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iOS and MacOS Developers Can Now Respond to Reviews (developer.apple.com)
440 points by keehun on Jan 24, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 213 comments



As a small indie dev (dealing with hundreds or thousands, not hundreds of thousands of customers), the best way I've found to encourage reviews is to prominently display my email address for any questions or ideas.

Then, when customers write (many of them do), I write back a nice response and then add:

P.S. If you enjoy Mindscope, would you take a minute to write a short review? It would mean a lot and helps give Mindscope visibility on the App Store.


I've done a similar thing, but getting people to review is like pulling teeth.

We've tried plenty ways to make this happen:

1. append a footer in the email asking for a review Finding: People ignore it.

2. include custom copy in the emails asking for a review People say yes yes, and then most do nothing.

3. The annoying rate us with stars popup and redirect to appstore. People rate 5 stars inapp, and then close down the AppStore before they apply a rating

Getting reviews is hard for b2c - but the real issue at work is the amount of friction AppStore imposes. I've tried to leave reviews and it asks me to re-sign in to the AppStore, minimum character requirements (can't just leave 5 stars).


>3. The annoying rate us with stars popup and redirect to appstore. People rate 5 stars inapp, and then close down the AppStore before they apply a rating

Every now and again I click through on that to leave a shitty review as a disincentive to a) annoy me with a dumb pop up every time I use the app and b) dark pattern it such that I only get sent to the app store if I give you a positive review.

I get to the review page and have to sign in/up/whatever and I can't be bothered, even with all that spite motivating me. I sure as heck am not going to as a way of being nice about a product especially when I know reviews have such a short half life to an even slightly actively updated app.


I think you may be an outlier - people mostly just rate 5 stars and then don't follow through. It's contextual for us to a degree. Our (free) app in effect gives people money and at the end of that transaction if they've not yet rated we ask them to rate. None-the-less it's a terribly small inApp-AppStore rating conversion.


I think you missed my point.

Basically I have never written an app store review - and I think that means the first one is a hassle. I suspect most people are in the same boat and when faced with a form to fill in before you can do a quick review will move on to something they care about more.

I just wanted to suggest that despite a relatively strong motivator - I don't complete. So my motivation may be an outlier but I suspect my experience of "eh, can't be bothered" is less so.


Ah, seen. Yes I misunderstood. So despite feeling the strong sense of annoyance, you're still not motivated enough to overcome the AppStore friction.


I'm not sure about newer phones, but with iPhone 4S it took so much time to load appstore, that I'm usually giving up. AppStore is very slow application, it feels like bad website on 2G connection and I don't understand that.


I have the same problem with an iPhone 6. Over 4G or wifi on a 100Mbps connection searching the app store takes 30-60 seconds, leaving a review is probably a 5 minute afair to navigate to page.

Generally I now get the iTunes url on my PC, send it to my phone and open it in safari so it opens the app store. It's actually faster that way.


Not to mention its habit of making you reauthenticate repeatedly if your internet connection is less than perfect. It feels like every time you drop a packet Apple decides your session might be fraudulent.


I guess app store is made of webview or some ui framework dynamically updated with xml/html. That might be one of the reasons it loads so slow and can be updated remotely.


I can't decide if you're trolling people or you don't realize how amazingly atypical your situation is. a) really old phone b) 2G connection. Yes everything is slow for you, and yes, that sucks, but the iPhone world (and phone networks) has largely moved on from that point. Asking for that stuff to be fast is like asking for major web sites to perform well on dialup. even if it _should_ happen, it isn't going to, and that's just the current state of the world. Dev's don't think about the old devices or the slow connections, and their employers don't care.


Poster said "it feels like bad website on 2G connection".


also you cant sign in into AppStore with touch id. you have to enter your password. this is ridiculous considering i can pay only with my finger, but i can't rate.


are you sure? Because I just installed an app using my Touch ID. Perhaps you want to dig through the settings?


Nope, Apple has weird permissions for it - I haven't reviewed an app for a while but remember needing my password to log in to do so, even though my fingerprint lets me buy apps.


