Exclusive: Apple Screws Up In The App Store; Paid Apps Are Now Appearing Under The Free Apps Section

Of all the standard apps that comes on an iPhone or iPad, the most problematic is unarguably the App Store. For years now, the App Store – the single app store that set the template and blueprint for the multitude of app stores that came in the coming years – was marred with problems for both developers and users.

Developers hated the star ratings, the App Store’s ambiguous Terms of Service and how Apple promoted some apps prominently, but not other equally great ones.

Users, however, are confronted with a different set of problems. Some apps, even those with a religious and relatively large following, had problems being discovered and for the most part, the search function in the app store is, quite simply, broken – the results served often did not match what the users were looking for.

Those problems, however, didn’t really do anyone harm – they were just inconvenient. Which means that Apple can take as long as they want before fixing them. But recently, another set of bugs popped up in the app store – one that could potentially be dangerous.

Paid apps are now appearing in the “Free” section of the App Store.

After several readers tipped The Michael Report to the existence of this bug, we set out to see if this was a couple of coincidental, isolated incidences or if they were widespread and across the board. Unfortunately, after we did a short investigation, the answer leans towards the latter.

The problem seems to be apparent across many different App Stores (from the United States to countries like Singapore) and affects apps at a range of different price points (from $1.99 to $9.99).

There’s no telling on how difficult it would be to fix this bug or how long it’ll take Apple to do so, although we hope it would be sooner rather than later, especially since this could potentially be dangerous for the users.

Here are a couple of examples:

From the U.S. iPhone App Store –

Apple App Store Screw Up
Picture via @MGSeigler

It should be noted that Mr. Crab and Apple’s suite of iWork apps seems to be the biggest victim (or beneficiary…) of this latest bug. Mr. Crab was also part of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway, which may or may not have got to do with this bug, since the iWork apps are having the same problem and they weren’t part of the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway. This bug, all told, is bizarre.

From the U.S. iPad App Store –

Apple App Store Screw Up
Picture via @asmith1106

From the Singapore iPhone App Store –

Apple App Store Screw Up

Apple App Store Screw Up

From the U.K. iPhone App Store –

Apple App Store Screw Up
Picture via @BenjaminZAMayo

We have contacted Apple’s PR spokesperson for a comment and have not heard back – we’ll update this post if we hear anything back.