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.