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Apple to lock iOS app screenshots upon submission to halt scammers

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
In a change of App Store policy, Apple announced on Wednesday that screenshots attached to app submissions will be locked in once they are approved, effectively putting an end to a scamming tactic used to dupe customers into spending money on fraudulent apps.

App Store Logo


The new rule, made effective today, looks to stymie attempts from scammers who would submit an app showing one set of screenshots only to swap them out with images from other popular apps after being approved by Apple. As noted by MacRumors, nefarious developers would combine the fallacious images with app names suggesting the work was a legitimate iteration of an existing title.

A video of such a scam that has been making its rounds on the web shows an app called "Mooncraft," supposedly a a clone of the hit game Minecraft, is not quite what the buyer was expecting. As seen below, the screenshots in iTunes clearly represent a different game than the one actually purchased. Note that the Mooncraft icon is also a blatant copy of the Minecraft franchise, further confusing unwitting customers.



From the announcement:

Beginning January 9, app screenshots will be locked in iTunes Connect once your app has been approved. New screenshots may be uploaded when you submit a binary for an update to an existing app or a new app. For more information on capturing and using screenshots, read the Xcode User Guide.

While Apple's new policy will cut down on fake apps, it is also likely to hinder honest developers who will now have to go through the roundabout process of submitting updates to their respective app pages to change an image.
post #2 of 28
While Apple's new policy will cut down on fake apps, it is also likely to hinder honest developers who will now have to go through a roundabout process to upload screenshots to their respective app pages in the event of an update or version change.

 

Is it really that hard? I mean, it was made to be as simple as possible. All screenshots on all Apple devices are leagues easier than anywhere else.

 

I think they should allow video clips of the app in action, as well. That'd be nice to see. But really, the policy for all App Store scams should be pretty simple: all available apps deleted, developers banned for life, legal action taken (if applicable). Guarantees such as this would cut down on rule breakers by a great amount.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #3 of 28
..."hinder honest developers who will now have to go through a roundabout process to upload screenshots to their respective app pages in the event of an update or version change."

"New screenshots may be uploaded when you submit a binary for an update to an existing app or a new app."

Not sure how you're hindered in the event of an update or version change, since you can upload a new image then...
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Is it really that hard? I mean, it was made to be as simple as possible. All screenshots on all Apple devices are leagues easier than anywhere else.

I think they should allow video clips of the app in action like in Google Play, as well. That'd be nice to see. But really, the policy for all App Store scams should be pretty simple: all available apps deleted, developers banned for life, legal action taken (if applicable). Guarantees such as this would cut down on rule breakers by a great amount.

There I fixed that for you. No thanks needed, the pleasure was mine.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #5 of 28
Quote:
While Apple's new policy will cut down on fake apps, it is also likely to hinder honest developers who will now have to go through a roundabout process to upload screenshots to their respective app pages in the event of an update or version change

 

I recommend everyone whining to take a midol. Perhaps we can have a few articles on ISP disruptions and how it annoyingly impacts one's mail and workflow? Not.
 

post #6 of 28
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post
There I appended that for you. No thanks needed, the pleasure was mine.

 

 

Fixed. Your implication that anything's broken right now was… wrong.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While Apple's new policy will cut down on fake apps, it is also likely to hinder honest developers who will now have to go through a roundabout process to upload screenshots to their respective app pages in the event of an update or version change.

 

As a developer, that last line is total BS.  Changing screen shots is as easy as clicking the remove "X" on the old shot, clicking the upload button and sliding the new shot into the position you want. All Apple is changing is the ability to change the screen shot after it is approved.  Checking that your screen shots are still accurate should be part of every developer's upload checklist.  Also the screenshots only lock once an app is approved, so you have 7-12 days (based on my experience) after you upload to catch any missed image updates before the approval locks your images.  This should have zero impact on honest developers.

post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


Fixed. Your implication that anything's broken right now was… wrong.

Thanks
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #9 of 28

That's good. Now they need to stop accepting posters as screenshots... it is not an art exhibit.

post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJMonline View Post

 

As a developer, that last line is total BS.  Changing screen shots is as easy as clicking the remove "X" on the old shot, clicking the upload button and sliding the new shot into the position you want. All Apple is changing is the ability to change the screen shot after it is approved.  Checking that your screen shots are still accurate should be part of every developer's upload checklist.  Also the screenshots only lock once an app is approved, so you have 7-12 days (based on my experience) after you upload to catch any missed image updates before the approval locks your images.  This should have zero impact on honest developers.

