Apple’s App Store prevented more than $2 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions last year, the tech giant said in a press release on Tuesday. The company says it rejected nearly 1.7 million app submissions in 2022 because they didn’t meet the App Store’s standards for privacy and security.
The press release comes as Apple faces an ongoing push to open up iPhones and iPads to third-party app stores. Last year, the European Union passed the Digital Markets Act, which will take effect in 2024, forcing major tech companies to allow alternative app stores on their platforms, giving developers choice in app distribution and giving users the ability to purchase apps from download from various 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 meet upcoming requirements. The company is reportedly going to roll out the changes as part of iOS 17’s release this year.
Apple has long claimed 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 were also at the center of Apple’s longstanding feud with Epic. Apple has alerted US lawmakers to the dangers of sideloading, arguing that it closely monitors apps in its App Store to keep users safe.
In today’s press release, Apple reiterated that its protections, including the App Store’s review process, have helped prevent fraudulent transactions. The company notes that last year it “protected users from nearly 57,000 untrustworthy apps from illegitimate storefronts, which don’t have the same built-in privacy and security measures as the App Store.” The statement essentially reiterates the tech giant’s stance on third-party app stores. Apple further notes that “unauthorized marketplaces distribute malicious software that can imitate or modify popular apps without the consent of their developers.”
Despite Apple’s best efforts, it’s worth noting that Apple’s app review process is hardly perfect and doesn’t guarantee that iOS users are always protected from scams and fraud or even malware in the App Store.
In the press release, Apple also praised the security of its payment technologies such as StoreKit and Apple Pay, noting that it blocked nearly 3.9 million stolen credit cards from making fraudulent purchases, and banned 714,000 accounts from transacting again.
The company also outlined that it performs a number of security checks on every app before it hits the App Store to protect users. Last year, the company rejected nearly 1.7 million app submissions for a variety of reasons, including concerns about fraud and privacy. Nearly 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 entries 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 state that Apple terminated more than 428,000 developer accounts last year for potentially fraudulent activity. It also rejected nearly 105 million Apple Developer Program enrollments for suspected fraudulent activity. In addition, Apple has disabled more than 282 million customer accounts associated with fraudulent and abusive activity, and blocked 198 million attempted fraudulent new accounts before they could even be created.
With Apple under constant pressure to open 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 to reinforce its stance on sideloading and third-party app stores.