Update, Feb 22: Apple removed Authenticator’s copycat apps from the App Store.
Another day, another complaint about the App Store review process. This time, 2FA app Authenticator by 2Stable is facing copycats from multiple scammers. Not only the app is being copied, but scammers are charging subscriptions up to $335/year if you forget to cancel the weekly in-app purchases, raising questions about Apple’s long-flawed App Store review process.
Authenticator’s creator Kevin Archer published on his Twitter account that he was analyzing how his app’s keywords were doing on the App Store when he discovered another 2FA app that copied-pasted his description.
In addition, Archer shows the app promises Apple Watch support – because Authenticator does feature it – but as it just copied his app description, it’s not true. Alongside that, once you download the app, the developer already asks for a review in the onboarding stage to get more ratings and reviews, which is not allowed by Apple Guidelines.
Last but not least, the app charges $3.99/week, which is very high – and when 9to5Mac covers scammers on the App Store, this is their main way to get money from Apple users.
Archer also searched for more apps from this developer and discovered that they also offer other weekly subscription-based apps with higher prices.
On the following day, Authenticator’s creator discovered the same app was submitted on another developer account, by only changing the color – from orange/black to green.
He complains about this situation:
“I really don’t understand how these apps pass the App Store review with features that don’t work, with a copied design, with forcing users to review their app before even seeing it, and of course with a weekly subscription. Every day indie devs like us, got apps rejected for silly things, meanwhile, there are others who spam App Store with imitations and weekly subscriptions. I would like to ask the developer community to retweet this, maybe someone who works at Apple will take necessary actions.”
It’s frustrating how Apple deals with scammers. Every now and then, we report stories about multimillion-dollar scam apps on the App Store. More than once, the company “mistakenly” featured these applications on its store.
As Apple faces lawsuits across the globe, with the Epic v. Apple case being one of the most high-profile disputes over the company’s App Store power, Apple needs to do more to make the App Store the place customers can really trust.
Last October, Apple brought back the Report a Problem link to help fight scams with two significant improvements, but as it’s the only tool available to get in touch with the App Store team, developers struggles until Apple finally takes these scam apps down or end these fake dev accounts.
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