Apple’s App Store is Riddled With Popular Piracy Brands (Update)

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Apple is relatively good at banning piracy-related software from its App Store. Now and then, a pirate app may slip through the cracks, as happened this week. These are typically dealt with right away, but not always. Just as intriguing is the fact that the App Store is riddled with apps that use pirate brands, presumably to attract users.

Apple is known to have a rigorous app-review policy that aims to keep piracy at bay. In the past, several BitTorrent apps have been rejected from the App Store, for example.

Despite these efforts, problematic apps slip through the cracks occasionally. We’ve seen piracy apps disguised as other tools getting approval and a recent report from The Verge shows that this trick still works today.

Apple was swift to patch this recent leak after it hit the newswire. The company booted the ‘vision testing’ app “Kimi” from the iOS store, disappointing many pirates in the process.

Apple’s App Store Isn’t Piracy Free Yet

Those determined to find a Kimi alternative still don’t have to look far. In less than a minute, we were able to spot another pirate streaming app that’s not concealed at all. The app in question uses popular piracy brands such as “Gomovies” and “123movies” in its name, and lives up to expectations.

Users who manage to crawl through a web of advertisements eventually have access to a wide range of popular movies and TV-shows. This includes blockbuster movies, Disney shows, and Apple exclusives such as the hit series Silo, shown in action below.

Pirate iOS App streaming Silo

silo pirate

Apparently, Apple still has some work to do on the screening front. This includes fixing the link on its website through which people can report software piracy, as that currently goes to a 404-error page.

The app we found has been around since May last year and has more than 1,600 reviews. We don’t know whether it always functioned as a pirate tool and Apple didn’t immediately return our request for comment.

Apple generally has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to piracy. The company wants complete control over all installed apps and it previously noted that the ban on sideloading helps to prevent piracy as well. It’s clearly not perfect, however.

Piracy Brands (Legally) in Apple’s App Store

Our search also revealed that not all piracy ‘associations’ are off-limits at Apple. In fact, one could argue that piracy-related terms are actively used to promote some non-pirate apps in the official iOS store. Whether all users are happy with that is questionable.

Let’s look at a few examples, searching the app store for well-known piracy brands such as 123movies, Fmovies, Cuevana, and ShowBox. All these terms return apps that offer access to a large library of movies and TV-shows, much like their pirate counterparts.

Fmovies Results (doesn’t include the ‘piracy’ app)


These brands and logos may look exciting to prospective pirates, but those who install the apps will soon realize that entertainment is limited to trailers. The lucky ones may get links to legal streaming platforms as well.

No pirated movies here either

silo pirate

In some cases, the apps allow users to keep track of what they’ve watched, which can be useful. However, most are riddled with ads. As such, it doesn’t take a genius to find out why their names, and in some cases logos, are similar to pirate streaming brands.

Unlike the real piracy apps, many of these ‘mockoffs’ have been in the App Store for years. That makes sense, of course, as they are not breaking the law. That said, it can lead to disappointing reviews.


Apple doesn’t seem to mind, or perhaps it isn’t privy to the problem. We assume that some anti-piracy groups are aware of these apps, but they should be fine with it. After all, it’s a great way to frustrate and annoy pirates.

Needless to say, real pirate streaming apps are a completely different thing…

Update February 15: The pirated app we spotted earlier is no longer available. Apple informs TorrentFreak that it was initially submitted as a movie trailer platform. After the initial approval, the app added pirated content. This is in violation of the App Store guidelines. Another app that used a similar tactic was removed as well.


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