How does apple not expect that annoying developers with their app store process (so much so that things like this exist: https://fastlane.tools/), AND charging them 30% AND apparently not actually reviewing anything about the apps making it into their store isn't going to eventually drive people away from it?
(Why yes, I am cranky over the amount of hoops I had to jump through to get to the point of asking apple for permission to put my beta on my co-founder's iPhone)
Testflight is more intended for "semi-open" betas where you only have tester's email.
I'll totally admit that apple dev flow (not writing the software, just how to get it to run on devices) is completely foreign to me. Concepts like "itunes connect" (which seems extremely odd to me, since I always thought of iTunes as a media player, not something I would use for software development) are confusing.
Figuring it out, though. Thanks again for the advice (and sorry if I accidentally threadjacked this).
Have things improved?
Beta testing with Android is easy. You can build the app on any OS you want from the command-line and send the app to anyone with no restrictions.
Apple can dump on developers all they want. As long as they have a consumer base who is more loose with their app spending money than Android users, and a more consistent platform to develop on, developers will stick with iOS just as much as they have. The devs may complain more, but Apple's market is simply more profitable to be in.
"If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps."
> If your App is rejected, we have a Review Board that you can appeal to. If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps.
It's wishful thinking - most mobile developers can't afford to say no to abuse from their primary revenue stream.
One example would be if an app uses third party libraries that rely on native code. Now on the surface this might sound like
an exotic requirement but consider that most mobile apis for third party services will probably wrap objective c or Java code.
An example of this came up for a friend who was building a github app. He had to eject from expo because the github mobile api wasn’t included in expo and required native code for authentication.
You can even work with things like Promises etc across native boundaries
Also, the last time I checked ejecting from expo, which you will need to do to use native code, was a bit of a pain. That was a few weeks ago so maybe they have stream lined the process since then.
#2 - Average computer/phone users are willfully ignorant. I would say stupid, but that's a judgement call (even though I think it's true). Someone with knowledge can advise them, but they cannot be bothered with all that fuss. They'd rather ignore sound advice and push buttons. After all, look at the who runs the country and the complacence of many of its people.
Have you ever had a friend who was a lawyer? Did you ever get some traffic ticket and think, "Hey, I'll ask Bob if he can help me handle this!"? I'm guilty of this once in a while. But "average users" are guilty of doing this to technical people all the fucking time. And when we advise them of behaviors to change to avoid future incidents, they nod and agree, but then repeat the stupid behavior later.
Sorry for the rant, but perhaps it's time to just start replying to scammed/screwed users with, "Oh wow, that's really unfortunate. I guess you'll have to go buy a new phone/computer." Maybe that will jar them into actually using their brains.
* Edit for wine-related typos.
But in either case, it seems like the 'submission review process' is far more minimal than whatever Apple and Google advertise on their websites. Seems like unless a lawyer/the police/authorities send a take down notice, the companies don't give a toss about anything resembling quality control.
Consider the potential number of new apps per day to an app store. Now imagine that each app requires 10-60 minutes of a halfway intelligent human's time to review. That's not such a huge staff required, especially compared to the revenue of said app store.
Or let's be generous and reduce the responsibility of app stores to just police the top 20 or 50 apps. If, daily or weekly, the top 20 apps were reviewed for quality, that would obviously require a very small staff... and it would prevent situations like this.
Ultimately, situations like this will result in class action lawsuits (like the one Amazon dealt with that resulted in them refunding a lot of childrens' in-app purchases). Perhaps what's happening is that companies decide it's just easier (organizationally) to handle legal problems than to manage business better. After all, final settlements tend to be fractions of actual costs to consumers.
So I'm almost wondering whether at one point, we might either see a copyright holder sue Apple (or Google given Google Play is even worse here) for allowing infringing apps or the authorities treat them as complicit in fraud.
I'm not sure this adds up. By my counting, taking the total number of apps currently in the store, it would add up to something like 700 apps/day - which is reasonable. But as I understand, they review submissions rather than apps (or at least they should, for this process to make any sense) - which means that new versions of the same app also need to be reviewed, and then the same version might get reviewed multiple times if it gets rejected. Given the update frequency for a typical mobile app, this all would add up really quickly.
Could they still afford it? I bet. But it would be a significant expense.
I think a better idea would be improving different permission dialogs UI and telling users to think before granting access to anything. Still it won't help against fake apps using same name as popular apps to get into search results.
This is incredibly frustrating because while they are strict at enforcing policy, they sometimes let things through or block things for what seems like completely arbitrary reasons. So these virus scanner apps may be in complete accordance with policy — and they let them through. But then a well-meaning app may want to do something interesting, and because it's against policy they block it.
However for developers who want to create good iOS experiences, App review will call you to keep you updated, they will take the time to consult with engineers on your behalf, and they will even advocate for your cause internally (which can sometimes, and recently for me, result in actual policy changes at Apple).
