Apple said this week that it blocked more than 343,000 iOS apps were blocked by the App Store App Review team for privacy violations last year, while another 157,000 were rejected for attempting to mislead or spamming iOS users.
The company added that it also blocked over 34,500 applications from getting indexed on the App Store because they were using undocumented or hidden features.
Apple also removed 155,000 more apps for bait-and-switch tactics, such as adding new features or capabilities after approval.
Throughout 2021, the App Review team stopped more than 1.6 million risky or vulnerable apps and updates from landing on the App Store and potentially defrauding users.
Last year, in the company’s first fraud prevention analysis report, Apple said that almost 1 million problematic new apps and nearly 1 million app updates were rejected or removed by the App Review team.
Apple says that its efforts to protect customers from fraud attempts require the monitoring and vigilance of multiple teams focused on several areas, from App Review to Discovery Fraud.
“Apple is dedicated to keeping the App Store a safe and trusted place for people to discover and download apps,” the company said in this year’s report.
“A key pillar in that effort is Apple’s ongoing work detecting and taking action against bad actors who seek to defraud developers and users.”
Apple’s efforts to protect users from fraud are welcome, seeing that scammy apps known as fleeceware are still a big problem on the iOS App Store, as discovered by researchers at Avast last year.
Such apps lure customers with promises of free trials but will instead require excessive subscription costs of thousands of dollars per year.
As Avast reported, roughly 200 such fleeceware apps with total estimated revenue of more than $400 million across Apple’s and Google’s app stores.
One year before, Sophos researchers also spotted dozens of fleeceware apps downloaded by iOS users approximately 3,680,000 times and listed among the top-grossing apps on the App Store.
$1.5 billion potentially fraudulent transactions prevented
Apple also added that it was able to protect its customers from $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions throughout 2021.
It also blocked the use of more than 3.3 million stolen cards on Apple’s online store platforms and banned almost 600,000 accounts from ever making transactions again across its platforms.
“For many people, no data is more sensitive than their financial information. That’s why Apple has invested enormously in creating more secure payment technologies like Apple Pay and StoreKit,” Apple added.
“These technologies are used by more than 905,000 apps to sell goods and services on the App Store. For example, with Apple Pay, credit card numbers are never shared with merchants — eliminating a risk factor in the payment transaction process.”