Apple is seeming cracking down on some of the dodgier subscription apps in the App Store, following reports highlighting the actions of certain unscrupulous apps and app-makers.
Out of the 17 apps mentioned in a recent Forbes report on these practices, 11 have now been removed from the App Store. Similarly, QR Code Reader and Weather Alarms — two problematic apps highlighted by TechCrunch — have also vanished.
Sneaky subscription apps
QR Code Reader and Weather Alarms both serve as good illustrations of the problem. QR Code Reader earns (or, perhaps, earned) around $5.3 million a year for a job that can be carried out by the existing iOS Camera app for free. Reproducing this functionality, the QR Code Reader app charges users $156 per year in subscription fees. While there is a “free trial” on offer, this converts into a paying subscription after just three days.
Weather Alarms, meanwhile, raked in upwards of $1 million per year, and charged users $20 a month. The app was previously featured on screen by Apple at WWDC.
It should be noted that some responsibility lies with users, of course. Whenever you download an app, it’s worth reading the fine print. You should also know how to manage and cancel your active subscriptions. These can be found by going to “Settings,” then “iTunes & App Store,” then “Apple ID,” then “View Apple ID,” and finally “Subscriptions” on your iOS device.
But Apple most assuredly could do a better job policing these apps, which frequently make it into the App Store charts due to their popularity. Sure, Apple benefits from people spending money in the App Store. However, if it’s serious about making this a high quality software repository (which was Steve Jobs’ concern when it came to launching an App Store in the first place), it should want to make sure that customers are walking away happy. And not paying hundreds of dollars a year for services that do the same as stock Apple apps.
Have you had any bad experiences with subscriptions in the App Store? Let us know in the comments below.
Source: Apple Insider