Skip to content
Thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 34 years
and the TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals
An iOS app template.

Screenshot by Josh Centers


David Barnard Explains How to Game the App Store

Frustrated iOS developer David Barnard has been making a living from the App Store since it began, and he’s tired of Apple letting scam apps slip through review. So in a blog post, he explains how you too can make a bundle gaming the App Store. Thanks to app templates, you don’t even have to write much code. Just give your app a deceptive name, toss in some hard-to-skip subscriptions, sell your users’ location data, buy some reviews, and you’re off to the races. Despite such apps violating many of Apple’s policies, the App Store is still chock full of them. Hopefully Barnard’s blog post will prompt Apple to do something about the problem.

Read original article

Subscribe today so you don’t miss any TidBITS articles!

Every week you’ll get tech tips, in-depth reviews, and insightful news analysis for discerning Apple users. For over 33 years, we’ve published professional, member-supported tech journalism that makes you smarter.

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA. The Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Comments About David Barnard Explains How to Game the App Store

Notable Replies

  1. I try to immediately delete any app that violates common standards for providing the best user experience, such as prompting me for a rating or touting other apps, but these invasions are so common that it can be hard to maintain that policy.

  2. Agree. A few of my must have apps keep asking for ratings, so I suspect ratings have more relevance to developers than I had imagined. With some many of them faked, I don’t usually bother to read most of them.


  3. I guess that explains why I pretty much gave up on the App stores a year or two ago.

  4. I too more or less gave up on the app stores. I’ll download an app if I read about it somewhere else or if it is recommended by a friend. There is just too much junk in there to find something that is really good and useful. It’s become a needle in a haystack thing.

    I think it’s mainly Apple’s fault that the app stores have become what they are. Apart from the things mentioned in the article Apple should take care of, I think Apple should allow a free trial period for paid apps, and allow for paid upgrades in some way.

  5. Ray

    I always found it odd, that when I do look at an App that Apple has highlighted, how many times I find it with bad ratings and problems. I would think that ratings would be one of the ways they determine something is good. Of course, it could be the competition giving bad reviews to effect buying. Ratings seem like a good idea, but, like Amazon ratings, may not really tell you anything.

    That would be a vote for trial versions of apps.

  6. I have exactly the same experience, several high-visibility apps that I’d have a tough time doing without continue to pester me for an endorsement after every upgrade. Would it be all that difficult to program things to skip me if I didn’t review the previous version?

    And review ratings? I primarily only look at the two and three stars and the percentages. After being burned a few times, I’ve figured out that many, many of the five stars are faked or they are written by people who won’t admit that something they paid money for might not actually be a “to-die for” app. And it’s difficult to determine if the one stars are accurate or being written by a competitor or just a rascal.

Join the discussion in the TidBITS Discourse forum


Avatar for jcenters Avatar for frans Avatar for Felix01 Avatar for raykloss Avatar for alvarnell Avatar for Laine.Lee Avatar for scifionea