Professional App Store critic Kosta Eleftheriou discovered an iOS app that refuses to open unless you give it a 3 to 5 star review first. The app utilizes iOS’s built-in rating prompt and, despite its up-front scammy nature, managed to slip past Apple’s approval process.
Now removed from the App Store, the UPNP Xtreme claims that it can stream content from your phone to a TV using UPNP and DLNA protocol. But upon opening the app, users are immediately greeted by the iOS system rating prompt. Trying to close the prompt does nothing, and it only responds when you press the 3-star, 4-star, or 5-star icons.
The review: “This app forced me to give it a good rating before I could use it.”
You: “Pfff, no one’s FORCING you!”
The app: 🤯 pic.twitter.com/R6ytFAguhU
— Kosta Eleftheriou (@keleftheriou) May 25, 2021
Kosta Eleftheriou says that it’s easy for developers to manipulate the iOS rating prompt to perform this kind of behavior. The fact that Apple doesn’t automatically check for this kind of manipulation in its approval processor is troubling. What’s worse is that anyone who opens the app can immediately notice the issue—did Apple even test UPNP Xtreme?