Agreed.  I have half a dozens apps in the App Store and frankly I thought the screenshots were unchangable after approval already (most of the other elements were).  I'm glad they changed this.  One of the things Apple should be verifying is that the screenshots are a reasonable representation of the app.  Obviously they can't do that if the developer can change them at any time.

post #11 of 28
As a proud user of mine-craft that picture was of it, it's description similar. Fact is all needed is pictures to be reviewed every time it is changed.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

That's good. Now they need to stop accepting posters as screenshots... it is not an art exhibit.

I can't remember the last time the image actually showed an actual screenshot. I'm all about TS's suggestion about allowing video clips of the app in action but I can see why Apple might not want it.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #13 of 28

Apple should go after these criminals with everything that they've got. Ban them for life and then pursue further criminal charges and lawsuits, no matter where in the world they're located. Apple has plenty of cash and they should certainly aggressively chase after fraudsters and criminals who prey upon unsuspecting Apple customers, even though the overall scope of these frauds is obviously microscopic. I've downloaded a ton of apps and I've never once ran into any scam app. These criminals shouldn't just be banned from Apple's appstore, they should be banned from the entire internet, for life. You don't let convicted pedophiles hang around in school yards, and you shouldn't let convicted criminals and fraudsters, who commit their crimes on the internet, be able to gain access to the internet.

 

iOS's walled garden is a good thing, and it could be made even more secure. The thicker the walls, the less the chance of criminals sneaking through.


Edited by Apple ][ - 1/9/13 at 11:10pm
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

There I fixed that for you. No thanks needed, the pleasure was mine.
Please don't pleasure yourself here. There are plenty of other sites specifically for that.

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We've always been at war with Eastasia...

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post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

 

iOS's walled garden is a good thing, and it could be made even more secure. The thicker the walls, the less the chance of criminals sneaking through.

Or worse, customers out. That would be bad. Maybe an armed guard should follow customers to make sure they don't get in contact with other systems? /s


Edited by lightknight - 1/10/13 at 12:35am

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

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post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In a change of App Store policy, Apple announced on Wednesday that screenshots attached to app submissions will be locked in once they are approved, effectively putting an end to a scamming tactic used to dupe customers into spending money on fraudulent apps.


Beginning January 9, app screenshots will be locked in iTunes Connect once your app has been approved. New screenshots may be uploaded when you submit a binary for an update to an existing app or a new app. For more information on capturing and using screenshots, read the Xcode User Guide.

While Apple's new policy will cut down on fake apps, it is also likely to hinder honest developers who will now have to go through a roundabout process to upload screenshots to their respective app pages in the event of an update or version change.

Am I the only person who thinks that the problem is Apple approving "Mooncraft" (and alii), an obviously illegal ripoff of a successful game?

The ONLY point of a walled garden is for these "innovative and original revolutionnary apps" (eg, ripoffs) to not end up in customers' hands.

 

A better solution would have been, as discussed a few days ago on these forums, to have a sample of the app, as Apple has for music or movies, or a solid refund policy (instead of refunding only when people threaten to go to court... "buy something, get something different, get refunded"), and most importantly a better review process.

 

At least, obviously Appple's aware of the existence of the problem, which is great news.

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJMonline View Post

 

As a developer, that last line is total BS.  Changing screen shots is as easy as clicking the remove "X" on the old shot, clicking the upload button and sliding the new shot into the position you want. All Apple is changing is the ability to change the screen shot after it is approved.  Checking that your screen shots are still accurate should be part of every developer's upload checklist.  Also the screenshots only lock once an app is approved, so you have 7-12 days (based on my experience) after you upload to catch any missed image updates before the approval locks your images.  This should have zero impact on honest developers.


People will have to actually plan for stuff in advance (instead of planning a posteriori). I know some artists who're going to get very very sad :p /s

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

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post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I can't remember the last time the image actually showed an actual screenshot. I'm all about TS's suggestion about allowing video clips of the app in action but I can see why Apple might not want it.

Why? What's the downside?

melior diabolus quem scies
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post #19 of 28

Apple could also withhold all payment to developers for new apps for the first 6 weeks (or something). This would discourage scammers from even trying, knowing they would surely be found out before they receive a cent. After the initial period is over payments could be just like they are now.

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Why? What's the downside?

Bandwidth from their servers and the fact that app approvers would have to sit through them before being able to approve the apps, is the only thing I can think of.

Just imagine KickStarter type videos x100 every day, they'd go mad.

