Shady developers are turning Apple's app subscriptions into giant scams

Problem is, the way Apple's app subscriptions work, agreeing to a "free" trial can automatically opt you in to an auto-renewing subscription. It could foster various communities of virtual content producers like those in China.

Apple has modified its App Store policies and will now allow tipping for content publishers through in-app purchases, reports TechCrunch.

Analysts say that by making tipping an "in-app purchase", Apple is aiming to make more money out of Chinese users. To quantify it, Lin went to the App Store and looked at the Productivity category. It will be an alternative way to get the creators paid without the need for an ad revenue sharing scheme.

This means developers can add tipping features without worrying about getting kicked out of the app store, as long as they are willing to give Apple 30%.

The notion that something like this appears in the App Store - which Apple is supposed to keep close tabs on - is noting short of infuriating and inexcusable.

The app then, full of typing errors and vague language, offers up a "free trial" which users confirm via the iPhone's Touch ID fingerprint scanner. "These are the exact sort of apps that the App Store review process should be primarily looking to block", Gruber wrote on his Daring Fireball blog in response to Lin's research. Ads display a small blue icon signifying an advertisement, but otherwise, they're almost indistinguishable from search results.

It has now been removed from the US App Store (but is apparently still accessible in the Belize App Store) but since it was posted on 14 April, it is estimated by Mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower to have made around $80,000 a month. The app review prompts may seem to be a smaller issue but these are annoying things faced by smartphone and tablet users after every few days. Clicking the Account link on the front page of the Mac App Store will do the same. For many legitimate app developers, this is a cumbersome, time-consuming, and capricious process. Thousands of high-quality apps saturate the Apple iOS, and out of them, there are some which can charge you large amounts of money for nothing and you may have no clue about it. Once the user rates the app he will never see that again.

Aside from changing its developer policies, Apple could do a lot to improve the usability of in-app subscriptions. Apple Music and iCloud subscriptions, plus third party subscriptions on the App Store, exceeded 165 million.