Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Apple highlights App Store protections, says it blocked $1.5B in fraud in 2020

Credit: Apple

In a new feature, Apple is highlighting some of the ways that it says protects developers and users, and claims that it stopped more than $1.5 billion in fraudulent App Store transactions in 2020.

The Cupertino tech giant says that a combination of technology and human expertise protected customers' money, information, and time. Its anti-fraud platforms also kept nearly a million risky or vulnerable apps off the App Store.

Alongside the announcement, Apple highlighted some of the ways that it fights fraud on the online app marketplace. That includes the App Review process, tools to fight fraudulent ratings and reviews, and monitoring developer accounts for abuse.

For example, Apple says it helped 180,000 developers launch new apps in 2020. During the same time period, it stopped nearly one million problematic new apps and an additional one million app updates.

Among those rejections, Apple says more than 48,000 were blocked because of hidden or undocumented features. About 150,000 were rejected because they were misleading, spam, or copycats.

The company says that just in the past month it has taken action against apps that switched functionality after initial acceptance. Some of the apps that it took down or rejected included predatory loan issuers, pornography hubs, and gambling apps.

Apple also says it removed 215,000 apps for privacy violations, including asking for more information than they need to operate or mishandling the data they collect. As far as fraudulent ratings and reviews, Apple says it has removed more than 250 million ratings and reviews for not meeting content moderation guidelines.

When it comes to account abuse or fraud, Apple says it terminated 470,000 developer accounts and rejected an additional 205,000 enrollments over fraud concerns in 2020. It blocked 110,000 illegitimate apps on pirate storefronts and rejected 3.2 million instances of apps distributed using side-loading.

Account fraud monitoring extended to users, as well. Apple deactivated 244 million customer accounts due to abuse or fraud. It also blocked an additional 424 million account creations "because they displayed patterns consistent with fraudulent and abusive activity."

As far as fighting financial fraud, Apple says it prevents more than 3 million stolen cards from being used to purchase goods and services. It also banned about 1 million accounts from transacting again.

"From App Review, to fraudulent account detection, to prevention of financial crimes, Apple works around the clock and behind the scenes to keep the App Store a safe and trusted place for users and developers alike," the company said.

Apple's anti-fraud highlight comes amid scrutiny of the company's App Store practices in the Epic Games v. Apple trial that is actively ongoing. Documents and testimonies during the trial have shed some light on the App Review process.

It also comes about a month after a vocal app developer filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that it enables fraud and scam apps on the App Store.

Stay on top of all Apple news right from your HomePod. Say, "Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider," and you'll get latest AppleInsider Podcast. Or ask your HomePod mini for "AppleInsider Daily" instead and you'll hear a fast update direct from our news team. And, if you're interested in Apple-centric home automation, say "Hey, Siri, play HomeKit Insider," and you'll be listening to our newest specialized podcast in moments.