APPLE IS CRACKING DOWN on "scammy" iOS apps that manipulate its subscription pricing mechanism to trick users.
They do so by employing a "dark pattern" to manipulate users, TechCrunch writes. This includes deceptive user interface elements, the promise of "free trials" that convert to a subscription after a matter of days and offering apps that offer paid subscriptions despite functioning the same as freely available alternatives.
An app called 'QR Code Reader', for example, is tricking users into a pricey $156 per year subscription, raking in its developer $5.3m and earning raking it as the 220th top grossing app on the App Store.
Another app called 'Weather Alarms' has been employing sneaky tactics to trick users into pushing a button that will start a free trial or sign them up for $20/month subscription. The app has raked in over $1m in annual revenue, according to TechCrunch.
As spotted by Apple Insider, it seems Apple is beginning to take notice. While the firm has yet to officially comment, 11 or the 17 apps mentioned in Forbes' article have mysteriously disappeared from the App Store - likely because Apple has booted them out.
And while it's taken until now to do so, the company's strict App Store guidelines have long warned that developers must clearly state subscription terms.
"Apps that attempt to trick users into purchasing a subscription under false pretenses or engage in bait-and-switch practices will be removed from the App Store and you may be removed from the Apple Developer Program," the guidelines read.
Earlier this year, Apple also waved the banhammer over apps that share users' location to third parties without their explicit consent. µ
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