I've been most successful in getting reviews and feedback only when triggering a cta at the appropriate time and to the appropriate user. For example, figure out what a valued user means to your b2c product, is it someone who has done x over a specific period of times or logins.

Once you determine that, try showing those users a modal that says something like, are you enjoying "my product", with yes and no answers. If no, ask if they would like to provide feedback so you can make their experience better. If yes, ask if they could rate your app.

I've found that by using this method you, a) show the cta to users that matter, b) get feedback from frustrated users, and c) get positive ratings from people who have expressed a positive intent.

GL


There's an app in the Mac App Store called Disk Doctor which has a huge number of reviews. It cleans your hard disk and presents and nice dialog summarising how much space has been freed. At exactly this moment, it asks if you would like to write a review.


Don't you have to be logged in to the app store to review? I think many children (and some adults surely can't be arsed to log in, too) are logged out by default.


It seems Apple logs me out after a period of time (weeks) no matter how much activity they see - it's quite annoying.

I often need to re-authenticate to download a new app (irrespective of cost). I always need to re-authenticate to leave a review.


Game reviews are hard because people are playing and are usually annoyed, not as annoying as push notifications but both need to be use sparingly.

I find that when we place an ask for review button after there is a reward, bonus or after something fun, they perform better. As an example, after you play a level and possibly have a reward screen on the result, you do a random/progression based bonus per level or some sort of prize chest/box etc.

Popping review dialogs or buttons to ask for reviews after giving them something is a good way to make them not so angry it is there, you can't do after they rate as a reward as that is gaming the system but before you can butter up their perception. You can game it a bit, give them something then ask.

Timing the ask is key, you don't want to do that randomly as it may be after someone just had a bad level.


Some people here would probably call that a "dark pattern" (I of course don't). Because, you know, it's soliciting for positive reviews from a preselected set of users.


Yeah. I wish Apple implemented that star-before-redirection thing and captured the rating. Then if you liked the app, your fake 5 star review would help them without having to actually write a review, AND you'd be getting honest feedback from everyone, not just a filtered subset.

I don't know why people write AppStore reviews though. If I like an app, I'll go on my computer and tell people via social networking. Typing out a credible-sounding review on my phone sounds like work, not fun.


That's actually coming with this update too. It looks like this [1]

> Using the SKStoreReviewController API, you can ask users to rate or review your app while they're using it, without sending them to the App Store.

[1]: https://twitter.com/iCalvin/status/823977790382993409/photo/...


As far as I've seen, happy user have little incentive to go and leave a good review. But the users who have had some annoyances with the app are definitely going to take it to the reviews. This leaves you with negatively biased reviews a lot of the time.


Not a dark pattern at all. There are no interface tricks


Yeah - however, the whole "do you like our app? yes/no" thing, where yes takes you to the store for review and no takes you to a feedback form (that probably doesn't even post)? Definitely a dark pattern.


The advantage of a feedback form is that the developer can come back to you with suggestions, ask you for details to reproduce a bug, etc. If you just go to the App Store and leave a (negative) review, there is no way for the developer to contact you. Hence the dialog/feedback form pattern. Allowing developers to respond to reviews on the App Store will help with this problem.


but what if I dont want to give any feedback at all? When I am using an app, I only want to use the app, not rate it, and not giving feedback.


I'd wager it probably won't help at all. Developers have been able to reply to reviews on the play store since 2013 - yet applications are still rife with this kinda shit, and not just the older ones that haven't been updated since.


As an indie developer that has a lot invested in the App Store - this is really, really, great. It doesn't matter how much effort you put into making an app that is polished, well thought out, and one of the best out there - there will always be reviews like 'App gets stuck downloading' or 'App doesn't support x' (when x is clearly stated as being a paid addition). The ability to respond to reviews should more clearly separate 'quality' apps for anyone that takes reviews and ratings into consideration before downloading.


I hear you. I've had those experiences. I put in minimal usage analytics on my backend, and the users that are the harshest with reviews are my biggest users. It's all worthwhile when you get the occasional email from someone that your app has helped them immensely with a task.

