Print 26 comment(s) - last by suzanne88.. on Jan 16 at 8:41 AM

Pirate app store closes down

If you're a user of Hackulous, an online community that allows iOS users access to cracked apps, you may have noticed that the community has unceremoniously closed its doors as of yesterday. An affiliated web partner index for cracked iPhone apps called Apptrackr has also been disabled. According the people who were operating the communities, lack of activity is the reason they were shut down.

“We are very sad to announce that Hackulous is shutting down,” the team said in a statement.

“After many years, our community has become stagnant and our forums are a bit of a ghost town. It has become difficult to keep them online and well-moderated, despite the devotion of our staff. We’re incredibly thankful for the support we’ve had over the years and hope that new, greater communities blossom out of our absence.”

TorrentFreak reports that it was able to contact a couple people who claim to be familiar with operations at the site who disagree with the statements offered as a reason for the shutdown. According to those two users, the site was healthy and had plenty of users.
The closing of the community also puts into question the viability of Installous, which is software that allowed the installation of cracked apps on Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Source: TorrentFreak

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RE: Is there a legitimate use...
By BillyBatson on 12/31/2012 2:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
So even if the app you are thinking about buying is 99 cents you're willing to buy it and be disappointed? I know many people just pirated apps through this but a legitimate reason for the service was to TRY OUT APPS BEFORE PURCHASING. You couldn't think of that as a legitimate use? For example I paid $.99 for a call blocking app that guess what? Doesn't at all block calls none of the blacklisting apps on the App Store block calls but I found that out the hard way. I've used hackulous to try out the Navigon navigation app which would have cost me $50 with no refunds if I wanted to try it through the App Store. I've tried out astronomy apps, games, and a few odd and apps that friends suggested or I saw in commercials. There wouldn't be a need for hackulous if apple would just let you try out an app before having to purchase but that isn't the case.
If you can't see that as a legitimate reason for the service to exist than you guys have issues.

RE: Is there a legitimate use...
By Brandon Hill on 12/31/2012 2:16:31 PM , Rating: 2
Ahhh, the old "Try before you buy" argument. Most apps/games have a free/light version. And Apple also allows for refunds if the app you downloaded is a bunch of hogwash.

I didn't receive this application
I inadvertently purchased this application
This application does not function as expected
This application is not compatible with my device
I have another purchase or download-relation question

And the BEST way to tell if an app is crap... READ the reviews. But some people are too lazy to even read reviews or see how many stars an app has.

So again, I still don't see that you have a leg to stand on...

RE: Is there a legitimate use...
By BillyBatson on 12/31/2012 2:28:51 PM , Rating: 2
How long has apple allowed these refunds if your app is "hogwash"? Not nearly as long as hackulous was in service. What if you want to actually TRY the app? What if it's an app you don't think you will like why would you pay for it then just to try and ask for your refund back? A few of the apps I have and lol I would never have paid for and didn't end up liking until after I tried it which I only did because it was free and I would never have downloaded if I had to pay .99 cents and then jump through hoops to get a refund. Also what if your reason for a download is simply "I didn't like the app" but it functioned as advertised and is compatible with my device then what? Eat the cost?
There are also MANY apps without a free or light version, then what?
What if the reviews are wrong? THEN WHAT?!?!? The call blacklisting app I downloaded had over 5k reviews, 4/5 stars, and the written reviews were great. So your OPINION of the "BEST" way to tell if an app is crap is well, crap itself.

I down have a leg to stand on? Sounds like you've been in a wheelchair all your life buddy.

RE: Is there a legitimate use...
By Nortel on 12/31/2012 3:03:17 PM , Rating: 1
Please continue with your agonizing story of buying software for 99 cents and it not living up to your standards. This reenactment made me feel like I was actually there beside you, reliving your experience as it unfolded. I had to stop, pull myself together and hug the children before continuing, it was just too much for one human to bare. I can't imagine what you must have gone through, I myself lost a nickel once but that doesn't hold a candle to 99 cents, Jesus Christ. I will pray for you and your family tonight.

RE: Is there a legitimate use...
By BillyBatson on 12/31/2012 3:44:30 PM , Rating: 2
I think you missed the entire point of it all but if you think it's all over just .99 cents go ahead but in the end you're still wasting your time writing out a pointless response in order to make yourself feel better. To enjoy the last day of 2012 I stead of pointlessly being patronizing for the wrong reasons here lol.

By maugrimtr on 1/3/2013 4:43:54 AM , Rating: 2
Your legitimate excuse is illegal incidentally. Pirating an app to "try it out first" is still pirating. So no, your excuse is not reasonable. If you gain the use of an app without paying for the privilege, when you're free to just not buy it at all and keep using it, you are just another pirate relying on the government's utter lack of will to enforce the law on software piracy.

RE: Is there a legitimate use...
By Brandon Hill on 12/31/2012 3:02:13 PM , Rating: 1
All I keep hearing is.


