Items tagged with App Store

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), popular messaging services that might be used in other parts of the world, like Skype and WhatsApp, are restricted. A homegrown alternative called ToTok was designed and released to the public. It was heavily downloaded in the Middle East and eventually by people all around the world in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. The catch with ToTok is that while it was a messaging app, it was also a tool used by the UAE government to spy on all who used it. ToTok became one of the most downloaded social apps in the U.S. last week, according to research firm App Annie. The app was developed by a company called Breej Holding, which is most likely a front company... Read more...
Security researchers discovered 17 malicious iPhone apps that managed to get through Apple's review process and land on the App Store. The infected apps, which have now been removed, had been infected with clicker trojan malware "designed to carry out ad fraud related tasks in the background," such as clicking on links and continuously opening webpages. "The objective of most clicker trojans is to generate revenue for the attacker on a pay-per-click basis by inflating website traffic. They can also be used to drain the budget of a competitor by artificially inflating the balance owed to the ad network," researchers at security firm Wandera state in a blog post. All of the apps came from the same... Read more...
A new app called Gradient has gone viral. The point of the app is to take a picture of you and then gradually match you with your celebrity look alike. It's certainly not the first app of the sort that is meant to show users who their celeb look-alike is, among other things. Gradient is available for iOS and Android devices and is developed by a group called Ticket to the Moon Inc. The app has seen a boom in popularity recently as it has been used and the results of its matchups shared by celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel (seen above), Diplo, and the Kardashians. Kimmel morphing into Matt Damon we have to believe is a joke. The two have a long-running fake beef that has been a subject of Kimmel's... Read more...
Are Apple’s app practices anti-competitive? Phillip Shoemaker, the former head of App Store approvals, is concerned about the current competition between Apple and other developers. He argued that Apple should update its guidelines to give users a better experience, but noted that the app review process is rather complicated.  Shoemaker was the head of App Store approvals between 2009 and 2016, and he helped to craft Apple’s in-app purchase system. In 2009, his team decided that Apple would receive a 30% cut of every digital good or service sold within an iOS app. Furthermore, apps were not allowed to include buttons or links that would direct customers to other places where... Read more...
Will Kyrie Irving re-sign with the Boston Celtics? Is there a chance Rob Gronkowski comes out of retirement and helps the New England Patriots win another Super Bowl? Will Valve's Steam Link app return to Apple's App Store? Those are all pressing questions, especially for any geek who might reside or have been raised in the Boston area, and the answer to at least one of them is a resounding Yes! I am, of course, referring to the Steam Link app, though I'd be tickled pink if all three came to fruition. As it pertains to the Steam Link app, Valve initially released an official version for iOS devices last year, only for Apple to block it due to "business conflicts with app guidelines." Valve appealed... Read more...
The Apple App Store is regarded as being more a lot more secure than Google Play, but it's not perfect. An app was discovered last month that had bypassed Apple's security and was spying on users. Now, cybersecurity experts are worried that more unsecure apps might be sold to Apple customers after a Supreme Court ruling this week that will allow iPhone users to proceed with a class-action suit against Apple. The class-action alleges Apple's monopoly on the downloading of apps from the App Store drove prices up. While the Supreme Court approved the suit, the actual suit does have to go back and work its way through the lower courts. The case has the potential to force Apple to open its walled... Read more...
Malware is rampant on the Google Play store and is something that Google is trying to get a handle on. Apple has much less of an issue with malware on its App Store because it forces a review process for every app that wants to be distributed on the app store. That doesn't mean that malware and nefarious apps can't make their way through. Mobile security firm Lookout says that a developer has been able to abuse Apple-issued security certificates to bypass the App Store and target Apple devices. The app hid as a carrier assistance app, and once it was installed, it has wide-ranging permissions that allow it to silently capture the compromised device contacts, audio recordings, photos, videos,... Read more...
