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Users are Forced to Pay for Subscriptions via Shady Mac Programs

According to a Study by ‘The Verge,’ some dodgy Mac programs are duping users into paying money.

The Washington Post estimated in 2021 that approximately 2% of the 1,000 highest-grossing apps in the Apple App Store were scams. It turns out that dodgy developers can also be found in the Mac App Store. According to The Verge, a developer named Kosta Eleftheriou has exposed certain dubious Mac App Store programs that use pop-ups that make it difficult to exit until you pay their monthly fees. Eleftheriou had previously discovered a number of iOS fraud apps that had passed Apple’s review process.

After a Twitter user named Edoardo Vacchi complained about an app called My Metronome that limits the Quit button until you pay for a subscription, the developer began looking into the problem. (On iOS 15, Apple made it easy to report fraudulent apps, but Vacchi said there was no method to report My Metronome on the Mac.) Eleftheriou validated Vacchi’s assertion and directed The Verge to other apps that behaved similarly. Jeff Johnson, a Mac and iOS developer, did some investigation and discovered that the company behind My Metronome, Music Paradise LLC, is registered in Russia at the same location as another company called Groove Vibes.

While some of the Music Paradise and Groove Vibes apps provided proper means to stop, others removed the quit option and Mac’s force quit keys, according to The Verge. It is still possible to exit the programs without paying, but the links to shut their pop-ups appear to have been purposefully hidden.

The App Store is subjected to a rigorous screening process, which Apple takes pleasure in. Last year, Tim Cook warned during an Epic trial that without it, the shop would be a “toxic mess.” Despite the tech giant’s efforts, shady and fraudulent apps continue to make their way through, and it may even profit from them.

The Post reported in 2021 that the scam apps it discovered duped customers of an estimated $48 million, including Apple’s commission. When we investigated, the My Metronome app was no longer available, although it’s unclear whether Apple took it down. We reached out to the tech behemoth for comment and will update this page if we receive a response.

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