If all the reviews are wrong and the app is crap/doesn't function the way it's supposed to, you can get a refund. I don't see what the issue here is.

I've bought tons of apps at 99 cents. I'd say that MOST of them have lived up to expectations. The handful that don't, who gives a crap -- it's 99 cents. If I cared that much, I'd just fire off an email and get a refund.

You probably waste more in electricity, throwing away uneaten food, accelerating like a banshee from a stoplight in your car, etc. Bottom line, if you're so bent out of shape over 99 cents, then, well...

Now if it's a $50 app, I could understand being upset. But again, you can get a refund.

As for the "old version of an app" predicament, I have Time Machine on my laptop, and it has backed up by entire system going back about a year or so. If I need an old version of the app, I just simply head to my iTunes directory in Time Machine, select the app, and Restore it.

But to answer your question, before I go to purchase a new app/game, I typically:

1) Find text reviews for the app online (for games, I go to TouchArcade -- their forums are really good)
2) Go to YouTube and look at video reviews of the app/game (this is especially good for games because you can see actual gameplay footage and see how it operates).
3) Read the user reviews on iTunes; look at the star ratings

This has rarely steered me wrong when it comes to buying apps.

By BillyBatson on 12/31/2012 4:27:40 PM , Rating: 2
Excuses? Excuses for what? lol pirating apps? Maybe excuses for someone trying to pirate apps but I don't see what my excuse is? Now you're reaching out of your arse and pulling out anything you find.

All I keep hearing is.

closed mindedness
no intelligence

When I purchased the blacklisting app there were NO refunds and an email to apple only got me a "oh poor you, we will look into it" resonsee LOL with no refund sir.
"the handfull that don't who gives a crap" ? LOL what kind of logic is that? So you are condoning wasting money? Are you trying to say you are filthy rich to the point that money doesn't matter? I myself don't care about just a single dollar either but multiply that by dozens to hundreds of apps i might want to try in a year and it quickly ads up doesn't it? So you are saying I can only complain if an app cost me a "cosiderable" amount? so a $50 app all of a suddden matters but 50 $1 apps don't? And back to your refund thing, will apple give you a refund if you email them saying "I don't like the app give me my money back"? will they give you a refund if you email saying "hey the app I just downloaded is great and all but I found a better one I would like to have" nopes.... so you are telling me to go lie and tell them I accidentally downloaded the app.... and you want me to use that lie maybe several times a month for different apps I "try"?

ok so you are pointing out different ways people waste money lol so because I leave the tv on in my room when i step into the kitchen to get food that means it must be OK by me to waste even more money on apps? Again I am not made of money like you apparently are :) my oomplaint isn't over a dollar get that through your thick skull, i wouldn't be praising the use of a service just because it could have saved me $1 I am praising a useless service that actually helped save me HUNDREDS of dollars by allowing me for 3 years to try out apps before buying and guess what a lot of what i tried i didn't like and No there were no refunds available for years and there is still no way of TRYING out an app only buying it and hoping you get a redfund even if it takes you lying to apple about your reasoning.

Maybe you already know exactly what type of apps you need and maybe the specific app you want but I am not the same way and neither are MANY of other people especially those less tech savvy like my mom. Back to the $50 navigon gps app.... OK I can buy it and MAYBE ask for a refund today through the app store... but what if I don't know what gps app to get? there is navigon, tomtom, and many others and none of them are exactly cheap what do I do? Download the one with the most stars? Download the one my friend tells me to download? Or in the case of my mom download the very first app that comes up in the search. Or I could do what I did go on hackulous download the 5 highest rated gps apps figure out which one suits me the best and then go buy it off the app store (in my case the winner was navigon hands down). Now $1 doesn't matter to me but putting down a few hundred dollars to try out 5 apps in the hopes that apple will refund all but one of them is pretty ridicilous.

As for your "old version of an app" solution it doesn't apply to everyone and it doesn't apply to me. I don't own a computer therefor I do not have itunes or time machine. I strictly use my phone on it's own and with over the air updates and icloud for contact storage I never need itunes again. I also don't like the time machine feature as I like to back everything up manually on an external HDD that I keep in my safe. I am not also sure how much time machine can help you if apple removes an app off of your device? I had an app that played rap mixtapes that apple decided to not only remove from the app store but delete if off of my device while I was asleep. My Solution? I went on hackulous and downloaded a earlier version that apple never removed from my phone. What if I want an old version of an app that I never had to begin with for time machine to backup?

I understand your reasoning on how you research your apps and it is all really good advice to anyone. I have watched game demos on youtube as well which is definitely the best way to determine if you want a game without playing i, but the same does not always work for other types of apps. On itunes there are plenty of fake and planeted reviews which apple has gotten better at deleting but they are still out there. In the end I am the type of person who HAS to try every app, game, software, etc before I make a decision which the current app store scheme does not allow for. APP A might be 5/5 stars great reviews praise all over forums blah blah but I refuse to buy app A until I have tried app B as well.