Security firm Kaspersky Lab has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in Russia over recent restrictions placed on the company's Kaspersky Safe Kids app for iOS. According to Kaspersky, Apple only decided to place additional restrictions on the app after announcing its own Screen Time feature as part of iOS 12, essentially putting it in competition with third-party parental control software. In a blog post on the subject, Kaspersky Lab says Apple had no issue with its app for the past three years. Now, however, Apple has blocked the app because it does not meet the requirements of paragraph 2.5.1 of the guidelines for apps hosted in the App Store. "It turned out that, according to Apple,... Read more...
Following an antitrust complaint filed by Spotify with the European Commission, Apple has issued a lengthy statement defending its App Store policies, and refuting Spotify's claims that it is being treated unfairly. The statement also insinuates that Spotify has become a leech, saying the App Store helped the streaming music service "dramatically grow" its business and now it wants to "keep all of the benefits of the App Store ... without making any contributions." Spotify filed its complaint earlier this week, accusing Apple of not playing fair by charging a 30 percent "tax" on purchases made in the App Store, including when customers upgrade from its free, ad-supported tier to one of its paid... Read more...
If you ever pay full price for App Store/iTunes credit, you are doing it wrong. The time to pounce is when gift cards and credit purchases go on sale, as typically occurs around various holidays and random times of the year. Such is the case right now—in an email to App Store and iTunes users, Apple is alerting users that they can get a 10 percent bonus when loading up their Apple ID accounts. This is a little different than a typical gift card purchase. What you are doing is adding funds to your Apple ID account from a credit or debit card, which you can then use to make purchases in the App Store, on iTunes, and via iCloud. "Now you can load money to your account more conveniently than... Read more...
Christmas has come and gone, but there's a good chance that many Americans received some form of Amazon Echo device under the tree. With so many new Echo owners joining the fray for the first time, they are inevitably heading to the iOS App Store to download the companion app so that they can get started with the setup process on their iPhone. However, an unofficial app has somehow made it near the top of the charts in the App Store, and it is by no means harmless. The app is called "Setup for Amazon Alexa" and was first spotted by 9to5Mac earlier this morning. As of this writing, the app is still available as a free download and is currently trending at #6 under the Utilities section... Read more...
Apple is about to have its day in court; but we're not talking about a federal circuit court due to its long-standing battle with Qualcomm. Instead, Apple is set to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court over antitrust allegations stemming from its popular App Store. If regular consumers want to install software on their iPhones or iPads (without jailbreaking, of course), the only way that this is permitted is via Apple’s App Store. This is Apple's curated walled garden for apps and games, and is strictly controlled. Developers must submit their apps to Apple for approval, and if they meet all of the company’s criteria (and are malware-free), they can be listed either as a free, freemium,... Read more...
If you're a developer thinking of a way to slip a cryptocurrency mining app into the iOS App Store to make a quick buck, Apple is putting stop to that. The company has updated its developer guideline to explicitly ban cryptocurrency mining on the iPhone and the iPad. The updated rules can be found in Apple's App Store Review Guidelines under the "Hardware Compatibility" heading. Apple clearly states that power efficiency should be a clear goal for developers, given the battery constraints of a portable device like an iPad or iPhone (but especially the iPhone). "Apps should not rapidly drain battery, generate excessive heat, or put unnecessary strain on device resources," writes Apple.... Read more...
Apple has revised its App Store rules and policies with slightly looser restrictions that could pave the way for Valve's Steam Link streaming app to take residence on iOS devices, after it was previously blocked. The relevant wording in the revised rules has to do with how remote mirroring apps like the Steam Link are handled. Depending on Apple's reviews process going forward, the change means that Valve's app could end up on iPhone and iPad devices, after all. First, a little background on the topic. Last month, Valve launched its Steam Link app in beta for Android devices. It works similar to the hardware version of Steam Link, only instead of beaming games in a user's Steam library to a television... Read more...
Valve launched the Steam Link app in beta on Google Play earlier this month and planned to bring the app to iOS as well. Initially, Apple approved the app for launch only to turn around a couple days later and pull that approval leaving Valve with no way to get the app onto iOS. At the time the denial was issued, all Apple said was that the Steam Link app violated App Store terms. Valve had said that it hoped Apple would reconsider. It appears that Apple is reconsidering with Phil Schiller having sent out emails to some Apple users who cried foul over the Steam Link app rejection. Reports indicate that the same email was received by multiple people indicating it is a canned response. In... Read more...