Personally I'll always search on YouTube for video reviews before purchasing a game anyway.

post #21 of 28
"it is also likely to hinder honest developers who will now have to go through a roundabout process to upload screenshots to their respective app pages in the event of an update or version change"

Small price to pay if it allows you to restore your customers' confidence in you and your product.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by realwarder View Post

Not sure how you're hindered in the event of an update or version change, since you can upload a new image then...

Sometimes you change your mind about what are the best screenshots.

Which is why at some point they will likely create a way to submit descrip and image changes without a binary. But it will require approval before going live. To make sure it is the app it claims to be

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Bandwidth from their servers and the fact that app approvers would have to sit through them before being able to approve the apps, is the only thing I can think of.
Just imagine KickStarter type videos x100 every day, they'd go mad.

They wouldn't allow those filming the screen type videos so those would be easy to shut down. That would likely be like 90% of the videos. There would have to be careful rules on length, etc.

But yes it would be time consuming and at this point they wouldn't do it. Might they in the future, perhaps. Once, I would hope, after the other messes are cleaned up. At least to me, this kind of scam, padding descriptions with excessive info and keyword padding, fake reviews etc are bigger issues than no preview videos

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Bandwidth from their servers and the fact that app approvers would have to sit through them before being able to approve the apps, is the only thing I can think of.

Just imagine KickStarter type videos x100 every day, they'd go mad.

Personally I'll always search on YouTube for video reviews before purchasing a game anyway.

I can't imagine that would be much of an issue. Feature videos are offered for apps on a "competing" platform and have been for a few months now. IMO it gives a much better idea of what the app is all about than simple screen shots, at least on the games side.

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post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Bandwidth from their servers and the fact that app approvers would have to sit through them before being able to approve the apps, is the only thing I can think of.

Just imagine KickStarter type videos x100 every day, they'd go mad.

Personally I'll always search on YouTube for video reviews before purchasing a game anyway.

Rickrolling videos?

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

Reply

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

Reply
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Why? What's the downside?

Time and resources. Adding videos means slowing down the review process more than it is right now. Developers can host whatever video they want on their website, Youtube, Vimeo.. etc and have a link in the app description to that video.

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

I can't imagine that would be much of an issue. Feature videos are offered for apps on a "competing" platform and have been for a few months now. IMO it gives a much better idea of what the app is all about than simple screen shots, at least on the games side.

Evilution and NasserAE covered my reasoning in their posts.

In regard to Google Play those videos aren't vetted. Apple would need to make sure the videos are accurate just as they need to make sure these still images are accurate. I don't think anyone would disagree with you about a video providing a much better example of how an app works but that's the upside, not the downside. If Apple thinks it's feasible I'm certainly all for it, but I think it seems unlikely for Evilution and NasserAE's stated reasons.
Edited by SolipsismX - 1/10/13 at 7:52am

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Apple 
[" url="/t/155391/apple-to-lock-ios-app-screenshots-upon-submission-to-halt-scammers#post_2256603"]Apple should go after these criminals with everything that they've got. Ban them for life and then pursue further criminal charges and lawsuits, no matter where in the world they're located. Apple has plenty of cash and they should certainly aggressively chase after fraudsters and criminals who prey upon unsuspecting Apple customers, even though the overall scope of these frauds is obviously microscopic. I've downloaded a ton of apps and I've never once ran into any scam app. These criminals shouldn't just be banned from Apple's appstore, they should be banned from the entire internet, for life. You don't let convicted pedophiles hang around in school yards, and you shouldn't let convicted criminals and fraudsters, who commit their crimes on the internet, be able to gain access to the internet.

iOS's walled garden is a good thing, and it could be made even more secure. The thicker the walls, the less the chance of criminals sneaking through.
Mooncraft is off the App Store so something good.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lightknight View Post

Am I the only person who thinks that the problem is Apple approving "Mooncraft" (and alii), an obviously illegal ripoff of a successful game?
The ONLY point of a walled garden is for these "innovative and original revolutionnary apps" (eg, ripoffs) to not end up in customers' hands.

A better solution would have been, as discussed a few days ago on these forums, to have a sample of the app, as Apple has for music or movies, or a solid refund policy (instead of refunding only when people threaten to go to court... "buy something, get something different, get refunded"), and most importantly a better review process.

At least, obviously Appple's aware of the existence of the problem, which is great news.
Yes a rip off yet at least apple could do it but it would haft to be a video, but I also know apple has no free way to video apps so... Maybe it will hit the OS for all users with customozible features, I always thought hold down sleep/wake button and instead of single double click home,(or use Siri) and same to stop (or have it in multitasking).
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