Apple Now Allows Users to Tip with In-App Purchases

With Today's tab, App store editors will be pushing content as part of "Daily Stories" with a new app and game featured as the App of the day along with new lists and other content.

In the scenario described, iOS users are enticed to subscribe to illegitimate services such as virus scanners, VPN apps, and password generators, among others.

In a policy update for the App Store that coincides with the iOS 11 developer release, Apple added the following line: "Apps may use in-app purchase currencies to enable customers to "tip" digital content providers in the app". But what's this? The #10 Top Grossing Productivity app (as of June 7th, 2017) was an app called "Mobile protection:Clean & Security VPN".

The latest design offers separate tabs for games and apps. But as Medium blogger Johnny Lin found out, the mechanism that Ngan Vo Thi Thuy exploited involves tricking gullible users in the app and spreading awareness of the app through ad listings on App Store searches. However, he also notes that at the exorbitant prices the app charged, it would only need around 200 subscribers to get to that amount.

Apple could face a backlash from Chinese app makers after it issued a new policy defining tips as in-app purchases. However, some social-networking apps have likened Apple's tactic to arm-twisting, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

While there have always been apps from less reputable developers in the App Store, one developer called attention to just how bad the problem has become in recent months.

"They're taking advantage of the fact that there's no filtering or approval process for ads, and that ads look nearly indistinguishable from real results, and some ads take up the entire search result's first page", wrote Lin.

We've reached out to Apple for comment on this practice. "The App Store sandboxing rules mean that anti-virus software couldn't really do anything useful anyway". For many legitimate app developers, this is a cumbersome, time-consuming, and capricious process.

Subscriptions and In-App Purchases can also be purchased directly from the App Store outside the app which will be helpful for large brands on the App Store who are big on the Freemium model. Unfortunately, Apple has no filter to sift through search ads as of now.

  • Essie Rivera