Apple cleaning hundreds of thousands of titles from App Store in Review Guidelines crackdo...

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in iPhone
As part of an extensive housecleaning operation, Apple has over the past year removed hundreds of thousands of clones, 32-bit titles, spamware and other software from the App Store ahead of this fall's iOS 11 launch.




As noted in Apple's App Store Review Guidelines, the company is applying a more stringent ruleset not only to App Store submissions, but also the digital storefront's existing catalog. In particular, updated guidelines specifically target clones and apps created using template or app generation services.

Located in the "Design" section of the Review Guidelines is rule 4.2.6, which reads "Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected." The limitation is an apparent attempt to curb the submission, sale and maintenance of apps created using templates, which in turn helps halt copycat apps from riding the coattails of original content.

While Apple has long restricted developers from cloning apps, that is copying a title's contents and rebaranding it for profit, review guidelines have allowed so-called "templatized" titles to permeate the App Store.

Developers looking to cash in on the latest app craze, usually a game like 2048 or Flappy Bird, can create an analogue similar or nearly identical to the original title using readily available production tools. The practice is frowned upon, but has been in large part allowed until now.

Apple is looking to clamp down on template titles with its latest review guidelines revision, but the App Store cleanup doesn't stop there. According to TechCrunch, Apple is also applying the rule to spam apps, apps that push pirated content (including a glut of music streaming titles), apps that lack 64-bit support and titles that show no recent download activity. The latter initiative to remove abandoned apps kicked off last September.

Apple has removed hundreds of thousands of offending apps over the past year, the report says.

While app clones and other unsavory software are being scrubbed from the App Store, Apple is performing the cleanup in such a way as to not dissuade the use of third-party app production tools. By targeting only those apps that fall afoul of rule 4.2.6, the company can keep the App Store clone free while at the same time fostering a welcoming environment for amateur developers.

Aside from stricter App Store guidelines, Apple is promising a completely new user experience with the forthcoming iOS 11. When the operating system goes live later this year users will be treated to a completely revamped App Store interface, the store's first major design overhaul since its debut in 2008.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    I think it's funny that you cited the game "2048" as an original title.... Because that game blatantly ripped off the game "Threes," but succeeded because Threes was a paid app and 2048 was free.
    tdknoxdunkscornchipadm1jony0
  • Reply 2 of 34
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,719member
    I've not noticed any reduction in clone or junk apps...
    lamboaudi4cornchipr00fus1williamlondonSpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 34
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,432member
    lightvox said:
    Cleanup is welcome and overdue.  I'm really only interested in any apps that might be security risks...spyware. etc.  I wish there was a list somewhere of such apps to refer to.
    Those apps shouldn't have made it into the store in the first place. I doubt there are any spyware apps on the store. Maybe you're thinking of the Google Play store?
    cornchipGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 34
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 890member
    I think it's funny that you cited the game "2048" as an original title.... Because that game blatantly ripped off the game "Threes," but succeeded because Threes was a paid app and 2048 was free.
    I'm pretty sure that "looking to cash in" is just a nicer way of saying "blatantly ripped off". 

    Long time followers here will remember the "Flappy Bird"... um, flap.
    edited June 2017 SpamSandwichdysamoria
  • Reply 5 of 34
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,005member
    Good. 
    cornchipStrangeDays
  • Reply 6 of 34
    waverboywaverboy Posts: 81member
    I wish Flappy Bird would be brought back and updated for 64-bit.
  • Reply 7 of 34
    adm1adm1 Posts: 831member
    App Store: Quality > Quantity
    GooglePlay: Quantity >>>>>>>> Quality
  • Reply 8 of 34
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,656member
    I’m happy to read about this but I honestly never come across any of these crap apps since I’m mostly directly directed to new apps via a review from a trusted tech outlet or a personal recommendation. Very rarely do I even seek out app store on my own and even then it’s likely found via a Google Search or asking a friend. IOW, I never blindly check the App Store for titles.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 9 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,704member
    macxpress said:
    lightvox said:
    Cleanup is welcome and overdue.  I'm really only interested in any apps that might be security risks...spyware. etc.  I wish there was a list somewhere of such apps to refer to.
    Those apps shouldn't have made it into the store in the first place. I doubt there are any spyware apps on the store. Maybe you're thinking of the Google Play store?
    Spyware would be apps that harvest location, or contacts or other information from you without disclosing it. There is almost certainly "spyware" in the App Store. Impossible to catch all of it with millions of apps there. 
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 10 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,704member
    adm1 said:
    App Store: Quality > Quantity
    GooglePlay: Quantity >>>>>>>> Quality
    FWIW Google is doing much the same thing, cracking down on dodgy apps and putting developers on notice back in February. The problem of clone apps, and apps with unnecessary permissions is indeed a shadow area that's tough to draw a clear line on, with both Google and Apple erring on the side of permitting more than denying.  MacWorld wrote an article on it over three years ago.
    http://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/iosapps/how-app-store-got-taken-over-by-copycats-3512145/

