San Francisco– Apple protected customers from more than $1.5 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions on its App Store, preventing the attempted theft of their money, information and time and kept nearly a million risky new apps out of their hands last year, the company has announced.

In 2020, nearly 1 million problematic new apps, and an additional nearly 1 million app updates, were rejected or removed for a range of reasons like those.

In 2020, about 95,000 apps were removed from the App Store for fraudulent violations, predominantly for these kind of bait-and-switch manoeuvres, the tech giant said in a statement late on Tuesday.

“When such apps are discovered, they’re rejected or removed immediately from the store, and developers are notified of a 14-day appeals process before their accounts are permanently terminated,” Apple informed.

In 2020, the Apple App review team assisted more than 180,000 new developers in launching apps.

The team rejected more than 48,000 apps for containing hidden or undocumented features, and more than 150,000 apps were rejected because they were found to be spam, copycats, or misleading to users in ways such as manipulating them into making a purchase.

“Another common reason apps are rejected is they simply ask for more user data than they need, or mishandle the data they do collect,” the company said.

In 2020, the App Review team rejected over 215,000 apps for those sorts of privacy violations. Apple believes privacy is a fundamental right, and this commitment is a major reason why users choose the App Store.

“Even with these stringent review safeguards in place, with 1.8 million apps on the App Store, problems still surface,” Apple admitted.

Apple said it relies on a sophisticated system that combines machine learning, artificial intelligence, and human review by expert teams to moderate these ratings and reviews to help ensure accuracy and maintain trust.

Since 2020, Apple has processed over 1 billion ratings and over 100 million reviews, and over 250 million ratings and reviews were removed for not meeting moderation standards.

“Unfortunately, sometimes developer accounts are created entirely for fraudulent purposes. If a developer violation is egregious or repeated, the offender is expelled from the Apple Developer Programme and their account terminated,” the company mentioned.

Apple terminated 470,000 developer accounts in 2020 and rejected an additional 205,000 developer enrollments over fraud concerns, preventing these bad actors from ever submitting an app to the store.

Over the last 12 months, Apple found and blocked nearly 110,000 illegitimate apps on pirate storefronts.

“In just the last month, Apple blocked more than 3.2 million instances of apps distributed illicitly through the Apple Developer Enterprise Programme,” said the company.

In 2020 alone, Apple deactivated 244 million customer accounts due to fraudulent and abusive activity. In addition, 424 million attempted account creations were rejected because they displayed patterns consistent with fraudulent and abusive activity. (IANS)

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