Apple to lock iOS app screenshots upon submission to halt scammers

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,249member


    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.

  • Reply 2 of 27
    ..."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...

  • Reply 3 of 27
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,951member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 27
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,113member

    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.

     

  • Reply 5 of 27
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,249member


    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.

  • Reply 6 of 27

    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.

  • Reply 7 of 27
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,951member

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

    Thanks
  • Reply 8 of 27
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member


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

  • Reply 9 of 27
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    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.

  • Reply 10 of 27
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 27
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    nasserae wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member


    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.

  • Reply 13 of 27
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 27

    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

  • Reply 15 of 27

    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.

  • Reply 16 of 27

    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

  • Reply 17 of 27
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,731member

    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?

  • Reply 18 of 27
    asciiascii Posts: 5,699member


    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.

  • Reply 19 of 27
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,281member

    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.

  • Reply 20 of 27
    "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.
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