    Things will change hopefully. Both companies have just been failing to strictly enforce their own rules. I find it hard to believe there could be even a million unique quality apps in the app stores. A whole lot of 'em could go IMHO, maybe half or more, with the benefit of making those good useful apps more visible to users. 
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 11 of 34
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 2,341member
    I (perhaps idealistically) rely on Apple to police its store -- just as I would rely on a brick and mortar store to insure that products it sells live up to a certain standard...

    One of the things I rely on is ratings:    My grandson's IPad is restricted to PG-13 type stuff and I hope that Apple pushes its vendors to rate their apps correctly...
    ...  One obvious violation was "YouTube" had a R-17 rating, while clones that accessed the site carried a PG-13 rating and were obviously there mostly to bypass the real R-17 rating....
    pscooter63
  • Reply 12 of 34
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,915member
    dysamoria said:
    I've not noticed any reduction in clone or junk apps...
    Have you been logging and counting them? What metrics are you using in your quantitative study? Details, please. 
    williamlondonpscooter63
  • Reply 13 of 34
    spaceraysspacerays Posts: 116member
    I have bought some good 32 bit apps which are now being bugged with the compatibility message. I would be pissed if Apple doesnt allow me to redownload these apps from the App Store in the future. I payed for them and they have been working fine for years. If they can work in 64 bit iOS all this while I dont understand what is the motive to remove compatibility for them in iOS 11.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    I believe that Apple originally allows crap in at times to boost numbers for marketing purposes...so many titles should not have ever made it into App Store in the first place.  But I am glad they are cleaning this up a bit.  Should do 2 rounds of cleanup and then make it a practice to do this every quarter.
    bobcubsfandysamoriawilliamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,704member
    dysamoria said:
    I've not noticed any reduction in clone or junk apps...
    Have you been logging and counting them? What metrics are you using in your quantitative study? Details, please. 
    Oh geez, again with challenging someone's personal observations. He didn't claim it as fact so why would you (again) be demanding metrics and studies and facts and....

    His metric was personal observation since you missed it. Do you not ever make them yourself? Constantly challenging opinions that you don't share with demands for facts and studies or their opinion doesn't matter comes off as a bit trollish. It seems like you're just looking for a disagreement for no reason other than to disagree. We all have opinions, you included.

    BTW since you didn't apparently notice: The claim Apple has factually removed hundreds of thousands of copycat apps didn't come from official Apple statements. There was no mention in the Techcrunch source article what metric the author used for making that determination other than he "understood" it had happened, and the implication was he didn't depend on a quantitative study proving it. Are you challenging the Techcrunch author and the AppleInsider editor as well? 
    edited June 2017 dysamoria
  • Reply 16 of 34
    gatorguy said:
    Things will change hopefully.
    Why hoping? Did Google announce they would gonna create walled garden similar to Apple? I don't recall that.
    And they won't because they had bet on the wrong horse and it is too late to change. If they embark on this ecosystem overhauling now, it is gonna be VERY VERY expensive, and will very likely turn down customers, because customers chose Google for not being "like evil Apple" (evil - providing walled garden and not offering (cough) "customization" and lack of the ability to launch apps downloaded from any place on the Internet).

