Court rejects push to keep Apple from hiding app store info

Thanks to a class-action lawsuit claiming Apple isn’t disclosing key information about how the App Store works, Apple can continue to delay giving app developers more information about how some of their game purchases work, a federal appeals court ruled.

The ruling may allow Apple to prevent some people from getting more information about how their app purchases work.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday rejected a bid from several iPhone owners to intervene in a class-action lawsuit over the issue.

According to the iPhone owners, Apple didn’t disclose that in-app purchases, which are used to unlock a mobile app for more in-game purchases, make some games “game over.” Sometimes, that means people are out of $1,200 and out of luck.

They allege Apple should give them more information about how those in-app purchases work, which would let them take control of those purchases and stop them.

Some of the plaintiffs’ personal information, such as their credit card numbers, are associated with their in-app purchases.

The 9th Circuit ruled that a suit would be too difficult to pursue because Apple controls the software and would have to change the way the App Store works to allow apps to operate differently.

The lower court judge overseeing the case dismissed the case, but the appellate court ruled to allow the plaintiffs to intervene in the case to remedy the defects. The plaintiffs asked to be deemed class-action members, and were given that status on Monday.

“Apple has not offered any evidence to contradict the plaintiffs’ factual statements, so we deny their certification as a class member,” US Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in a decision that was published on Monday.

A spokesperson for Apple said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

According to the plaintiffs, most customers give up about 30% of their bill to developers through in-app purchases, which some argued makes that money subject to refund policies if it isn’t used correctly.

In a bid to stop the plaintiffs, Apple argued the case would “likely result in extensive and costly litigation,” according to the appeals court.

“The possible changes would raise substantial privacy concerns, erode the App Store’s reputation as a secure platform, and disrupt Apple’s App Store business model,” Reinhardt wrote.

This isn’t the first time Apple has faced backlash over app store privacy. In 2015, Apple settled an FTC investigation after it was accused of “minimizing” transparency around in-app purchases. A similar lawsuit settled out of court last year.

And, last week, Apple’s iOS 12 software update was criticized for the way it handles iPhone jailbreak phones.

In a Reddit thread that was, at times, divided on whether to trust Apple, some users have said the update reduced the ability of certain jailbreak apps. App updates often lose certain functions.

The post originally appeared on CNN Business.

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