Apple says that the measures in place to detect fraudulent apps and actions by developers on the App Store saved users as much as $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2020. The App Store policies that dictate app approvals, regular audit of apps on the platform as well as checks on app updates before they are rolled out. Apple has shared detailed statistics on the fraud prevention by the App Review team, which helped keep more than a million risky and vulnerable apps off the App Store. There are more than 1.8 million apps on the Apple App Store for the iPhone, iPad and Mac devices. The company has highlighted that the measures in place prevented stolen cards from making transactions, apps that switch functionality after initial review for App Store listing, account frauds by users and developers as well as verified fraudulent reviews.
In the last few months of 2020, Apple says they noticed an increasing trend of bait-and-switch functionality which basically means that a developer changes the functionality of the app listed on the App Store after the review for the app is done ahead of the listing. “Apple has rejected or removed apps that switched functionality after initial review to become real-money gambling apps, predatory loan issuers, and pornography hubs; used in-game signals to facilitate drug purchasing; and rewarded users for broadcasting illicit and pornographic content via video chat,” says Apple. A large number of apps, as many as 95,000 were also rejected because they asked users for more data than they needed or mishandled the data that was collected. Apple has repeatedly insisted that privacy is a fundamental right, something that Apple CEO Tim Cook has also asserted, time and again, ahead of the rollout of the new Privacy Labels for all apps on the App Store and the addition of the App Tracking Transparency feature in iOS 14.5 for the iPhone.