Keeping bad applications out of the App Store is a monumental task — Apple says it denied 1.7 million apps submitted for approval in 2022. That’s out of 6.1 million, and it’s an increase from the previous year.
And Apple also blocked nearly 3.9 million stolen credit cards from being used to make fraudulent purchases on the App Store. Plus, the iPhone-maker blocked millions of fake reviews.
Apple blocks huge amounts of malware from the App Store
Apple limits iPhone and iPad to installing any third-party applications through the App Store, and the company takes a percentage of revenue generated from these apps. That obligates Apple to ensure that its software store isn’t full of malware, scams and junk software. On Tuesday, Apple released its annual report on how well it’s doing that job.
Software submitted to the App Store has to conform to guidelines. That includes checks by both automated systems and the App Review team staffed with actual humans. And Apple says 1.7 million applications submitted in 2022 did not pass muster, as noted.
In the case of nearly 24,000 apps, this is because of deliberate fraud. “The App Review team identified several apps that disguised themselves as innocuous financial management platforms but had the capability to morph into another app,” said the Mac-maker in its report.
Another 153,000 applications were blocked for being copycats, deliberately misleading or spam. The company says nearly 29,000 submissions were rejected for containing hidden or undocumented features. And 400,000 were blocked for privacy violations.
In the previous year, the company rejected 1.6 million risky applications from the App Store.
Unethical developers can boost the reputation of their software with fake reviews. To fight this, Apple removed more than 147 million app reviews in 2022 for not meeting its moderation standards, out of 1 billion submissions.
Apple blocked $2 billion in fraud transactions
The whole point of malware and fraud software is making money. And Apple prevented almost 4 million stolen credit card numbers from being used. The total of fraudulent transactions it prevented in 2022 reached $2.09 billion.
Developers trying to use the App Store to trick customers out of their cash lose their accounts. Cupertino terminated 428,000 of these in 2022.
Naturally, Apple’s report on how how well it’s doing keeping bad software out of the App Store doesn’t say much about all the times it’s unsuccessful.
Nearly any developer can point to poorly made copycat versions of their own apps that are designed to lure in customers with false promises, for example. Fake reviews are everywhere.
But it’s in Apple’s best interest to keep crooks out of the App Store as much as possible. Government regulators around the world are considering new rules that might force Apple to modify iOS to allow applications to be installed from outside the App Store — the EU has already done so. The iPhone-maker needs to be able to argue that rule changes aren’t needed because the App Store is safe.