I know hackulous was mainly used to pirate free apps, we all know that and if that were the reason for it going away we would all understand that too, but to say that there was no legitimate use for the service is absurd.

RE: Is there a legitimate use...
By BillyBatson on 12/31/2012 4:40:49 PM , Rating: 2
Brandon, in the end if the app store had a 1 day free trial on all apps would you still follow your app buying guideline? or would you just go ahead and do the 1 day trial? I guarantee the try before you buy route would be much more popular than the buy and hope for a refund route. Though both offered in tandem would give customers the best security in knowing you have a better idea of what you're paying for.

If I recall correctly weren't there articles and lots of complaining here on DT how the apple app store DIDN'T have a try before you buy as an option? Everyone was pretty upset. Hackulous isn't apple fixing that mistake but at least it helped people like me who desperately need the feature. Apple desperately needs a 1 day trial on apps and a way to download a new version of an existing installed app without overwriting the previous version in case we prefer it to the new version.

RE: Is there a legitimate use...
By Brandon Hill on 12/31/2012 4:48:43 PM , Rating: 2
I would still follow my app buying guideline. I like to keep a "neat" app organizational system on my phone and I just don't go buying apps left and right. I don't even download a bunch of free/Lite apps unless I read the reviews beforehand.

I'm not going to waste my time with junk; I want to make sure I'm putting quality software on my device no matter if it's free or not.

If I read reviews from multiple sources and the app is good, and it's something I actually NEED: I download it for free or pay for it.
If it's the opposite, well, I don't bother downloading it.

My only two impulse buys in recent memory have been Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. I probably would have bought those two regardless of what the reviews were. And luckily, both have been awesome. I beat GTA III on my phone months ago and am currently murdering my way through Vice City.

RE: Is there a legitimate use...
By BillyBatson on 12/31/2012 5:17:02 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see how trying an app for a day and deleting it if you don't like it not "neat". No one is saying download every app for a day just because you can and no one is saying you are forced to keep the app trial whether you buy or not. You're pretty much saying that if you install an app it is only because you know you aren't going to uninstall it? Very strange way of looking at apps.
There are free apps that I have downloaded and deleted within minutes because I knew it wasn't for me without reading any reviews it's faster to try certain things out rather than read about them for forever. Also buy reading reviews and watching videos you can't always tell which software is best for you you can make a very educated decision but unless you try both you won't always know for sure.
I myself don't have many apps outside of the stock ones that ship with ios6 I like to keep my apps to 2-3 pages max and don't like placing my apps in folders. When I download an app it is usually because I am looking for a certain functionality but that being said sometimes I just don't know what is out there in order to want/need it so I browse the store and when sometimes seems interesting I would like to just try it rather than learn about it. Same goes for my mom who doesn't know how to research an app but I promise you would buy a LOT more apps if she could try it for a day first and wouldn't be regretting wasting her money on other apps which she has no knoweledge on how to request a refund even if she has a legitimate reason.

You can do your research while everyone else scrambles for the 1 day trial and almost stop caring about the pointles star rating system. Afterall don't most DT's consider us apple device owners as less intelligent do whatever we are told go with the simplist route people? App trial is much simplier than requesting refunds.

By Brandon Hill on 12/31/2012 5:34:03 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not discounting the fact that trials would work for many people. You asked if I personally would stick to my method and I would.

I'm pretty much in the mature phase of app procurement. I have just about all of the utilities that I need and I use web for most things. The only things I really buy or download anymore are games which sometimes are 500MB, 1GB or greater. Being that I only have a few gigs of free space left, I'm very selective of what I download.

RE: Is there a legitimate use...
By Rukkian on 1/2/2013 10:17:35 AM , Rating: 2
While a 1-day return would be good for consumers, it would mean that (at least for games) most people would download the game, beat it in a day, then request their money back.

For some utilities it may be good, but I see too much abuse to make it worth while.

In the end if you don't want to pay for an app, then don't use it. Pirates always try to find ways to justify stealing (even if it is not the same as physically stealing something), however if everybody did that, there would be no more good software because the money would not be there.

In google play, there has always been a 15min return, no questions asked. I have used it a couple of times, and feel that is a good comprimise.

By chripuck on 1/2/2013 11:50:53 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree, and as a software developer and 5 year iPhone owner, I find Apple's system ridiculous. I've used Installous and Hackulous before and deleted many apps. Apple's iMovie? It's not worth taking up space on my phone, much less paying $5 for it no matter the glowing the reviews are. Plague Inc? Bought it 2 hours after downloading it from Hackulous. Splashtop? Same.

There are many, many apps that have no lite version and the reviews/descriptions are so sparse on actual relevant information other than "it's great!" that they are largely useless (outside of weeding out the obvious non-functional apps.)

Call me dishonest, proclaim loudly from your soapbox that I'm "just making excuses." But as an IT consultant/software developer making six figures, I refuse to pay someone a single penny for producing something of little value to me.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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