Apple has announced that, in 2021, it prevented over 1.6 million risky and untrustworthy apps and app updates from reaching the App Store and stopped over $1.5 billion in fraudulent transactions.
Apple produced its first fraud prevention analysis last year with information about 2020. Last year’s report showed that Apple had prevented one million potentially bad apps from the App Store and protected customers from nearly $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions.
In 2021, Apple rejected 118 million attempted fraudulent account creations, deactivated 170 million fraudulent customer accounts, and terminated 802,000 fraudulent developer accounts. In 2020, these figures were 424 million, 244 million, and 470 million, respectively.
Apple rejected 34,500 apps in 2021 for containing undocumented or hidden features, down from 48,000 in 2020. It rejected 343,000 apps for privacy violations in 2021, considerably up from 215,000 a year prior. Apple also rejected 157,000 apps for being copycats, spam or misleading to users, up from 150,000 in 2020.
In a blog post, Apple wrote, noting that the team reviews every app and every update to ensure compliance with Apple’s App Store guidelines, that “human review is the distinguishing component of the App review process.”
As well as this, Apple also uses “proprietary tools that leverage machine learning, heuristics, and data accumulated since the App Store first launched” to detect an any potential violations or issues with an app.
Similarly, in April, Google reported that it had blocked 1.2 million apps from the Play Store for policy violations in 2021.
Included in their 2021 App Review, Apple also rejected 835,000 problematic new apps and 805,000 app updates for apps that needed improvements in their moderation mechanisms for user-generated content or for potentially containing bugs that affect functionality .
Apple also took down “nefarious developers” attempting to bypass the App Review by creating an app and, once it had been approved, then changing its functionality or concept. To stop these kinds of violations, Apple removed 155,000 apps from the App Store.
Apple are also addressing the problem of illegitimate app ratings and reviews, a problem previously faced on the Google Play Store. Google attempted to address these problems in 2016 with their new automated filters. Apple warns that fake ratings pose a serious risk to the App Store because it could lead to users downloading untrustworthy apps.
Apple processed over 1 billion reviews and ratings in 2021 and blocked 170 million ratings and over 90 million reviews that failed to meet their moderation standards.
They also say that they have also blocked 53,600 apps that were being distributed on pirate storefronts. Apple says, “these storefronts distribute malicious software often designed to resemble popular apps – or that modify popular apps without their developers’ authorization – while circumventing the App Store’s security protections”.
The company also stopped 3.3 million stolen payment cards from being used to make purchases on the App Store.