Popular applications from the Mac App Store were routinely downloading users’ web history, but Apple only took them down when security researchers went public.

Last week Adware Doctor was revealed to be grabbing users’ web history. Apple took that app down. Shortly after Thomas Reed, a longtime Mac security blogger who now works for Malwarebytes,, pointed out several more applications doing the same thing: Open Any Files, Dr. Antivirus and Dr. Cleaner. Malwarebytes reported Open Any Files to Apple in December of 2017, and nothing happened.

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Until Reed’s post, that is. As of today all three apps have been removed from the US App Store. Here’s Reed writing for Malwarebytes:

It’s blindingly obvious at this point that the Mac App Store is not the safe haven of reputable software that Apple wants it to be. I’ve been saying this for several years now, as we’ve been detecting junk software in the App Store for almost as long as I’ve been at Malwarebytes. This is not new information, but these issues reveal a depth to the problem that most people are unaware of.

We’ve reported software like this to Apple for years, via a variety of channels, and there is rarely any immediate effect. In some cases, we’ve seen offending apps removed quickly, although sometimes those same apps have come back quickly (as was the case with Adware Doctor). In other cases, it has taken as long as six months for a reported app to be removed.

Apparently the only way to get an app removed is to write a public blog post about the problem. That’s probably not a precedent Apple wants to set.

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Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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