Pirated Movie App Disguised as Vision Test Snuck Onto App Store

A vision testing app named "Kimi" with a not-so-hidden pirated movie feature recently made its way past Apple's review team, ultimately reaching number eight on the list of top free entertainment apps.

kimi app
As reported by The Verge, Kimi's App Store listing claimed that it was an app that "tests your eyesight," but when downloaded and installed, it opened right up to a clear TV show and movie interface for downloading and watching pirated content. There was no attempt to hide the app's true purpose behind some kind of vision test interface, which begs the question of how it made its way past the ‌App Store‌ review team.

The ‌App Store‌ description mentioned comparing two pictures as an eyesight test, watching scenery, and playing games, but none of those features were present in the app.

For an app focused on pirated content, Kimi had a fleshed out feature set. It offered top movies, search options, recommended suggestions, games, and more, with ads included for monetization purposes. The app was first approved in September, and it was available for several months in the iOS and macOS App Stores without Apple noticing.

Apple pulled the app this morning after The Verge wrote about it, and it is no longer available.

This is the second time in the last week that Apple's ‌App Store‌ has made headlines for questionable app approval. Last Thursday, popular password management app LastPass raised the alarm about a fake "LassPass" app that was imitating its design and feature set. Apple pulled the app about a day after the news was shared on media sites.

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Top Rated Comments

Fuzzball84 Avatar
23 weeks ago
Maybe it was intended to test the vision of the App store team… they were found not to be vision pros ?
Score: 78 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Populus Avatar
23 weeks ago
If something as evident as this made its way to the App Store, who knows what else could be hidden on other apps…
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nermal Avatar
23 weeks ago
I wonder whether this might have been an app effectively wrapping a website. Have a "clean" website when the app's being reviewed, and then swap it out to the other one once it's passed approval. It wouldn't be the first time a developer's pulled that sort of stunt.

Or it could be total incompetence...
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
erikkfi Avatar
23 weeks ago

There needs to be accountability. They know who clicked "Approve". That person needs to be brought in for their own review and enhanced training.

Apple should publish this type of info — "Johnny B. approved this app on March 7, 2023". Put the name out there for the public to see.
What...? You're advocating Apple routinely doxx their own employees just in case one makes a mistake, so that we can all see exactly who, by name, to blame instead of the trillion-dollar company setting strict performance metrics on review times?
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
icanhazmac Avatar
23 weeks ago
I wonder what/who is to blame here. Does Apple place an unrealistic goal of apps per day on their testers or did one of these folks wake up one day feeling a little lazy?

It has to be tough managing this at scale but Apple needs to do a better job. These optics are horrible.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coffeemilktea Avatar
23 weeks ago
I logged onto MacRumors early this morning and the first article I saw was about another streaming service charging people more and giving them less ('https://www.macrumors.com/2024/02/13/amazon-prime-video-dolby-vision-atmos/').

I logged onto MacRumors after dinner and now I see an article about a piracy app that could let me watch all the shows I wanted for free, except it was pulled from the App Store this morning.

There has to be some kind of ironic twist of fate here... ?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)