Under Apple’s rules, certain iOS programs are impossible to sell through iTunes. There aren’t any Apple-approved apps that allow you to alter iOS’ user interface, access the root filesystem, or allow you to control your iPhone directly from your PC. These are the reasons why I choose to jailbreak; so I can install whatever I want on my device. If Apple didn’t restrict us in the name of keeping their products simple enough for the lowest common denominator, we wouldn’t have a reason to jailbreak. That’s why my heart skipped a beat when I saw an app called “SBSettings [Cydia]” in the iTunes App Store.
Of course we couldn’t be this lucky. This version of “SBSettings” is a pay app by Hien Dang, unlike the real SBSettings which is credited to BigBoss and is available for free on his repository through the Cydia package manager (installed only on jailbroken devices). The app has 40 perfect reviews, all with generic comments like “Excellent app I use it all the time. Thanks”.
There is one one-star review that paints a different picture. It seems the app shows up as “SBAlarm clock” and functions like an alarm clock, instead of SBSettings as described in the description ripped from the real Cydia version of the app. It even uses screenshots of SBSettings running the fantastic Serious SBSettings HD theme. Considering “SBSettings” found its way through Apple’s certification process, maybe we shouldn’t worry about Google Maps making its way back into the app store.
Despite Apple’s attempt to protect their customers from strange apps and scams, scammers are exploiting Apple’s policies by tempting customers with the apps that users demand but Apple doesn’t allow. There wouldn’t have been a one star review if nobody was fooled… or if Apple allowed the real SBSettings tweak into iTunes.
While I was writing, the false app was pulled from the iTunes store, but we still have screenshots of the page as it was.
What do you think of fake “Cydia” apps showing up on iTunes? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.