Apple removes copycat Wordle apps from its App Store after confusion over how to access the popular word game

  • Wordle, a word puzzle game, is already one of the hottest internet crazes of the new year.

  • App developers have been copying Wordle and putting their clone apps in the App Store.

  • Apple recently took action against the dupes by removing them from the App Store.

A word puzzle game has already become one of the hottest internet trends of the year and now copycats want a piece of the fame.

Wordle, a web-based game where players have six tries to guess the five-letter word of the day, has gone viral on social media, where players have taken to sharing their mastery (or lack thereof) of the daily puzzle with the rest of the internet.

But because Wordle's popularity has skyrocketed since it launched in November 2021, dupes are trying to capitalize on its success, prompting Apple to take action against clone apps. The tech company has started removing programs from its App Store that directly copy the game or that are named similarly in an effort to mislead users, according to Bloomberg.

Unlike many other popular internet games, Wordle is only available on the game's website, and users do not need to download an app or create an account in order to play.

One of the few apps left with Wordle in its title is "Wordle!," a time-based game that was made over five years ago by Steven Cravotta, Bloomberg reported. Cravotta's app received about 40,000 downloads during the first week of January, a 850% increase from the week before, according to data Bloomberg received from the mobile data and analytics firm App Annie.

A direct iOS clone of Wordle was removed from the App Store on Thursday after the creator received backlash from Wordle fans online, Variety reported. Tech entrepreneur Zach Shakked created "Wordle — The App," which offered a similar game to the original with five, six, and seven-letter words and a "pro" mode with unlimited play for a $30 yearly subscription, according to Variety.

Shakked released an apology on Twitter on Wednesday.

"I realize I crossed a line." Shakked wrote. "And I surely, surely will never do anything remotely close to this again."

According to Apple's developer guidelines, creators are encouraged to "come up with your own ideas" and cannot "simply copy the latest popular app on the App Store, or make some minor changes to another app's name or UI and pass it off as your own."

Josh Wardle, a software engineer who lives in New York City, made Wordle. The game, a riff on his name, was created originally for his partner, Palak Shah, who likes word games, according to NPR.

Wardle previously created a hit Reddit April Fools' Day joke back in 2015 called "The Button," Insider reported. However, unlike "The Button," Wordle offers a different way for people to stay connected and share their strategies with others.

"They'll have a family chat group where they share their Wordle results with one another," Wardle said in an interview with NPR. "And especially during COVID, it being a way for people to connect with friends and family that they couldn't otherwise see, and it just provides this really easy way to touch base with others."

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