Apple tackles scammers with new App Store rule

Developers will no longer be able to change their app's screenshots unless they submit an update to Apple

Apple has updated its App Store rules to prevent scammers from being able to change the screenshots displayed with their app descriptions after Apple has approved it.

Apple will now approve an app with a set of screenshots that will remain the same until the developer submits an update for approval.

"Beginning January 9, app screenshots will be locked in iTunes Connect once your app has been approved. New screenshots may be uploaded when you submit a binary for an update to an existing app or a new app," Apple announced on its Developer Portal on Wednesday.

Previously, scammers could upload screenshots that would enable them to get their app approved by Apple, and then switch them for screenshots from a different popular app to trick customers.

An example of the scam is the unofficial Pokemon Yellow app that arrived on the App Store last February. Its developers fooled Apple into approving it by using an inconspicuous set of screenshots, and then replaced them with screenshots from Nintendo's official game to deceive customers into buying it.

The app was purchased by thousands of customers, but it would crash upon opening for every single person who had tried it. Apple later pulled the app when it climbed to the top of the paid App charts, but not before people had spent money on it.

So Apple's new rule is reassuring for customers who have been tricked into buying an app before. However, for innocent developers who want to change a screenshot without updating their app, the rule might not be as welcome.

[Via MacRumors]

See also:

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Apple seeds fifth OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.3 beta to developers, public update near?

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Ashleigh Allsopp

Macworld U.K.

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