A sneaky piracy app is trending in Apple’s App Store


There’s a vision testing app called Kimi sitting at number eight in the Apple iOS App Store’s trending list of free entertainment apps right now (and number 46 overall for free apps!). But it’s not an app for testing your eyesight, at least not unless you consider watching pirated movies on your smartphone a form of vision testing, which, I suppose you could?

I called Kimi sneaky in the headline, and it is insofar as if you glanced at it, you’d probably dismiss it immediately because it looks so very scammy and it’s actually not the vision testing app it claims to be. But it’s also simultaneously astoundingly blatant. There’s a half-assed description (beneath the quarter-assed screenshots) that says it’s “an interesting APP that tests your eyesight,” but also, the top reviews currently say things like, “I downloaded this app to watch frozen II” and “It’s basically like Netflix!”

And when you open it for the first time? Well, here. Let me show you:

Here’s what you see when you open the Kimi app.
Screenshot: Wes Davis / The Verge

That’s it. You open it, and there are just movies and TV shows right there for you to watch. There’s no splash screen and no trick to unlock the real app. It wasn’t hidden at all under a thin veneer of legitimacy.

The app is reminiscent of Popcorn Time, which hit Apple’s App Store years ago and let users stream movies from torrents. It’s not totally clear if that’s what’s happening here, too, but hosting all of this content would be pricey.

Not that we’re reviewing the app, but it’s honestly kind of decent? There are some nice, easy filtering options when you tap the Search tab, and there’s even a Ranking tab that shows you things like what people are watching the most or what’s new.

Here’s a very bad cam of Poor Things.
Screenshot: David Pierce / The Verge

You can download movies, and most seem to be at least good enough quality for casual viewing on a smartphone. (There are definitely bad cams, though.) But there’s no effort to couch this in some sort of love of film with cast details or trivia. It’s all designed to get you to the movies you want ASAP, regardless of legality.



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