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How do I check country of origin for apps in the iOS App Store? My experience is that looking for the listed developer isn't always accurate and the App Store doesn't appear to show country of origin.

My current practices for estimating country of origin for security purposes:

  • Check for "Engrish": extremely broken grammar associated with automatic translation tools. Most Chinese knockoff apps have "Engrish" descriptions. However, bear in mind that broken grammar doesn't always mean "software from China" - it's common to have this happen with apps from Asia in general.
  • Developer or vendor appears to have a Chinese or Russian name. In these cases I usually do an additional Google search to verify this. Taiwan uses the same language as China (although their character sets are written differently) - another thing to check so I don't incorrectly flag Taiwanese apps as coming from China.
  • Check the developer's other apps. What languages and countries do they appear to be geared towards? If I see anything geared towards China or Russia, I usually reject the developer.
  • Check the listed language availability. Generally, an app that offers only English and Simplified (not Traditional/Taiwanese) Chinese is a telltale sign that it comes from China.
  • Online search (background check) for the developer. This often fails in the case of apps designed by extremely small teams or independent developers.

Here's a list of things that often go wrong when pinpointing where an app comes from:

  • Publisher or developer uses a front company outside their country to mask country of origin. I remember a recent instance of this where a Russian publisher opened a front company in Ireland and listed that.
  • Search turns up no results. A lot of app developers are small independent software companies with no name recognition, and many don't have a dedicate website or show up on search results.
  • Listed developer (below the app name) doesn't match the listed seller. In some cases, the listed seller is obviously a joke or incorrect. I recall one app where the seller was listed as "Michael Jackson", even though that clearly was not the developer's name.

Is there a better way to do this?

  • As you mentioned towards the end, searching for country of origin might not actually help you if you want to avoid scams. So I'm not quite sure what kind of answers you expect here? – nohillside Sep 23 at 8:14
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You are not safer in the Appstore than anyware else: the only thing that is scrutinized by Apple is how the app works correctly in OS and that it works only in the api (which already is a good direction) but it can still be a bad app.

  • 1
    I absolutely agree, but this doesn't answer my question: Is there a better way to identify app country of origin than what I already posted? I'd preferably like a way to do this from the App Store itself. – user1258361 Sep 17 at 14:32
  • I should also mention: your claim that "the only thing that is scrutinized by Apple is how the app works correctly in OS and that it works only in the api" is at least partially false. There is some evidence that Apple screens apps for possible misbehavior (malware or spyware-like behavior), and fraudulent/malicious apps that slip through screening are usually booted out of the store after the fact when caught. – user1258361 Sep 17 at 22:05

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