Apple’s App Store prevented over $2 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions last year, the tech giant touted in a press release on Tuesday. The company says it rejected nearly 1.7 million app submissions in 2022 for failing to meet the App Store’s standards for privacy and security.
The press release comes as Apple faces a continued push to open up iPhones and iPads to third-party app stores. Last year, the European Union passed the Digital Markets Act that will go into effect in 2024 and force big tech companies to allow alternative app stores on their platforms, giving developers a choice in app distribution and users the ability to download apps from different sources.
After the European Union passed the Digital Markets Act, Bloomberg reported that Apple was preparing to allow alternative app stores on its iPhones and iPads to comply with the upcoming the requirements. The company is reportedly going to launch the changes as part of the release of iOS 17 this year.
Apple has long argued that sideloading, which refers to the process of installing an app on a phone or tablet without using the device’s official App Store, would expose users to security risks. The idea of sideloading and App Store fees have also been the center of focus in Apple’s lengthy feud with Epic. Apple has pressed U.S. lawmakers on the dangers of sideloading, arguing that it keeps tight control of the apps in its App Store in order to keep users safe.
Throughout today’s press release, Apple reiterates that its protection measures, including the App Store review process, are what helped it prevent fraudulent transactions. The company notes that last year it “protected users from nearly 57,000 untrustworthy apps from illegitimate storefronts, which do not have the same built-in privacy and security protections as the App Store.” The statement essentially reiterates the tech giant’s stance on third-party app stores. Apple goes on to note that “unauthorized marketplaces distribute harmful software that can imitate popular apps or alter them without the consent of their developers.”
Despite Apple’s efforts, it’s worth noting that Apple’s app review process is hardly perfect and does not guarantee that iOS users are always protected from scams and fraud or even from malware inside the App Store.
In the press release, Apple also touted the security of it payment technologies like StoreKit and Apple Pay, noting that it blocked nearly 3.9 million stolen credit cards from being used to make fraudulent purchases, and banned 714,000 accounts from transacting again.
The company also outlined that it performs a number of safety checks on every app before it makes its way onto the App Store in order to protect users. Last year, the company rejected nearly 1.7 million app submissions for various reasons, including concerns related to fraud and privacy. Almost 24,000 apps were blocked or removed from the App Store for bait-and-switch violations.
More than 153,000 app submissions rejected from the App Store last year were found to be spam, copycats, or misleading, the company says. In addition, nearly 29,000 submissions were rejected for containing hidden or undocumented features. More than 400,000 app submissions were rejected for privacy violations, the company says.
The press release goes on to note that Apple terminated over 428,000 developer accounts for potentially fraudulent activity last year. It also rejected nearly 105 million Apple Developer Program enrollments for suspected fraudulent activities. In addition, Apple disabled over 282 million customer accounts associated with fraudulent and abusive activity, and that 198 million attempted fraudulent new accounts were blocked before they could even be created.
As Apple faces continued pressure to open up iPhones and iPads to third-party app stores, the company is essentially using today’s press release to tout the security of its App Store and payment technologies as a way of reiterating its stance on sideloading and third-party app stores.