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Is there a link or somewhere to report App Store rule violations? Specifically, when an app is using push notifications to send you advertisements/promotions, despite this being explicitly against Apple's rules.

The closest thing I've found is a form to report intellectual property violations, and I can't find anything else that's close.

5.6 Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.

Recently, AppGratis was removed from the store for this (and other) violations.

I'm stick and tired of one app in particular, Real Racing 3, sending me ads to 'buy' in-game cars. You need notifications turned on in the app because of other game-related mechanics, such as when a friend challenges you to a race or your car is repaired. There is no option I can find to opt-out of the advertising messages.

Contacting the developer (EA, FireMonkey) will do no good because they don't care, so I'm hoping if this gets the attention of Apple then they will enforce their own rule.

Of course I just could remove the app and no longer use it, but it bugs me that small developers can't get away with it and big ones get a free pass.

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Apple has implemented many changes in 2017 and 2018 time frame as the size of the store has grown. How you get support depends upon your relationship with Apple.

  • As a consumer, you would report and ask for support based on purchases you make. As a developer, you have a dedicated channel to report rights violations, fraud, and general concerns.
  • The App Store is now much better where you can voice critical reviews and get feedback from the developer for all to see. If a major app is doing things that are surprising people, that shows very clearly in the reviews.

But really, unless there's something serious, why wouldn't you just disable notifications for that app, then open a support ticket with the vendor and maybe leave a bad review and delete the app?

I would expect Apple support to show you how to delete the app and how to disable notifications and then hand you off to the developer if they aren't making you happy.

If you purchased the app recently (which should cover the vast majority of things that are blatantly wrong)

  1. http://reportaproblem.apple.com

Apple's report page directs you to the web page listed for support. Even this page is very carefully shaped to get Apple items like billing and subscriptions handled, but venting / reporting / tattling / complaining about an app isn't something Apple has a web page to receive feedback that's easy to find from the App Store apps or the general support pages.

If you are a developer, sign in and contact support:

  1. https://developer.apple.com/contact/#!/topic/select

In 2013 - the state of reporting issues was less formalized. The support was more case by case and reviews were one way (Developers couldn't respond to complaints at all, let alone publicly).

  1. You should send a message to the developer (since you are about to poo over their product on the App Store) - give them a chance to make things right since they might have a fix or be able to assist you directly.
  2. Go into the App Store and rate the app. If you give them one star and a brief review - kill them with kindness: "If only I could ignore the constant upselling of paid upgrades, I might have liked this game"
  3. Look hard at the description in the App Store. If they materially mis-represented the state of the app (say the screenshots are marketing illustrations and not actually screen shots) - report a problem with that purchase from within iTunes. Find that purchase and click the report a problem link. That fires a flag at that item in the store. You won't get a response, but I am confident that in bulk these are reviewed with the most reported problems getting the most scrutiny. That link may pop up a form to add details - if not, it will take you to the website below.
  4. http://www.apple.com/support/itunes/ - Find the section on contacting support and click it.
  5. It takes you to another page - and you will want to submit your detailed feedback to Apple listing the app, the time/date of the violation and the section of the rules you feel are being violated.

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At the end of this process, you may also want to take Apple's support survey and ask that they streamline the problem reporting process to make it more clear how / when users should be sending feedback to Apple. You can bet that once enough people start using the tools given and enough complain (politely and with detailed evidence) that it takes too long to report obvious problems with the review tools - it can be fixed.

I do know that if/when your report gets to the desk of a developer support person, they will know how many steps you needed to take to get them the problem report and it's more likely they will dig into it if your complaint has merit.

Most importantly, if you paid money for the app, consider asking for a refund. Detail why the app isn't as described or isn't following the norms you have seen Apple publish and how you feel bad for supporting both Apple and the developer financially when they don't follow the rules set down.

A financial ramification, well reasoned complaints/criticism and using the tools Apple has given for consumers to rate apps together will send a clear signal that the business didn't do a good enough job selling a specific app to you. Once patterns of failures accumulate, they can't go un-noticed.

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  • I had issues finding the support option described (now in early 2017) on Apple's support page. But I was able to find this other page which allows feedback per downloaded app: reportaproblem.apple.com – justinpawela Mar 29 '17 at 15:05
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    The link to report problems does not cover apps in which you have not made a recent purchase; for example it does not cover existing apps that "upgrade" to malware. – arp Feb 28 '18 at 15:10
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I was searching for "voice changer" software and three of the top results were apps that had thousands of 5 star ratings. Really?