I make utility apps for some side income and one of the strangest reviews I received was a 1 star -- "cannot beat level 6. Paywall. Deleted."

The moron somehow reviewed the wrong app, from some game. Apple however is pretty good at responding to review removal requests.


Happens with me all the time


It's a start but it doesn't fix the underlying problem. It's not specific to the App Store, but a major problem with Internet based communities in general is that a small vocal group of discontents has a disproportionately loud voice.

5 one star reviews out of 100,000 known installs is very different to 5 out of 10.

I wish that the app review had stats for 1/2/3/4/5 star ratings as percentages of the known user base.


Please no. Then apps will only review nag even harder.


10 years & wow we can reply to reviews. I guess 4 billion in app store profits can pay for a feature now & then.

Now how about tackling fake reviews?


> Now how about tackling fake reviews?

From apples point of view, why?

If an app gets fake positive reviews, it will sell more, and give Apple higher income.

If an app gets fake negative reviews, the developer will just bump the version, the reviews will be forgotten, and there will be no negative effect to Apple.

Like the old SNL sketch, Apple doesn't care. They don't have to. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHgUN_95UAw


Fake reviews devalue all reviews, and this makes them less trustworthy and therefore less useful. And when customers can no longer make informed decisions, they buy fewer apps.


Now if only I could write reviews... but there's a Long outstanding bug where if you download an app in (in my case Australia) move to singapore, change your store to singapore, redownload the app. The store assumes you don't own the app cos it originated in Australia but your account is now singapore with the singapore downloaded app. And you cannot write a review cos the store is confused. But if the app is downloaded in singapore for the first time you can write a review. Invest the store location again and the inverse happens....


I have the same issue. And it's even worse. I need two accounts - one for the UK and one for Switzerland. And I have to log out and log in of the app store depending on whether I want a UK app or a Swiss app. For a multi-national company, Apple's support for those living across borders is terrible.


I had something similar happen on PSN. IIRC it wouldn't let me add Plus to a UK account using a US card.

I ended up just creating a new account, but it was surprising how difficult they made it to give them money.


What's worse is your purchases don't come with you when you switch stores. This has caused us a lot of problems.


I really hope that it would be finally possible to use touch id to identify myself when leaving reviews. I do not understand why reviewing seems to be the most sensitive thing I can do on an iPhone, as it is the only feature that always requires the whole password.


To slow down review farms?


Dubious, you only have to enter your password once and then you can write reviews for 15 minutes or so (I did not check). This only bothers people who leave one review every now and then.


Likely this has a lot to do with it...


There's a business here for a consulting firm that triages first-tier responses to these comments. This is already, for instance, how bug bounties work (as I understand it, triage services are a big part of the revenue model for the bounty sites).


Title is incorrect. It isn't going to be available until iOS 10.3 ships.


10.3 is on current new devices, so it takes affect now for all new iPhones and iPads. Later, it will also affect existing ones.


10.3 is in beta and the first beta was released to developers yesterday. That link is to pre-release documentation.


According to the article, if you purchase a brand-new iOS device, it is running 10.3. That is different than existing devices cannot get upgraded yet to it. Or is the article unclear?


No, you've misunderstood the phrasing, it says "which runs on currently shipping iOS devices", in other words, it is compatible with.


Also, itunes connect still isn't allowing us to respond to reviews (which is the whole point of this post...)


Wow, this is great news! It's doesn't address all of the systemic issues with the App Store, but it does show they at least are paying a little bit of attention... here's hope that they're working on fixing more!


That's great news, and can only lead to, if nothing else, better informed users and a more engaged developer.


I'm not sure it is great news. I can see it leading to some users expecting to use the reviews as a kind of alternative tech support/feature request forum, with star ratings held in hostage for responses.


What I was really hoping for is a solution to the problem of every app begging me for a review after upgrading.

I get a "please review" popup pretty much every day. When I got back from Christmas vacation and synced a bunch of apps, my iPhone was painful to use for about three days and every app begged for my help.

