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.

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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
18 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
18 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
18 months ago
In totally unrelated news, Craig Federeghi is such a fine specimen.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple-Guy Avatar
18 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
18 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
18 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)

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