App Store stopped nearly $1.5 billion in fraud in 2021, Apple says


Apple's press materials led with this graphic.
Apple's press materials led with this graphic.
Photo: Apple

Apple distributed a new set of fraud analysis data Wednesday. It indicated the App Store prevented 1.6 million “risky” and “untrustworthy” apps from defrauding users in 2021, stopping “nearly $1.5 billion in fraudulent transactions.”

As with other recent data compilations, Cupertino released the news at a time when the App Store’s strict policies have come under fire.

Apple: App Store prevented nearly $1.5 billion in fraudulent transactions in 2021, blocking 1.6 million risky apps

As Apple said in a press release:

Apple’s efforts to prevent and reduce fraud on the App Store require continuous monitoring and vigilance across multiple teams. From App Review to Discovery Fraud, Apple’s ongoing commitment to protect users from fraudulent app activity demonstrates once again why independent, respected security experts have said the App Store is the safest place to find and download apps.

Apple said it rejected more than 34,000 apps for hidden features in 2021, and over 157,000 it deemed spam or copycat apps. In addition, it blocked 343,000 apps for privacy violations and terminated about 800,000 fraudulent developer accounts.

Some 155,000 apps that attempted to skirt  App Review by altering functionality or concept after approval got rejected or removed. Apple also blocked 63,500 illegitimate apps on pirate storefronts, as well as another 3.3 million apps distributed illicitly through the Enterprise Developer Program.

Cupertino added it deactivated more than 170 million fraudulent customer accounts, in addition to preventing 118 million attempted fraudulent account creations.

Apple said its App Review team helped more than 107,000 developers get apps on the ‌App Store‌ in 2021. And it rejected or removed about 835,000 problematic new apps and 805,000 app updates‌ for issues like bugs.

Ratings and review fraud

As for ratings and review fraud, Apple detected and blocked more than 94 million reviews and over 170 million ratings for failing to meet moderation standards. It removed another 610,000 reviews after publication due to customer-concern submissions and human evaluation.

Apple said it stopped more than 3.3 million stolen credit and debit cards from being used to make potentially fraudulent purchases. And it banned 600,000 accounts from further ‌App Store‌ transactions.

Apple noted it plans to continue to work to detect fraudulent activity and accounts and prevent financial crimes in order to keep the ‌App Store‌ a “safe and trusted place for users to find and download apps.”

You can read some of Apple's key stats in the graphic or below.
You can read some of Apple’s key stats in the graphic or below.
Photo: Apple

Notable statistics from Apple:

  • App Review rejected more than 34,500 apps for containing hidden or undocumented features.
  • 157,000 apps rejected because they were found to be spam, copycats or misleading to users.
  • 343,000 apps rejected for requesting more user data than necessary or mishandling data they already collected.
  • Over 94 million reviews and more than 170 million ratings blocked from publication for failing to meet moderation standards.
  • An additional 610,000 reviews were also removed after publication based on customer concerns.
  • Over 63,500 illegitimate apps on pirate storefronts blocked.
  • More than 3.3 million stolen cards prevented from making potentially fraudulent purchases.
  • Rejected over 118 million account creations that displayed patterns consistent with fraud and abusive activity.

Apple’s new App Store study comes amid regulatory and antitrust scrutiny. Other recent studies from Apple focused on topics like third-party apps’ popularity, the the App Store’s economic impact and the benefits of App Store Search Ads.


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