I actually review apps I use and like, I just wish I didn't have to do it every update to help keep the developer eating.


There's an unfortunate cause of excessive app rating prompts — what's shown in search results/top charts/other areas is the average of the latest version, not the overall aggregate.

If you're at a company that does scheduled releases (e.g. once every three weeks), you'll need to continually ask people to review the app to keep that rating high.

Otherwise you only get ratings from new users and users that are discontent with the particular version. It's rare that people who have already rated the app 5-stars will continually go out of their way to rate the app 5-stars again without prompting.


What's almost worse, is that it disincentivizes developers from updating their apps. If they want to keep their apps bug free, they have to weigh the severity of the bugs against wiping the slate clean on their reviews.


But to be honest you don't do that by updating every couple of days


I'm tied to the Norwegian app store by bank card. Norway has a small population resulting in the majority of apps having the "we don't have enough reviews for this app" and no review data at all. Instead of showing reviews from another country, or overall from all countries, Apple choose no data at all. Really useful.


Same for Estonia, I don't think I've ever seen a review on Estonian iTunes app store. Not a single one.


Wow, never thought of that. Someone must create an alternative web app store that we can browse with aggregated ratings


I am in the same situation, it's frustrating that Apple segregates the store by country this way.


It also doesn't make sense to suspect that you would need to.

I don't need to redo Yelp reviews for my favourite neighbourhood restaurant whenever they update their menu, for instance.


It's a problem. I think the solution is to show two ratings: Overall and recently. The recent rating shouldn't depend on the last update but a fixed time frame like 2-3 months.

Steam does it that way and it makes sense. Quality of software changes, some of the apps have seen several major updates and redesigns - an overall rating is slow to account for those. A per-version-rating jeopardizes established good ratings for minor updates.


FYI, some people rate apps down when the apps beg for for reviews like that.


I do that if an app does not have a "never show again" button on the prompt, or the prompt shows despite having tapped that button. An automatic 1 star review.


austinl's comment:

> If you're at a company that does scheduled releases (e.g. once every three weeks), you'll need to continually ask people to review the app to keep that rating high.

implies that the best response to such antisocial behavior is to give any pestering app one star. They're mining this dark pattern for publicity.


Pretty much. I downvote any app spamming me.


The google play store doesn't do this reset and android is still plagued by apps asking for updates.


I will rate an app once if I rate it at all and after that I consider the prompting for a review to be a negative. What makes me review an app isn't the prompt it is the app itself in being exceptional good or being underwhelming.


"Using the SKStoreReviewController API, you can ask users to rate or review your app while they're using it"

It sounds like this is the first step to a solution - route applications through this class and then Apple can add a preference to "take no action if nagged for reviews."


It looks like that's exactly what they've done. There's a screenshot of the setting buried in here: https://9to5mac.com/2017/01/24/ios-10-3-beta-1/


Now I just want an option to forbid apps repeatedly asking me to turn on notifications, and repeatedly asking me to get on a wifi network.


They already can only ask once, but apps use a trick to get around that. When they ask you if you want notifications turned on they'll first show you a fake pop up that asks if you want them on - you need to click yes to this one in order to get the real Apple one which you can then deny.

If you do that the only way to turn them back on is to go into system settings.


According to Gruber / Apple it's a max of three prompts per year, regardless of version.

https://twitter.com/gruber/status/824022727870861316

[UPDATE] There's also an App Store setting so you can disable requests:

https://youtu.be/_qA5p9dQGas?t=2m40s


Trivially avoidable by having an App based prompt instead of directly calling into the AppStore UX.


With this new API in place, I guess they will forbid your from asking for reviews elsewhere.


How does that work? How can Apple prevent douchebags from calling the new API from a modal "Do you love my app? No / Not yet" dialog?


Simple: By rejecting apps which do that.


They are already allowing apps to do stuff which is against the rules. I am on a personal crusade on Twitter against apps that spam me with notifications to "come back".


