These scammy iOS Apps won't Run Until you give them a 5-Star Rating

Users give ratings and reviews to describe their experience with others. This helps more downloads of the app and lets others know the app’s discoverability. But recently, App developer and Professional app store critic Kosta Eleftheriou discovered that an iOS API flaw is allowing developers to create an app that will not allow users to use it until the user gives it a 5-star rating on the Apple App Store.

iOS App 5-Star Rating Scam

Kosta Eleftheriou tweeted in his Twitter account that he has discovered some apps which when downloaded from iOS App Store are forcing its user to gives it a 5-star rating if he/she wants to use it. It also does not take a 2 or 3-star rating.Kosta posted a video demonstrating this flaw in the app called UPNP Xtreme (which now appears to have been pulled).

Through this flaw, this app is downloaded more than 15 million times, and app developers generating millions of revenue from it. Kosta Eleftheriou claiming that Apple is allowing this type of flaw to earn a 15 to 30 percent cut. He also mentioned that this trick to add in apps is very easy for developers and this app is not the only app that has this flaw. In the last several months, he found many scammy apps that use the 5-star rating trick. But some people report that they can run this app without rating and give lower ratings. 

This discovery of scam is done recently and this may be due to a clash between Kosta Eleftheriou and Apple because of his Apple Watch Keyboard, Flick Type rejected by Apple initially in response that they are developing their keyboard technology and does not want any competition for their app. But later they accept Flick Type as Eleftheriou filed a lawsuit against Apple this year. And also The Verge points out that Eleftheriou says Apple has removed over 100 apps as a result of his reports but isn’t catching these scams during its App Store review process.

Guilherme Rambo app developer tweets in response to Kosta Eleftheriou showing the code how it works.

Through this discovery, we can also say that developers using this trick to earn more revenue or it can be a new technique of scammers to intervene in user’s phones. Though Apple is not processing these scammy 5-star rating Apps before giving space in App Store and this would go against Apple as they are facing a lawsuit for 30% commission in apps transactions by Barry Diller. But we are not sure if developers are doing it purposely as it can affect their reputation and their apps will be banned. We hope after this Apple will think to do something about this.


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