18 of top 1,000 grossing App Store apps are scams worth $48 million, says report

App Store
App Store (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A new report claims that 2% of the top 1,000 grossing iOS App Store apps were scam apps.
  • The Washington Post says that analysis reveals they have taken $48 million from unsuspecting customers.
  • A total of 18 apps were discovered, many of which have now been removed by Apple.

New analysis from The Washington Post claims that 2% of Apple's top 1,000 grossing apps on the iOS App Store were scams that had pulled in some $48 million.

The report states

Of the highest 1,000 grossing apps on the App Store, nearly two percent are scams, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. And those apps have bilked consumers out of an estimated $48 million during the time they've been on the App Store, according to market research firm Appfigures.

The report says that many of these apps can be described as "fleeceware", using fake App Store revies to drive them up the rankings, convincing customers to download them and possibly part with cash, often unwittingly.

The report pertains to precisely 18 apps, which The Post says have conned some users out of an estimated $48 million. Of course, 18 out of an App Store of 1.8 million apps is a tiny portion, however, the financial cost of these apps to users can't be overstated.

Apple has recently hailed the security of its App Store in the face of growing scrutiny, notable during the Epic Games lawsuit that concluded last month. Apple claims it has helped to prevent $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions, whilst rejecting nearly 2 million App Store submissions and terminating 470,000 developer accounts.

Recent research states that Apple's App Store helped account for some $643 billion in billings and sales in 2020, most of which came from physical goods and services. As the report notes, Apple's own chief compliance officer Kyle Andeer has warned that opening up the iPhone to sideloading or more app stores would simply serve to multiply the problems that reports like this most recent revelation have identified.

The report says that Apple had removed two-thirds of the apps identified by the study.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9