I also hate this, but what rule does that violate? Perhaps 4.5.4?

> 4.5.4 Push Notifications must not be required for the app to function, and should not be used for advertising, promotions, or direct marketing purposes or to send sensitive personal or confidential information.

It's a should and not a must... I'm not sure if they enforce all "shoulds." Also, from a review perspective, how could you tell? These sort of notifications are typically triggered after days (or hours) of inactivity, and I don't think they observe your app that long.

If you, as a user, complained about an app doing this to Apple, I wonder if they'd pull it.


I do not think that Apple has the means to test this in the review, but maybe there should be a way to mark spam notifications somehow.

What I do now is that I complain to the developer/company twitter accounts. Most of the time I receive very hopeful and polite replies and ... nothing gets fixed.


I'm sorry you feel this way, but our market studies have shown that most of our users respond positively to being spammed daily, and almost all of them come back and spend money as a result!!!!111!


Apple does static binary analysis + manual testing of apps before release. It's the same way they can prevent you from charging money for things without going through in-app purchases and Apple's 30% cut, or even from showing a website that lets you purchase things without going through in-app purchases (this is why, for instance, Kindle for Android lets you buy books and Kindle for iOS doesn't).


If you use your own prompt in order to try and show it to users who have chosen not to see the built-in one, then you're just asking for bad reviews. People who don't want to see your prompt don't want to see it. Why would they give you a good review if you're bugging them to do something they explicitly chose not to do?


According to Daring Fireball (http://daringfireball.net/2017/01/new_app_store_review_featu...), at some point Apple will change the rules so that this new API is the only way apps are allowed to ask for reviews, but right now there's no timeline for when this will happen.


Right. But I want to help developers I like (especially small developer shops).


I review every app that annoys me with a review popup, and voice my opinion about my most recent memory of the app (the annoying popup, 1 star).

Seems like enough people have started doing it that app developers no longger do this that much, at least on Android. There was even an article how to properly beg for reviews. Boils down to:

* Do it after you have delighted the user, not during startup.

* Do it respectfully without annoying the user (e.g. with an additional entry in a long scrolling list, not a modal dialog).

* Ask the user whether they're happy. If they say no, ask if they want to provide feedback (which you then read and act upon), if they say yes, you ask them if they're willing to leave a review. If they don't want to provide feedback/a review, you leave them alone.


Please don't give an app a 1 star review just because they ask for a review. Apple and Android have made ratings incredibly important, and the vast majority of happy users never take the time to review. You get some happy users rating, and a disproportionate number of unhappy users. Asking people (at an appropriate time) is the only way to level the field.

We've had a few 5.0 releases of our iOS app, but usually a few silly 1 star reviews make that impossible and knock us down to 4.5. Too many of those are "uggg, don't ask me to review, 1 star".

Secondly, the 3rd items you list is actually a dark pattern. If you are going to ask users to review, let them be honest. Directing 5 stars to app store and 4 or fewer to an internal system is gaming the system.


When an app nags me for a review, it really gets in the way and hinders my usage of it. A bad review is a totally legitimate response to that.

If this is your only solution to biased reviews, then you have no solution, you just have a way to move the problem around some. If you don't want silly one-star reviews complaining about the prompt, don't interrupt people when they're trying to get something done.


No one said nag. People seem to be be assuming the worst possible behaviour. Asking once with a "Don't ask again" and "Later" option is pretty standard.

The original post said a popup is annoying enough to deserve a 1-star review. I strongly disagree and if you enjoy free apps, it's one of the few ways to really thank the developer.


> No one said nag. People seem to be be assuming the worst possible behaviour. Asking once with a "Don't ask again" and "Later" option is pretty standard.

It is pretty standard, and it turns out that I have more than a hundred apps installed that all do it.

I too routinely give one-star ratings to try and de-incentivise this kind of thing. I'm sorry that you don't seem to have an alternate way of going about getting balanced reviews but I don't have an alternate way of never seeing that popup again.

Edit: Thinking about it further, it's remarkably arrogant to dismiss our complaints as effectively the wrong kind of complaint to put in reviews. That's not something you get to decide.