    Putting guidelines (I mean, actual ones and not some vague "don't upload malware" stuff, and enforcing them would definitely be viewed as a move toward being more Apple-like).
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 17 of 34
    spacerays said:
    I have bought some good 32 bit apps which are now being bugged with the compatibility message. I would be pissed if Apple doesnt allow me to redownload these apps from the App Store in the future. I payed for them and they have been working fine for years. If they can work in 64 bit iOS all this while I dont understand what is the motive to remove compatibility for them in iOS 11.
    You should be pissed at the devs for not updating those apps in a while, and not at Apple for trying to maintain their ecosystem.. The talk about changing form 32->64 arch has been going on for at least a year, if not longer. It wasn't exactly a surprise, you know.
    pscooter63dysamoria
  • Reply 18 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,704member
    gatorguy said:
    Things will change hopefully.
    Why hoping? Did Google announce they would gonna create walled garden similar to Apple? I don't recall that.
    And they won't because they had bet on the wrong horse and it is too late to change. If they embark on this ecosystem overhauling now, it is gonna be VERY VERY expensive, and will very likely turn down customers, because customers chose Google for not being "like evil Apple" (evil - providing walled garden and not offering (cough) "customization" and lack of the ability to launch apps downloaded from any place on the Internet).
    No, Google did not announce a walled garden, nor do I think I implied that. Obviously a "walled garden" still let in far too many bogus, dodgy and/or copycat apps for Apple's taste. 

    What Google did announce to developers back in February is that they would be enforcing app store rules more aggressively, particularly as it applies to privacy policies, and would begin removing already approved apps from Google Play if those developers failed to bring apps into compliance within a few weeks. The expectation voiced was that thousands of relatively worthless and/or dodgy apps will be disappearing. So that's the hoping I referred to. Get rid of the noisy clutter which both app stores have an abundance of.  It was NOT simply for a walled garden approach which by itself obviously doesn't cure the problems of bad apps that already reside on the two major app stores.  I thought that would have been clear to begin with so apologies for not making it understandable enough in the original post.
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 19 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,704member
    gatorguy said:
    Things will change hopefully.
    Putting guidelines (I mean, actual ones and not some vague "don't upload malware" stuff, and enforcing them would definitely be viewed as a move toward being more Apple-like).
    I noticed your post edit following my response to you. Google does have developer rules and they are being more aggressively enforced, just as Apple has presumably had to do now. So if you wish to view that as being more Apple-like I can respect your viewpoint.

    If you have difficulty finding Android developer rules, as well as recent Google rules enforcement/notices of violation issued this year to Google Play developers I can link them for you. Most folks here seem more trusting of a source when they find it for themselves. 
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 20 of 34
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    Things will change hopefully.
    Why hoping? Did Google announce they would gonna create walled garden similar to Apple? I don't recall that.
    And they won't because they had bet on the wrong horse and it is too late to change. If they embark on this ecosystem overhauling now, it is gonna be VERY VERY expensive, and will very likely turn down customers, because customers chose Google for not being "like evil Apple" (evil - providing walled garden and not offering (cough) "customization" and lack of the ability to launch apps downloaded from any place on the Internet).
    No, Google did not announce a walled garden, nor do I think I implied that. Obviously a "walled garden" still let in far too many bogus, dodgy and/or copycat apps for Apple's taste.
    "Far too many" is a far too vague of a term. I would suggest using real numbers or some kind of research that has those numbers on the quality of apps, instead of that precise "far too many"....
    I have used both stores for several years and I can say that the quality of apps on the Apple store on average is much higher than of what Google Play offers. It just is and no amount of intellectual gymnastics, word joggling, and logical fallacies can change/hide that fact. You can see that by how much people spend in both stores. People who have the ability to pay, chose Apple. Why? Is it because they are bigoted and stupid, or is it because they just find time and time again, that the quality of a product they are interested  in is much higher in App store?
    Just as an example of why objectively that is the case -- you can upload your crappy app on Google and it will be sitting there forever as long as it does not spread viruses openly. Try to do the same with Apple store without updating your dev license or not caring about the app and see, how fast it will disappear. The answer is - it will disappear right after your dev license ends (which has 1 year lifespan) or after another major iOS update. So, in the App store, it is impossible to have a 5 year old app that hasn't been updated in all those years. It will be removed AUTOMATICALLY. However, that is not the case for Google. And that is just one of many ways, why Google store is not the same as Apple store.
    Now, Apple is already removing/have removed whole bunch of bad apps (either because they stole user's data or tried to imitate other people's apps), while Google only started talking about doing that quite recently.
    Arguing that Apple can't remove/vet 100% of bad apps, therefore they are doing just as much of a bad job as Google, is illogical.

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