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
36 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
36 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
36 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
36 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
36 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
36 months ago
This is the kind of quality vetting that $72 billion/year buys you.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

General Apps Messages

Apple Announces 'Groundbreaking' New Security Protocol for iMessage

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:00 am PST by
Apple today announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3. Apple says this "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks." Apple believes the PQ3 protocol's protections "surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps," according to its blog post:Today we are announcing...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
Oled iPads and MackBook Pro Notch

Apple's OLED Roadmap: New iPad Mini, Foldable iPad Pro, and More

Wednesday February 21, 2024 5:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to launch at least nine new devices with OLED displays across the iPad and MacBook product lines, according to an updated forecast from research firm Omdia that sets out the company's plans in detail. As widely rumored, Apple's push to transition to OLED will apparently be jump-started by the release of new 11- and 13-inch iPad Pro models this year. The displays will...
Next Generation CarPlay Porsche 1

Apple Launching Next-Generation CarPlay This Year With These New Features

Wednesday February 21, 2024 2:03 pm PST by
Apple recently updated its website to confirm that the first vehicle models with next-generation CarPlay support will debut "in 2024." This wording is shown on Apple's regional websites for the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. The iOS 17.4 beta includes code-level references to eight new CarPlay apps:Auto Settings: This app will let you manage paired iPhones...
iPad Pro OLED Feature 2

Apple's Upcoming OLED iPad Pro Models Rumored to Be Much Thinner

Tuesday February 20, 2024 1:39 pm PST by
Apple is planning to update the iPad Air and iPad Pro lineups as soon as March, and the new iPad Pro models will be significantly thinner according to dimensions shared by 9to5Mac. Citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site claims that the larger version will be more than 1mm thinner. The current 12.9-inch iPad Pro measures in at 6.4mm thick, but the new model is said to be 5mm ...
Apple Sports App Preview Feature

'Apple Sports' App Announced With Personalized Scoreboards and More

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:16 am PST by
Apple today announced "Apple Sports," a new free app that provides real-time statistics, scores, and more. Apple Sports features a personalized experience with a user's favorite leagues, tournaments, teams shown on an easy-to-read scoreboard. Users can navigate between scores and upcoming games, explore play-by-play information, team statistics, lineup details, and live betting odds, with...
volvo s60 drivers apple maps

iOS 17.4 Beta Adds CarPlay Option to Show Upcoming Maneuvers in Instrument Cluster

Tuesday February 20, 2024 10:47 am PST by
The fourth beta of iOS 17.4 that Apple released today adds a new CarPlay feature, according to the notes that Apple provided to developers. In supported CarPlay vehicles, there's now an Apple Maps option to show information about upcoming maneuvers in the instrument cluster. CarPlay users will be able to swap the display type between the main and instrument cluster by tapping on the map...