Apple released a new version of instructions App Store Review, which is its document that outlines the rules that apps must adhere to in order to be published in their App Store.
Among the most notable changes being rolled out are several departments that see Apple take a tougher stance on App Store fraud, scams, and developer misconduct. Including a new process designed to enable other developers to hold bad actors accountable.
One of the major updates in this area includes a change to Apple’s Developer Code of Conduct.
This section has been expanded significantly to include guidelines stating that repeated manipulative, misleading, or other fraudulent behavior will result in a developer being removed from the Apple Developer Program.
And Apple did this because of repeated violations. But now she wanted to make sure it was clearly spelled out in the guidelines.
If a developer engages in activities or actions that do not comply with the Developer Code of Conduct, their Apple Developer account will be terminated, Apple says.
It also details what needs to be done to restore the account, which includes providing Apple with a written statement detailing the improvements they’ve made, which Apple must agree to.
If Apple can confirm that the changes were made, it may restore the developer account.
As part of this update, Apple added a new section about developer identity. This is intended to ensure the accuracy of the contact information for developers provided to Apple and customers. And that the developer does not impersonate other legitimate developers through the App Store.
This was particularly an issue in the App Store scam incident that involved a crypto wallet app that deceived a user and stole their $600,000 bitcoin savings.
The victim was tricked because the app was using the name and code of a different company that makes a hardware encryption device, and because the scam app was rated with five stars.
Apple wants to end the scams:
Apple clarified the language regarding fraud in the App Store discovery to call for any kind of manipulation of the App Store’s layouts, search, reviews, and referrals more specifically.
This means cracking down on the booming industry of fake app store reviews and ratings. That could raise fraudulent application in charts and search.
The referral campaign addresses consumers who are shown incorrect prices outside the App Store in an effort to boost installs.
Another section deals with issues that arise after the application is deployed. Including negative customer reports, concerns and excessive refund rates, for example.
And if Apple notices this behavior, it will check the app for violations, she says.
Apple says: Developers can now directly report potential violations they find in third-party apps. And that through a new model that unifies this type of complaints.
Developers can point out violations of the guidelines and any other security and trust issues they discover.
Another change allows developers to appeal the refusal if they believe there has been unfair treatment of any kind.
The company has 500 application references covering 81 languages who see new scenarios daily. It should be accounted for in the updated guidelines and policies.