Skip to main content

Apple needs to eject all the misleading junk on the Mac App Store, report says

Apple MacBook 13-inch Touch Pad
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
The app stores provided by Microsoft, Google, and Apple are meant to be safe havens for consumers seeking out software for their devices. All three companies have safeguards in place to keep the malicious junk off their online markets, but the systems aren’t 100 percent foolproof, and sneaky developers find a way to slip inside and cause a little ruckus. Even more, apps may not be malicious in nature, but listed in such a way as to scam unsuspecting customers out of their hard-earned cash.

Apple’s “walled” storefronts for iOS and MacOS are seemingly impervious to malicious hackers, but How-To Geek took a look at what scammers are doing on the latter Mac App Store platform. The site discovered that scammers are not only making money from misleading listings, but Apple is getting its portion, too. Microsoft Excel is a perfect example, as there are a number of listed products that are seemingly the real deal, but instead are add-ons that require Microsoft Excel already installed.

As an example, one listing the report highlights is the “Office Bundle” for $30, which pulls up when searching for “Microsoft Excel” and is described as “the easiest way to create high-quality Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations.” Following that description is a bullet list of general Microsoft Office features. The software is actually a template bundle, but its listing says nothing of the sort.

Adding to the problem is that Microsoft Office Suite isn’t offered on the Mac App Store, and many consumers are likely not aware of this. Armed with this knowledge, scammers are throwing up similar template bundles disguised as Microsoft applications. There are even listed apps that charge $20 or more for providing Microsoft’s free online version of Office into a dedicated browser, and paid Office editors with “Microsoft” in their names based on open-source software.

The problem doesn’t reside with just Office-related clones. This method is used across a wide variety of well-known brands. Search for Adobe’s popular InDesign publishing software and Mac users won’t find the actual tool, but bundles of tutorial videos with icons that closely resemble the official InDesign logo. Search for “Firefox” or “Chrome” and users will find suspicious software called “Fast Browser” for $1. The How-To Geek report even points to an uncanny amount of listed disk cleaners and memory cleaners Mac users simply don’t need.

Overall, the point of the report is that scammers are mimicking official branding and literature to lure in unknowing customers to make some cash. Many are not listing the true nature of their apps, and are locking down search terms and figuring out a way to come out on top in search results to get the unsuspecting end-user’s attention first. Thus, based on the report, the Mac App Store should be Apple’s next project once it has completed the huge task of purging the outdated and broken apps from its App Store for iOS devices.

Editors' Recommendations

Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then…
This app can double the brightness of your MacBook Pro
The Vivid app has a free split-screen mode that demonstrates double-brightness on half the screen of a 2021 MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro's screen brightness is a hardware control with a well-defined maximum setting, yet there is an app that can unlock tons of display intensity that would otherwise never be seen.

The Mac app is called Vivid and while it sounds too good to be true, it really works to double brightness system-wide. The way it can achieve this is by tricking MacOS into seeing everything as high dynamic range content.

Read more
M2 MacBook Air will hit stores on July 15, report says
MacBook Air with M2 chip seen over a purple background.

Apple’s new-look MacBook Air featuring the company’s latest M2 chip is set to go on sale on July 15, according to information obtained by MacRumors.

The report goes on to say that Apple’s updated laptop is expected to be available for pre-order on July 8, a week before it lands in stores.

Read more
Apple may not resurrect the 12-inch MacBook after all
MacBook Air with M2 chip seen over a purple background.

Only a few days have passed since the first rumor about an upcoming 12-inch MacBook emerged, but now, new signs point to it being untrue.

According to display analyst Ross Young, various companies in the MacBook Pro display supply chain are not aware of such a device being made right now. So what's really going on with the alleged 12-inch MacBook Pro?

Read more