Technology companies that collect any sort of data are scrambling to be sure that they are being as careful in the wake of Facebook's Cambridge Analytica privacy problems. The latest tech firm to take a hard look at user privacy is Apple, with reports that it is cracking down on apps that share location data with third-party companies. Apple has begun removing the apps in question from the App Store if it finds that data is being shared and notifying the developers of the app that they have violated two different listing guidelines (sections are 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines). Those guidelines have to do with transmitting user location data and user awareness of data collection.... Read more...
Last Friday mobile gamers got a surprise when PUBG Mobile launched in Canada. At the time the game launched in The Great White North, the only way for U.S. gamers to partake in the fun was to change their region and download the game. PUBG Mobile has now officially landed in the U.S. and the game is available on both Android and iOS platforms. The game is said to be an accurate and faithful reproduction of gameplay currently available on PC and console systems, and promises high-quality graphics thanks to Unreal Engine 4 along with HD audio. Perhaps the best news about PUBG Mobile is that the game is free, whereas it costs money to play on PC or console systems. If you have never played... Read more...
Apple has done something that iPhone users in Iran won't be happy about. As of about noon GMT on Thursday, it appears that Apple has implemented a countrywide IP ban that has blocked all iPhone users in Iran from accessing the App Store. When an Iranian user attempts to access the App Store, they receive a message that says "The App Store is unavailable in the country or region you're in." Some users in Iran have been able to get around the IP ban by using a VPN even if their account has Iranian details in it. As for why the ban has taken place, Apple has given no official word. However, Apple doesn’t sell any products in the country and there is no Iranian App Store due to U.S. sanctions... Read more...
There is a security flaw in the most recent edition of macOS High Sierra, version 10.13.2, that allows users to unlock the App Store menu in System Preferences without knowing the password. The only caveat is that the exploit seems to only work on administrative-level accounts—attempts to reproduce the buggy behavior on standard accounts have not been successful. In addition, a fix is on the way. For now, however, the steps to reproduce the bug on administrative-level account are pretty easy, as outlined by a bug report on Open Radar. They are as follows: Log in as a local admin Open the App Store Click on the padlock icon to lock it (if necessary) Click on the padlock icon again Enter... Read more...
Amazon is the king of AI smart speakers. The company arguably created the category with the release of the Echo in 2014, and expanded it greatly with the introduction of the cheaper Echo Dot and a host of other Echo-branded devices. The 2017 holiday shopping season was the biggest yet for Amazon, and devices like the Echo Dot once again proved to be hot items with customers. In fact, the Echo Dot was the best-selling Amazon-branded hardware device during the holiday season, with Amazon going to state that it was "the best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across all of Amazon, with millions sold". The Echo Dot has been priced at $29.99 for the past month or so (and even cheaper... Read more...
It is an understatement to say the mobile app market is lucrative. According to a new report, consumer spending on apps is projected to reach $139 billion in revenue by 2021 as maturing markets see strong growth in gross app store spend per device. Increases spending on in-app purchases will also help drive up the total. The bulk of that revenue will come from Android, as all Android stores combined will leapfrog Apple's App Store. App Annie's App Store Forecast Report says that will happen sooner than later. "For 2017, consumer spend in Android stores is forecasted to surpass the App Store. This is driven by increasing global app installs in Google Play and third-party Android stores. However,... Read more...
Though Apple is making a killing on mobile app sales, that is not stopping the company from raising prices in several regions overseas. In the United Kingdom, one of Apple's biggest and most lucrative markets, app prices and in-app purchases are jumping up more than 25 percent. So for an app that might have sold for $0.99 in the United States, it will now sell for £0.99 in the U.K. instead of £0.79.The price hike is a result of a weak pound exchange rate following the Brexit vote. It's not just £0.79 apps that are going up by 25 percent or more, either. Similar price hikes will hit every price tier in the App Store. A Tier 2 app that previously would cost mobile users £1.49 will now cost £19.99.... Read more...
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