After reading some of the reviews, apparently these apps use the same technique to do ratings fraud. Basically they require users to rate them with 5 stars so that they can unlock more features, according to the actual verbiage in the reviews! That plus many of the reviews are obviously just generated text with non-sense English. Really?

After some searching for ways to report rating fraud on the Apple App Store, I found a link the other Apple developers can use to report them. Sorry, it won't work for you if you are not an app store developer :(

http://itunesconnect.apple.com/WebObjects/iTunesConnect.woa/wa/jumpTo?page=contactUs&contactfaq=fraudconcern

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  • Thanks, this was useful to me! I used it to report Whisper for their violations of privacy - ironically, what they are saying their app is for, yet they track all posts, and your location, and keep your chat images etc... not good. – Traderhut Games Jun 12 '16 at 15:30
  • Wow, scummy ratings manipulation at its worst. There's an easy way for Apple to fix this: remove the API function that allows developers to query in-app for the rating that the current user in the app gave. That way the developer has no way to tell what review the user gives, they can only view their aggregate score on their app page. – user1258361 Mar 8 '19 at 22:52
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I have the same problem with the otherwise very useful Mac app 'Memory Clean.'

It uses push notifications (on the Mac) to advertise the developer's other products. Furthermore, in System Preferences, Memory Clean doesn't even show up in the list of apps that are sending notifications — which means there's no way to stop it from doing so.

This is a multiple violation — for sending push notifications, purely to advertise other products; and for not giving the user a way to disable the notifications.

Relevant TOS language:

—> 5.3 Apps that send Push Notifications without first obtaining user consent will be rejected

—> 5.5 Apps that use Push Notifications to send unsolicited messages, or for the purpose of phishing or spamming will be rejected

—> 5.6 Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind

I contacted the developer, and my requests have been ignored. So, I actually called Apple customer support to report this, and the representative said I should talk to the developer. I told her that I already had, and she had no other recommendations.

I can't believe that Apple has no official mechanism for reporting these flagrant violations.

Update:

@bmike: Thanks for the reply, but Memory Clean is a Mac app, not an iOS app. So, the link for reporting iTunes issues doesn't apply. It's also a free app, so requesting a refund wouldn't apply.

Still, even free apps should obey the rules. But Memory Clean uses push notifications to nag users to buy the developer's other apps, and there's NO WAY even to REMOVE Memory Clean from Notification Center. The developer has designed it "cleverly," so that it doesn't even appear in the list of items that can be added to or removed from Notification Center.

I've contacted the developer numerous times -- and have been repeatedly ignored. I've even requested a paid version of the app. Also ignored.

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  • I've documented the official way to air your grievances. I too have used that support avenue to tell Apple explicitly why I felt their review process has failed users and on rare occasion asked for a refund explaining how the app doesn't meet the published standards and that Apple's review should have corrected the error/violation. I'm certain the charge back is noticed by both Apple and the developer but whether it outweighs the profits from other sales depends on enough people asking for a refund. – bmike Sep 8 '14 at 16:19
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Go to this site: reportaproblem.apple.com

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    This answer is just incorrect. The link above is "To report a problem with iTunes, iBooks Store, iOS, or Mac App Store purchases made in the last 90 days", not to report an App Store violation. – Charlie74 Jan 5 '16 at 14:14
  • I disagree - in fact, I'm going to add this to my answer. – bmike Jan 19 '19 at 12:53
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and 1-800-my-Apple(1-800-692-7753 ... and getsupport.apple.com... Ask the online support in chat to send a report in to the administrators.

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    How is this any different from the already accepted and highest voted answer? – Allan Dec 6 '18 at 22:15
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    That link in 2019 is for intellectual property disputes. I don't think the OP really feels that's what's up. They're aggrieved that they have to disable notifications for one app in particular. – bmike Jan 19 '19 at 13:17
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I think you may need to think over it again. Apple only don't like to have anouncements and advertisments about REAL PRODUCTS which you should buy for REAL MONEY.

In your case -> Game "Real Racing 3" these are Notifications about InGame Cars which you can buy from either Real Money or also the InGame Money you're able to win by doing Races so i think you won't succeed in front of any US Judge.

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    This answer is basically incomprehensible. – user1258361 Jul 15 '19 at 14:04
  • @user1258361 so what exactly don't you understand? – konqui Jul 15 '19 at 14:07

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