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

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).

app store review scam
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 tap the one or two-star ratings for most users, according to Eleftheriou.

One of Apple's best practices documents states that developers should "avoid showing a request for a review immediately when a user launches your app." UPNP Xtreme sought good reviews to rise up the ‌App Store‌'s rankings, using exploitative tactics to become more visible than legitimate developers' apps, but also drive more users to engage with the scam. The app now appears to have been removed from the ‌App Store‌.

Eleftheriou has previously brought attention to scam and copycat apps on the ‌App Store‌ and raised concerns that Apple is not doing enough to stop these apps during its ‌App Store‌ review process. Eleftheriou experienced the difficulty of contending with scam apps with his own FlickType Apple Watch keyboard app, which was mired by scam copycats that Apple was allegedly reluctant to remove.

Earlier this year, Eleftheriou brought a lawsuit against Apple for a variety of allegations related to his experience with FlickType, including negligence and anticompetitive conduct.

Top Rated Comments

Techwatcher Avatar
16 months ago

Suspect. This will be fixed promptly though, so no worries.
Forget a fix, suspend or ban the app and refund everyone if purchases were made.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cosmosent Avatar
16 months ago
The BIG picture, if the Judge in the Epic vs Apple court case gets wind of this, one of Apple's main arguments just went out the window !
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mansplains Avatar
16 months ago
This comment requires at least a like or love to be read, anything less and you don't get the function.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ksec Avatar
16 months ago

Forget a fix, suspend or ban the app and refund everyone if purchases were made.
The problem is if those purchase that happened outside of the 30days would have already been processed to those Scams.


Apple needs a system that leverages the community (like maps letting users report things) and lets users flag apps as bad & provide the detail - so the scale of identification and removal can be seriously increased for things like this (or for example apps given names to try and trick users). These are things the community could identify to snuff out quite quickly.

Needs to be a big red button right up a the top and lets the user provide the details. Might need a set of folks (users but paid for the work perhaps) to triage them before they get into the serious, address this, pipeline.
App Store used to have that. A big button called Report a Problem, Guess what happen to it ?
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zorinlynx Avatar
16 months ago

The question is whether they would listen. I used to report bugs to Apple, which was time consuming, and I stopped doing it because they were never followed up on.
Same here. I've reported so many bugs, even in betas, gathering diagnostic data, screenshots and videos, etc. and my reports just vanish into the aether with nary a response.

Even a "This is a duplicate of bug #xxxx" would be a million times better than nothing.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
randyhudson Avatar
16 months ago
This is the kind of quality vetting that $72 billion/year buys you.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

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

More First-Party Apple Apps Can Be Rated, Including Phone, Messages, Photos and Safari

Wednesday October 27, 2021 3:36 pm PDT by
Starting in late September, Apple began letting users rate pre-installed first-party apps in the App Store, putting them on par with third-party apps. Apple did not previously allow its own apps to be rated, even though the apps were listed in the App Store. At the time, Apple implemented the star ratings for a limited number of its apps like Mail, Podcasts, and Maps, and now Apple is...
iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue

Developers Now Able to Submit Claims for $250 to $30,000 Payments From Apple in Lawsuit Settlement

Friday January 14, 2022 12:24 pm PST by
Apple in August announced plans to pay $100 million to settle a class-action lawsuit levied by U.S. developers, and as of today, the website that will allow developers to submit a claim for a payout has gone live. The $100 million that Apple provided is being distributed as part of a "Small Developer Assistance Fund," and developers can claim between $250 and $30,000 based on their historic...
iOS App Store General Feature Dock 2

Apple Defends App Store Changes in the Netherlands as Fines Reach €30 Million

Monday February 28, 2022 9:32 am PST by
Amid an ongoing dispute with the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in the Netherlands over the App Store, Apple has defended its plan to require app developers to submit an additional app binary for the Dutch storefront if they wish to use a third-party payment processing method. The ACM has ruled that Apple must allow dating apps in the Netherlands to use third-party payment...
google one app

Google One Disappears From App Store a Day After VPN Launch [Update: Google One is Back in the App Store]

