, Podcasts, the Apple online store, and more. The System Status page is displaying outages for the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Books, the Mac App Store, and Podcasts at the current time, as well as issues with Weather, Apple...
app store review scam

App Store Scam App Required a Good Review to Function at All

Wednesday May 26, 2021 7:21 am PDT by
An app that demanded at least a three-star review to function got through the App Store review process, it has been found (via The Verge). iOS developer Kosta Eleftheriou discovered that the "UPNP Xtreme" app, which claimed to let users stream video to a TV, presented the system's App Store rating box as soon as it opened. The rating box could not be escaped from and it was not possible to...
app store blue banner

Developers Complain as App Store Feature Promotes Rip-Off Apps

Thursday August 5, 2021 6:12 am PDT by
Apple has featured a number of apps with disproportionately expensive subscriptions on the App Store, arousing the ire of some developers. The App Store feature on the Australian App Store, first highlighted by Beau Nouvelle on Twitter, is called "Slime relaxations" and reportedly features apps that are non-functional and seek to charge disproportionately costly in-app purchase...
wordle

Clones of Popular 'Wordle' Game Flooding App Store, Including One Charging $30 Per Year [Updated]

Tuesday January 11, 2022 1:39 pm PST by
If you're a regular internet user you've probably heard of popular web-based daily guessing game Wordle, created by Josh Wardle. The game, which is entirely free to play, was introduced last fall and has been spreading like wildfire. Wordle asks players to guess a five letter word by identifying which letters are in the word and are located in the right location. Players get six guesses per...
iOS App Store General Feature Dock

Indie Developer Dogged By Scammy Clone Apps Again Highlights the Holes in Apple's App Store Review Process

Monday February 21, 2022 9:29 am PST by
Apps that copy concepts and features from other apps are nothing new in the ‌App Store‌, but scammy like-for-like clones of genuine apps remain a perennial problem that Apple still hasn't resolved, as indie developer Kevin Archer recently discovered. Archer is responsible for 2Stable's Authenticator App, a feature-rich app that stores and generates secure two-factor authentication tokens...
app store blue banner

Apple Updates App Store Guidelines as Part of Agreement With U.S. Developers

Friday October 22, 2021 1:00 pm PDT by
Apple today announced it has updated its App Store Review Guidelines with three key changes related to outside-of-app communications, collecting contact information within an app, and in-app events featured in the App Store. In late August, Apple announced it had reached a $100 million settlement that, pending court approval, would resolve a class action lawsuit from U.S. developers who...

Popular Stories

apple ar headset concept 1

Apple's Headset Said to Feature 14 Cameras Enabling Lifelike Avatars, Jony Ive Has Remained Involved With Design

Friday May 20, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this week, The Information's Wayne Ma outlined struggles that Apple has faced during the development of its long-rumored AR/VR headset. Now, in a follow-up report, he has shared several additional details about the wearable device. Apple headset render created by Ian Zelbo based on The Information reporting For starters, one of the headset's marquee features is said to be lifelike...
anker 563 dock ports

Anker's Latest USB-C Docking Station Brings Triple-Display Support to M1 Macs

Wednesday May 18, 2022 7:06 am PDT by
While Apple's early M1-based Macs can only officially support a single external display, there are ways around the limitation. Anker is launching a new 10-in-1 USB-C docking station today which delivers just that. The Anker 563 USB-C dock includes two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort port, and it leverages DisplayLink to carry multiple video signals over a single connection. Given that this hub...
apple data auction iphone privacy ad

Apple Highlights iPhone's Latest Privacy Features in New 'Data Auction' Ad

Wednesday May 18, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
Apple today shared a new ad highlighting iPhone privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection that are designed to give users more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data being collected. The ad revolves around a young woman named Ellie who discovers that her personal data is being sold at an auction house, with bids being placed on her...
Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
sony headphones 1

Sony's New WH-1000XM5 Headphones vs. Apple's AirPods Max

Friday May 20, 2022 12:18 pm PDT by
Sony this week came out with an updated version of its popular over-ear noise canceling headphones, so we picked up a pair to compare them to the AirPods Max to see which headphones are better and whether it's worth buying the $400 WH-1000XM5 from Sony over Apple's $549 AirPods Max. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. First of all, the AirPods Max win out when it comes ...
iPhone 14 Purple Lineup Feature

Will the iPhone 14 Be a Disappointment?

Saturday May 21, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
With around four months to go before Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 lineup, the overwhelming majority of rumors related to the new devices so far have focused on the iPhone 14 Pro, rather than the standard iPhone 14 – leading to questions about how different the iPhone 14 will actually be from its predecessor, the iPhone 13. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple's AR/VR Headset Nearing Completion as Board Gets Demo

Thursday May 19, 2022 9:52 am PDT by
Apple last week demonstrated its upcoming AR/VR headset to Apple board members, indicating that the device is in an advanced stage of development and could see a debut in the not too distant future, reports Bloomberg. Apple has also ramped up development of the software that runs on the headset, with that software expected to be called "RealityOS," or rOS for short. Render via designer Ian ...