No one dismissed your complaint. I presented the developer point of view.

If you honestly think that a single popup makes an app deserve of a 1 star rating regardless of anything else, I disagree. It's like being a single issue voter. It's also more damaging than you know to the app developers who's work you are using (in most cases for free) and I'd encourage you to reconsider. Apple could fix this issue. A few vigilantes can't


> I'd encourage you to reconsider. Apple could fix this issue. A few vigilantes can't

Apple aren't going to fix the issue without it being a problem for them. I'm making it a problem by poisoning the review well in my own little way. I think this is a considered response - it's literally the only push-back that users have against the practice.

My preferred outcome would be a complete ban on asking for reviews.

Edit: my initial post was a bit abrasive, edited. But I'd like to end with a question:

What's your preferred user response to the practice of seemingly every single app begging for reviews? An actual, actionable response.

Two-star reviews? Three?


>What's your preferred user response to the practice of seemingly every single app begging for reviews? An actual, actionable response.

Complain to Apple for having a broken system, but don't hurt the developers of the very apps you're F-ing using.

As OP said above, Apple could fix this issue. Maybe weight recent reviews more, but don't just wipe the history for every upgrade.

The profound sense of entitlement that users express is really frustrating to app developers.

We can either never ask for reviews and watch as 1 in 100 people EVER review our app (and THOSE reviews are skewed to the people who have a complaint, so the review average is typically crap), meaning that we barely get any downloads and can't actually make a living selling apps, or we can ask for reviews and have people complain with 1-star reviews because the app they continue using for free annoyed them once.

And entirely because of Apple it needs to annoy them more than once in order to stay relevant.

Here's what I'd love to do: Make it so that, if you rate an app 1-star, or even 2-stars, you can't use it any more. If you rate it that low and you still use it, you're lying to other users and harming the creator of the app that you're using for free. Give me a developer API to know what users rated the app how, and I'd implement that in a minute.

People could still rate it 1-star if it sucked. Because if it sucked they wouldn't want to use it.

Drop the review to 4 stars if you're annoyed by it, but know that the developers really, really have no choice. You're basically telling them to commit economic suicide for your minor convenience.


> that you're using for free

Rude assumption.

I always, as a matter of principle, buy the "remove ads" IAP if I use an app regularly. Even if I didn't it wasn't my choice to charge nothing for the app. That's on the developer. Apple doesn't owe you a living, I don't owe you a living. The state of the app store has been known for years now and you've had a long time to decline to participate.

Your problems with Apple are not my problems as a user.


They are user problems in a way, but indirectly. Without user reviews new apps are buried even when searched with exact names. So the exact app you need for a niche task will never be found in the first place.

The only real solution is for Apple/Google to not wipe the slate every app update. You have to see the user benefit to that - apple right now literally has a direct disincentive to updating an app.


> They are user problems in a way, but indirectly. Without user reviews new apps are buried even when searched with exact names. So the exact app you need for a niche task will never be found in the first place.

So as a user my problem with Apple is that search is crappy. Is this best fixed by the search being improved or app developers begging for reviews?

I'm sympathetic to developers for the problems of discoverability and customer support and think Apple could probably do a lot better for them. But by the same token I completely reject having it pushed back on to me via the annoying review popup every damn time I update something. I'll continue to express my displeasure with one-star reviews.

> The only real solution is for Apple/Google to not wipe the slate every app update.

As I understand it Google don't wipe reviews between versions, and this is still a problem.


Google doesn't wipe the slate, to my knowledge. Has that changed?


>Your problems with Apple are not my problems as a user.

My problems with Apple are exactly your problems as a user.

If you want the apps that don't ever ask for reviews, then search past the first 100 that show up. Almost no one does. You'll find them there, because they don't rank at the top of the results.

Guess how much money those apps make? Not enough to pay for development. It's a power law distribution. At the top of the search you can make a decent living. By the time you're down to 20th place, you might be making $20/month.

