Apple Doesn’t Care About Apps that Violate the Company’s Rules [Updated]

I own a Netatmo weather station, which I use to monitor the temperature in my garden, and in my office. This weather station uses an iOS app, which can send me notifications, such as when the temperature goes above or below certain thresholds that I set.

On black Friday, I received this notification:

Netatmo

This sort of notification is against Apple’s App Store guidelines; in section 4.5.4, about push notifications, these guidelines say:

4.5.4 Push Notifications must not be required for the app to function, and should not be used for advertising, promotions, or direct marketing purposes or to send sensitive personal or confidential information. Abuse of these services may result in revocation of your privileges.

So I contacted Apple’s iTunes Store support. Here’s what they replied:

Hi Kirk,

Thanks for contacting us. I can certainly understand your concern regarding this issue.

In this case, I would recommend you to contact the app developer as they are the creators if [sic] the app.

I would also like to inform you that, iTunes Store is just a store front where we sell the contents provided by the content provider.

It seems like Apple doesn’t care what an app does; you can probably report any type of violation and they won’t do anything about it. This is quite surprising, given their stringent guidelines for apps. But, hey, too much work, I guess.

Update: I replied to that reply, saying:

So you’re saying that an app that violates your App Store Guidelines won’t have any problem because you don’t care about it?

And I received a reply back:

Thank you for providing this information about an app that may be violating the review guidelines. We take these cases very seriously as we care about our customers and App Store. We have escalated the information you have provided to our App Review team. They will investigate the app using the information you have provided and follow up directly with the developer if the app is in violation to fix the issue. Please understand that we cannot provide you any updates on the investigation as we can only communicate with the developer of the app.

We thank you for the information and if you can provide anymore information to help with the investigation it will be appreciated greatly.

So it seems the first-level support doesn’t care, and that you need to be more forceful to get some action. This said, there is no easy way to report this sort of thing; you have to go to the app’s page and report a problem; and, of course, you can only do this on iOS since there is no longer an App Store in iTunes. I’ll post more info here if I hear anything back.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 58: New Security Features in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave

We take a close look at the great new security features in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave. We also answer a few reader questions, about the Activity Monitor app, about when to upgrade hardware, and whether “free” media sites are safe.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Why Your Startup Should Use Two-Factor Authentication (And How to Enable it)

For just about any kind of business, one of your most valuable assets is your data. Whether you manufacture physical goods or sell digital content, the data about your company is crucial to your survival.

From emails to accounting data, from business plans to blueprints, your digital data is the oil that keeps your gears spinning smoothly. If you lose that data to hackers, or if your data gets held captive by ransomware, your business will be at risk.

High-profile cases abound, from celebrities whose photos are stolen and shared on line to political candidates whose emails are pilfered. And if someone gets into some of your accounts – such as your website or social media accounts – they can damage your company’s reputation. While there is no 100 percent foolproof way to protect your data, the one thing you need to do is use two-factor authentication to protect your accounts.

Read the rest of the article on The Startup Finance Blog.

Break up Facebook (and while we’re at it, Google, Apple and Amazon) – The Guardian

It is time to use antitrust again. We should break up the hi-tech behemoths, or at least require they make their proprietary technology and data publicly available and share their platforms with smaller competitors.

Robert Reich is right; there are companies that have far too much influence, and they need to be broken up. Google and Facebook are dangerous for democracy, and dominate online advertising, and Amazon is dangerous for retail.

Facebook and Google dominate advertising. They’re the first stops for many Americans seeking news. Apple dominates smartphones and laptop computers. Amazon is now the first stop for a third of all American consumers seeking to buy anything.

However, Mr. Reich is wrong; Apple does not dominate smartphones and laptops, at least not in the entire world. They are first in the US, but with around 40%; that’s not anti-trust level domination. Worldwide, however, Apple’s market share is around 12%, and Samsung is in the lead at around 20%. Apple does dominate the high end of the smartphone sector though.

As much as I use Amazon for practicality – I live in a rural area near a town of around 25,000 people, so local shopping opportunities are limited – I do understand that they are killing off retail.

In the second Gilded Age as in the first, giant firms at the center of the American economy are distorting the market and our politics.

We must resurrect antitrust.

Yep.

It’s worth noting that Tim Cook recently said in an interview that regulation of these firms will be necessary; he knows it is coming, and is planning for it, whereas Facebook and Google are just playing coy and fighting it. Apple will come out well with this approach.

Source: Break up Facebook (and while we’re at it, Google, Apple and Amazon) | Opinion | The Guardian

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 57: The Advantages of Using a VPN, with CyberGhost

We’ve often stressed how important it is to use a VPN. Today we welcome Andra Zaharia from Intego’s partner company CyberGhost to discuss why we all need a VPN at times.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

How Apple Is Changing from a Hardware Company to a Services and Media Company

The iPhone has been Apple’s biggest product for many years now, and Apple has leveraged it to become the first trillion-dollar company. But things are starting to change. In Apple’s recent earnings call, the company said that it would no longer break out unit sales of the iPhone or its other products. As CFO Luca Maestri said, “a unit of sale is less relevant for us today than it was in the past given the breadth of our portfolio.” This change comes as Apple’s iPhone sales have been essentially flat for the past two years – they peaked in the holiday quarter of 2016 – signaling the first time that the company is facing up to the slowing growth in the smartphone market.

Maestri isn’t wrong; as Apple increases the average selling price of their device, unit sales are less important, and they don’t want to highlight the fact that they’re not growing any more. But there’s a lot more to it than just the iPhone.

Read the rest of the article on the Mac Security Blog.