‘Phoneys’ Sticker App is the #1 ‘Top Paid’ App on App Store, but Apple Might Nix It

paid iOS apps for free

Apple doesn’t take kindly to prank apps, as is evident in this recent incident with what is now the #1 Top Paid app on the iMessage App Store – Phoneys. The app allows users to paste stickers with funny messages on top of other people’s messages so it looks as if they said them.

Phoneys prank app for iMessage - screenshots

The app’s creator, Adam Howell, is now in trouble with Apple for mimicking the San Francisco font face they use on their messaging app, as well as using the same type of green and blue speech bubble.

Howell reportedly got a call from Apple saying that his app infringed on Apple’s trademarks around the use of the font type and colors of the bubbles. But they’re not removing the app right away; they’ve given Howell until Thursday next week to update the font and colors. If he does, they’ll probably leave it in there but if not, Phoneys could be off the shelf.

Although Apple says that it does not allow prank apps to be on the App Store, that’s not entirely true. Not if an app called “PrankDial” can make it through the review process that is supposed to enhance user experience on the App Store.

PrankDial prank calling app

The app has two “Pranks” and a “trick” in the title, so how did it get past app reviewers? One can only guess at it. The least they could have done is to check for other prank apps before calling out Phoneys, but it seems you only get noticed once you get to the top.

In fact, here’s another one, this time another paid app like Phoneys.


Again, the word “prank” appears in the title.

So what’s the big deal with the Phoneys app, then? In this case it’s hurting Apple, not just other users. Apple takes copyright infringement very seriously, so it’s surprising that such an app would actually get through the review process.

That’s the most likely explanation for why Apple jumped on Howell and not creators of the other prank apps. In fact, it was Apple’s lawyers who jumped on the app. Says Howell:

“Bill was nice, but to the point. Apple’s lawyers weren’t happy that Phoneys got through the review process. The stickers couldn’t be blue or green, they couldn’t use San Francisco as the typeface, and the app could no longer be marketed as a “prank” app, because Apple doesn’t approve prank apps (even though I myself had never used the word “prank” when marketing Phoneys, others did, and I certainly understood where he was coming from).”

As it stands, Howell has not yet decided what he wants to do. He merely ended his call with Apple’s executive with “Ok, thanks a lot Bill” and that was the end of it.

If Howell decides not to bend to Apple’s will, he risks losing any further revenue from this #1 paid app for iMessage. People who have purchased it will still have access to the app, of course, but they won’t see any further updates after the app is pulled from the store.

On the other hand, if he does concede, the app just won’t be the same any more. Who’d want a sticker that didn’t look authentic? As you can see it’s definitely a puzzler for Howell at the moment – take the money and run, or change the app and ruin the experience.

So what do you think Adam Howell will do? Put your thoughts in the comments section below this article.

For more articles on Apple, click/tap here: Category – Apple

Thanks for reading our work! If you’re reading this on Apple News, please favorite the 1RedDrop channel to add us to your news feed, or Like our page on Facebook. Please bookmark our site for more insightful articles on current and future technologies that are changing our lives.