I expect Apple will soon be refunding customers of these scam virus scanner apps, and the review team will be updated with guidance to reject such apps in the future.
I didn't understand this until a few years back. Now I think of it as an inevitable misfortune that everyone will suffer sooner or later. Like a flu virus.
It's not just "average users", it's everyone. Some more than others, but everyone with a human mind dealing with a UI carefully designed to deceive.
Same can be said for any company/bank/government.
> #2 - Average computer/phone users are willfully ignorant
This - most people doesn't want to know how everything works - and they pay for it in various ways. It's not a matter of intelligence to know everything - but at least someone should know how they are spending their money. Could be a matter of trust, are they trusting Apple too much?
#2 - No, it's just that people optimize away their concerns. Until it's a _real_ problem, they don't bother. I get that, because I do that with other things in my life. But it's still unwise, and given the position (and power) technology has in our lives, I think people should adjust their priorities.
Also, do people still use the App Store? I don't think I have casually browsed for apps in 5 years or more.
"Deliberate disregard of the App Store Review Guidelines and attempts to deceive users or undermine the review process is a direct violation of section 3.2(f) of the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. Continuing to violate the Terms & Conditions of the Apple Developer Program will result in the termination of your account, as well as any related or linked accounts, and the removal of all your associated apps from the App Store."
Yes, exactly. How is there no-one at Apple/Google checking the top list of their app stores once a day to weed out all the crap?
However, these scamming apps make it through.
If you want to be able to get new users with your app, you need to provide an IAP subscription option.
But now they just bit the bullet and give up a portion of their revenue to Apple and Google. Although I believe 30% is only for the first year. It goes down after that.
In theory either could interfere with your interaction with netflix and demand money to allow it through. Google could start a whitelist of good sites and demand revenue sharing to be allowed on the list but people would go ballistic and firefox would have a lot more users.
I really don't see how apples arrangement is any more acceptable.
But I’ve also never clicked on a Google Ad, yet Google somehow rode Adwords to $700 billion dollars today.
Yes people spend billions of dollars a month on the App Store.
How long will apple allow this? At the very least it should be impossible to bid on trademarked terms, and no ad should ever outrank an exact match result.
Top result: ad - www.uber.com
Second result: ad - www.lyft.com/Uber_Drivers/Join_Lyft
Third result: organic - www.uber.com
There should be more results, but they aren't visible without scrolling down. Frankly, I find that more disturbing than anything else about this.
Lyft and Uber.
It seems more likely that:
- Other services have decided not to bid on "Uber". It may be more useful to bid on general keywords like "taxi" or "black car", etc.
- The price for that keyword is too high to be worth it
- The performance of the ads is poor such that Google doesn't show them.
- It's also possible that Lyft is bidding on the keyword "Uber", but only in certain geographical areas where they're trying to grow their presence.
Ads for both freecreditreport.com and experian.com display, owned by the same company
I believe competitors can still bid for that word, but cannot misuse it (ie, make misleading claims, or claim to be that company)
Advertising has often been comparing yourself to other brands. As one real world example: The Pepsi Challenge from the 80s. People drank Coke and Pepsi blindly and chose which one they liked better.
It is not illegal in the US and not inherently a misuse of trademark law. I'd be surprised if you were to tell me that Uber and Lyft are not buying ads against each other's search terms.
Edit: Oops, mostly wrong. Guess I've had an adblocker for too long. :)
Trademarks as keywords
Google won't investigate or restrict the selection of trademarks as keywords, even if we receive a trademark complaint.
Search for "Uber" on Google and you should see a Lyft ad right near the top of the paid section.
Steve Jobs was the creative artist in the IT industry, and obsessive in product quality. It may be time to ask the question "What would Steve Jobs have done?"
When I search for lyft I actually see uber ad above: https://imgur.com/gallery/zQz7e
 Or so I have heard ... from a friend
Nevertheless garbage apps like the one described here have no place in the App Store and should not be available at all.
As for the 'check running apps'. Maybe that works still, but as mentioned it only works if the apps are running at the same time, or recently. So it would never give you a full list.
There are plenty of folks out there who pay little to no attention to what's being billed on their cards.
As an example: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/14838642/ns/technology_and_science...
Then why run the ads?
I also had another app that was accepted into the app store then when I pushed an update release I was informed that my logo had to change because it used Apple's camera emoji. I only did this because another popular app did the same thing (down for lunch). In order to stay compliant, I had to change my logo.
I'm fine with said rules existing as in theory they are meant to protect lay customers from junk like this. How on earth did this thing make it through a review process that's so hard on some apps?
I wish Apple would apply it's rules and vetting with more consistency.
How did this app get through that?
Also there are ways to defeat App Review. Geo-fencing, time-boxing, etc so your illegal code never runs during review.
If the app was claiming to grow a dinosaur in your backyard after you pay $400/mo would it be treated any different?