Wednesday February 2, 2022 12:01 pm PST by
The Google One app for iPhone and iPad appears to have mysteriously disappeared from the App Store this morning, and it is no longer available for download. As noted on Reddit, attempting to download the Google One app in the United States and Canada pops up an error message that says "App Not Available." It is not clear why the app has been removed from the App Store at this time, and...
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...
Mac App Store General Feature

Apple's Arguments Against Sideloading on iOS: All Your Questions Answered

Thursday November 11, 2021 10:38 am PST by
Sideloading is a fancy word for downloading an app binary from non-official platforms or the open internet and installing it on a device like a normal app. The practice is allowed on Android, granting users the flexibility of downloading apps from official or non-official app stores and the open internet. The iPhone, on the other hand, is a polar opposite. Since the launch of the App Store...
Podcasts Feature

New Apple Podcasts Rating Prompt Artificially Boosts App Store Score

Friday November 19, 2021 3:45 pm PST by
With the launch of iOS 15.1, Apple introduced a new prompt for the Podcasts app that asks customers to rate it, and as it turns out, confusion over what's being rated has led to an artificially inflated App Store rating for the Podcasts app. Prior to the October 25 launch of iOS 15.1, the Podcasts app had 1.8 stars and plenty of negative reviews from customers unhappy with the design of the...

Popular Stories

ios 16 beta 5 battery percent

iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage Now Displayed in iPhone Status Bar

Monday August 8, 2022 10:43 am PDT by
With the fifth beta of iOS 16, Apple has updated the battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the specific battery percentage rather than just a visual representation of battery level. The new battery indicator is available on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, with the exception of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12/13 mini. It is also available on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, XS and XS Max, and...
iPhone 14 Lineup Feature Purple

Color Options for All iPhone 14 Models: Everything We Know

Monday August 8, 2022 3:59 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models are rumored to be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color. Most expectations about the iPhone 14 lineup's color options come from an unverified post on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier this year. Overall, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro's selection of color options could look fairly similar to those of the ...
iOS 16 battery percentage

Apple Limiting iOS 16 Beta 5 Battery Percentage Display to Select iPhones: Here Are the Supported Devices

Tuesday August 9, 2022 2:51 am PDT by
Apple this week brought back one of the most highly requested features from iOS users since the launch of the iPhone X in 2017: the ability to see your battery percentage directly in the status bar. Ever since the launch of the iPhone X with the notch, Apple has not allowed users to show their battery percentage directly in the status bar, forcing them to swipe down into Control Center to...
ios 16 battery indicator 2

Everything New in iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage in Status Bar, Find My Changes and More

Monday August 8, 2022 12:53 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of iOS 16 to developers for testing purposes, introducing some small but notable changes to the iOS operating system. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We've rounded up everything new in the fifth beta below. Battery Percentage in Status Bar The battery icon in the status bar now displays the exact battery percent, a feature that ...
iphone 14 pro max camera bump compared lipilipsi 16 9

Bigger iPhone 14 Pro Max Camera Bump Shown Alongside iPhone 13 Pro Max

Monday August 8, 2022 4:33 am PDT by
The camera bump on the upcoming iPhone 14 Pro Max is expected to be the largest rear lens housing Apple has ever installed on its flagship smartphones, and a new photo offers a rare glimpse at just how prominent it is compared to Apple's predecessor device. iPhone 14 Pro Max dummy (left) vs iPhone 13 Pro Max All iPhone 14 models are expected to see upgrades to the Ultra Wide camera on the...
cook sept 2020 event

Gurman: Apple Preparing Pre-Recorded iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 Event

Sunday August 7, 2022 6:13 am PDT by
Apple has "started to record" its virtual September event, where it's expected to announce the upcoming iPhone 14 lineup, the Apple Watch Series 8, and a new "rugged" Apple Watch model, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman says the event, which is expected to take place in the early part of September, is already under production, implying...
airpods pro black background

Beyond iPhone 14: Five Apple Products Expected to Launch Later This Year

Monday August 8, 2022 9:43 am PDT by
While the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 are expected to be announced in September as usual, there are several more Apple products rumored to launch later this year, including new iPad and Mac models and more. Beyond the iPhone and Apple Watch, we've put together a list of five Apple products that are most likely to be unveiled by the end of 2022. Second-Generation AirPods Pro Apple...