The Mac App Store is Full of Misleading Apps Built by Scammers: Report



The app stores provided by Apple, Google and Microsoft are supposed to be a safe place where consumers can purchase software for their devices. All these large companies have safeguards in place to keep malicious junk off their online markets, however, the systems are not 100 percent foolproof.

A report from How-To Geek took a look at what scammers are doing on the Mac App Store. The site discovered that scammers are not only making money from misleading listings, but Apple is also getting 30% of that revenue.

Microsoft Excel is a perfect example of an app scammers use to target consumers. There are a number of products on the Mac App Store that are seemingly real apps but are instead add-ons that require a legitimate copy of Mircosoft Excel to be installed.

As an example, the site shows one listing called Office Bundle, which pops up when searching for Excel and is priced at $30. The software is described as “the easiest way to create high-quality Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations.”

Following the app’s description is a list of generic Microsoft office features and a small message stating that the app has nothing to do with Microsoft. Microsoft’s Office Suite isn’t even available to purchase on the Mac App Store, making the situation even more confusing for consumers.

Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t stop at Microsoft Office-related clones. This method of scamming is used across a variety of well-known brands, including Adobe’s popular InDesign publishing software, Chrome, and Firefox.

The report even points to an absurd amount of listed disk cleaners and memory cleaners Mac users simply don’t need.

The overall point of the report is to shed some light on scammers that are mimicking official branding and product descriptions to lure in customers in order to make some cash. Based on the report, Apple’s next task after cleaning up the iOS App Store should be a cleanup of junk apps that are broken, outdated, and misrepresented on the Mac App Store.


  • NOHoldsBar

    Bwahaha the iPhone App Store as well. I contacted Apple to complain and I was instructed to contact the developer because ALL apps online go through an “Apple vetting system”. If Jobs was alive today…

  • I don’t know many people who even use the Mac App Store except for system updates. I think I myself use about 4-5 apps from the store and that’s it? I check back every 3-4 months, but nothing really changes.

    The iOS App Store is pretty bad too as NOHoldeBar already pointed out, however it’s not nearly as bad. I recall the times of 20+ flappy bird apps and 20+ mirror or fart apps which most are now gone.

  • mxmgodin

    The Mac App Store is one of the worst piece of software on the Mac. It’s so freaking slow (I don’t understand how it can be so slow, it’s basically just an embedded webpage), pages often fail to load properly, badge tells you updates are available, but updates don’t show up on the Update page, and so on…

    I have 3-4 great apps I got from the Mac App Store, but otherwise, I avoid it as much as possible.

  • MleB1

    iPhone App Store used to have a ‘Report This App’ button on each info page, but no more – while finding a contact to actually email a complaint to Apple about what the app they have allowed on the store in nigh-on impossible. And yes, they say ‘contact the developer’, rather than taking responsibility themselves for duff/misleading product on their Store.
    Mac App store I think I have used, maybe, a dozen times – and half of those I then deleted once tried. Minimal need of 3rd Party apps, but when I do, I ‘take a chance’ and get them directly from provider online, so not hobbled by Apple.