Apple explains the new App Reviews API for developers

With the release of macOS Sierra and iOS betas on Tuesday, Apple also released a new tool for developers, allowing them to respond to reviews on the Mac and iOS App Stores. But the API goes deeper than just giving developers a process to respond to reviews, it also makes it easier for customers to leave reviews, Apple told me this morning when we talked about the new feature.

There is no doubt that developers want feedback on their apps. Positive feedback could lead to more downloads and purchases of the app. However, the process for leaving a review was a bit clunky. Often times you would get a pop-up notice in the app asking for a rating or review—if you decided to do it, you were taken out of the app and into the App Store.

That’s been fixed now.

When you are prompted to leave a review, customers will stay inside the app, where the rating or review can be left for the developer. It’s easier for customers and the developers still get their reviews.

Apple is also limiting the amount of times developers can ask customers for reviews. Developers will only be able to bring up the review dialog three times a year. If a customer has rated the app, they will not be prompted again. If a customer has dismissed the review prompt three times, they will not be asked to review the app for another year.

Customers will also have a master switch that will turn off the notifications for app reviews from all developers, if they wish to do that.

On iOS you can now use 3D Touch to label a review as “Helpful”, a feature that wasn’t available before for iOS users.

These new features will be available for the Mac and iOS App Store users when the updates are released to the public.

This is very exciting news from Apple and shows they are listening to developers and customers. While we want to leave reviews, Apple needed to reduce the friction and make it easier for customers, but still give developers what they want. Apple did a great job with this.

  • Evgeny Cherpak

    Not until they fix how ratings are presented, update for app hides the rating – running average can fix that. Without it people won’t update apps as frequently as they do right now.

    • doesn’t ios update apps automatically for most people?

      • I think Evgeny might be referring to new updates reseting the app’s rating in the App Store.

        It’s brutal. Might not have that much of an impact in the US, but with 1/10th the population it can really hurt apps in Canada.

        • Susannah Skyer Gupta

          It also hurts in small markets in the US store, like educational apps.

          • I live in Canada and work on educational apps, so I’m twice cursed.

          • Susannah Skyer Gupta

            You know, as someone living in the US and not at peace with our current national “leadership,” it’s not looking cursed across the border at all! 😀

          • Indeed, this is a rare moment for us Canadians.

            There’s a comedy song with the line “We won’t say that we’re better, it’s just that we’re less worse.”

            It’s not often Americans agree. 🙂

      • Evgeny Cherpak

        I meant developers

  • The real problem is the amount of fake reviews now. Some apps in top ranking positions are displaying blatant fake reviews and Apple were supposed to be screening and warning those in question. Tough to police but it’s causing a lot of issues with real quality apps getting decent rank.

  • Susannah Skyer Gupta

    Great piece, much appreciated. So, is the idea that we now eliminate our existing review prompts and just use SKStoreReviewController? What if we keep the existing prompts in there too?

    • Solublepeter

      The pop-up rating requests, yes, as this replaces them.

      You can still have a button somewhere in the app to allow the user to rate the app.

  • rose gilbert

    The feedback is very important to know about your app and this is done by those users who give you feedback as review & rate your app according your app uses. You can read more about guidelines :