Honestly, that already sounds like a significantly better app than “Mobile protection :Clean & Security VPN”.
I do agree though. It's quite odd that something as clearly bad and misleading as this could get past the review stage even assuming timeboxed code and so forth. That would imply that it would have to do something both useful and congruent with its description during the review process, and presumably not be full of spelling mistakes and badly described features. That seems unlikely.
They are both scam apps, that take your money and give you nothing, so not sure how that is any better?
Unless they somehow hid all of this, it seems to point to a weakness in the app review process.
But the bigger problem is that you can write conditional code that doesn't run during review. So the skanky things you do might not be caught, see Uber's geofencing of cupertino when they tried to fingerprint phones to catch account scammers.
Pretty sure the marketing text can't be changed post-review, so again that should have at least been caught.
Shrug, it's Apple's walled garden and Apple's reviewers. They are free to hire different people or set different app review policies.
Really -- there's vastly more honest people than dishonest, so outrage over issues like this haven't arrived (yet), otherwise Apple would do a deeper review.
We have some text on a button that says "PACK 2 / EARN 50 STARS / OR BUY $1.49" (over three lines) which I thought was pretty clear: earn 50 stars in game to get the pack or use real money (the game teaches you about earning stars as you play) . They assumed that clicking on the button and spending real money would GIVE the player 50 stars so I suspect they didn't play the game at all and just went straight to the IAP screen.
The second thing they said was that there was no restore purchases button (which is a requirement if you have IAPs). Well, there is a restore purchases button in the credits screen, they just didn't explore the user interface (but somehow they found the IAP screen).
So they seem to do a very cursory look at submissions.
I have just enough knowledge and just enough free time to maybe pull off one of these kinds of scams, but two things stop me: One, I have to look at myself in the mirror every day, and two, even if I set my morals aside, given my luck, I'd be the one Apple finally decides to make an example out of and sends the feds to my doorstep.
This usually has more to do with honest people not being good/experienced at being criminals, rather than luck.
Not willingly and probably not a full month, but I could imagine that some users accidentally subscribe to the $100 "trial" period - it really is just a quick Touch ID press away. The price and charge frequency is listed in a small font size for a brief moment before you press that button.
I guess many users will stop that subscriptions once the first charge is done...and they are able to find the subscription options buried deep in the iOS settings app. Considering how essential subscriptions are these days I find it troubling that managing them is such a well hidden feature in iOS.
I mean, I'm sure there will be a few who don't notice, but it seems likely that chargebacks would be through the roof.
Later on I did successfully get a refund for being charged twice for the same content when I bought it again on a family-shared device. Free tip: in-app purchases apparently aren't sharable to the family.
I found a scam competitor once and reported it to Apple and they pulled it just before the payment day so I'm hoping he never got paid.
Never, I guess.
As a long time Android user (and no I wans't happy for most parts; and I wanted to taste the iOS waters both as an user and a mobile dev) who recently moved to an iPhone SE I feel really disappointed.
Nice into the rabbit hole though, should see how bad it gets with VMs.
Nah they're like my second best client ever but it's still I don't get paid hourly/"a reasonable fixed price" so no in short form, I have no self respect.
I was scammed once (at least), it was a site that said "Sell your ideas for money!" hahaha, I "sold my ideas" For a non-refundable fee of $99 and this also overdrew my bank account.
^^ That reinforces my original thought, I could build a similar "legit looking site" throw a payment system on there and get some poor schmuck like myself to fall for it and pay. Good job on me who built that site for say $17.00 and some time.
edit: I was scammed by this lady (beat up looking face) and this guy, her "son" or whatever... they were asking for gas but insisted I give it to them in cash (at the gas station). Yeah I'm pretty stupid.
I hope you don't get scammed in the future.
No prob I didn't take offense I just talk too much haha
And Apple just rejected my app because it has a 'register free trial' link. Which is actually free, actually a trial, no CC info asked, no in-app purchase.
Their response was "if you offering something - you should be using in-app purchases".
I've never done it, either. I clearly remember the only few times I clicked on AdSense ads - once by mistake, and was extremely annoyed at the results (it was a sort of list like search results), and 2-3 times to test my own AdSense ads (yeah, against ToS).
Yet AdSense is raking in billions. I've always wondered who actually clicks on the ads :D
A lot of users have a really poor sense of what all the stuff on their screen is. Google started putting ads inline with search results for a reason. Well, reasons, rather, all of them fairly "evil", but that was one of them.
I get why people do it, but it's sad that they do.
its reasonably powerful, doesnt make any noise, has an SSD and is a unix system without any of the linux haggling.
paying 1k extra for not having to deal with shit was really worth it for me. certainly made sense from a quality of life perspective.
and im anything but an apple fanboy.
Little distinction between ads and search results? No filtering or approval for ads? Scammy $100/week subscriptions for nothing? Meanwhile you're not allowed to make fun of the presidents elbows or whatever. Come on.