You want good apps to use? Even apps you pay for? Then work within the system that exists, and work to change the system. Don't screw the developers who provide you the apps your using.

All you're doing by using the apps that you're slamming is being a hypocrite. The very reason you found those apps is that they asked users to post reviews. And the only reason that an app developer can continue to make and support the apps you're using is that they stay near the top of the rankings. Meaning that they really have no choice, most of the time, but to ask for reviews.

You want to have apps that work, and that aren't exclusively created by huge companies that can afford to get them to the top of the charts with big ad buys? Then support the developers who create them.

You don't want those apps? Then why do you have them installed on your phone at all? Easy solution here. Uninstall the annoying apps.

No, you owe us nothing. But neither do we owe you anything. If you're using our apps, and you want us to be able to afford to continue to make such apps, your one time $1-2 payment to remove ads isn't enough to pay for development for more than a couple of minutes. It's appreciated, don't get me wrong. A typical user of an ad-supported app probably makes $0.25 in a lifetime (depending on many variables). So the only way to actually make app development work is to get hundreds of thousands of downloads.

I actually have stopped trying to participate as an indie app developer who depends on the arbitrary and awful rankings that are ubiquitous in all the various markets. But I have empathy for those who keep trying, and I do want apps to continue to exist.

If one annoys me, I'll uninstall it. That's the honest thing to do, and by the way, it also hurts the ranking of the app. Rating it one star for a single annoyance is effectively lying out of spite. A "one star" ranking should be reserved for an app that you intend to immediately uninstall. Period.


>> Guess how much money those apps make? Not enough to pay for development. It's a power law distribution. At the top of the search you can make a decent living.

It's unlikely and rare for an app developed exclusively for native iOS, with no existing user base built on desktop or physical business presence in the real world, to ever have a chance of succeeding. The fault for misguided expectations lies entirely with the developers, not Apple or its users. The real purpose of the App Store - that is, what a majority of users find valuable - is having mobile apps for brand names and services they are already acquainted with.

Your primary install base should be from users explicitly searching for your app by name because they already interact with you elsewhere. If you're depending on people to "discover" your app without having ever heard of you, then you are choosing to gamble and attempting to game a system that every other gambler is trying to game right alongside you.

The only real problem here is developers trying to use mobile apps as either a) a get-rich-quick scheme, or b) feeling entitled to earn full-time income solely from their dream job of working as their own boss from home. The App Store is a cesspool of every developer who figured out how to install XCode acting like they automatically deserve to win the windfall lottery. If you choose to develop apps that have no business plan behind them other than "hope I get popular through a closed-garden algorithm", the resulting fallout has nothing to do with Apple or device owners.


> If you're depending on people to "discover" your app without having ever heard of you, then you are choosing to gamble and attempting to game a system that every other gambler is trying to game right alongside you.

Bingo! All the popular indie apps that don't use every possible strategy to get to the top of the heap will fail.

By choosing the top rated apps in the top 20, you are playing the same game. If you don't like indie apps, don't download them. "The only way to win is not to play." You don't like that game, play a different game. Don't hurt the many, many developers who are in fact making a living making apps.

And don't spite them just because they're living the dream of earning a full time income working as their own boss from home and it's what you'd like to be doing.

>The App Store is a cesspool of every developer who figured out how to install XCode acting like they automatically deserve to win the windfall lottery.

I don't disagree, but it also has some very nice apps. If you think an app really sucks, by all means slam it in the reviews. It's a service to other people who may download it.

But I'm complaining about people rating apps they otherwise consider to be 4- or 5-star apps, and that they then vote down to 1-star because they're pissed about being asked to review. That's lying out of spite, is hurting a developer who otherwise did a good job on their app, and is uncool.


I'm sympathetic to your argument, but the more you harp on about "free" the less sympathetic I get. Most apps aren't free: they ask me to pay with money or data, which I do, or attention, which I prefer not to. Ad supported apps are not literally free — there's an exchange of value from the user to the developer in all cases.

I suspect what lies at the heart of this whole issue is that some developers think that attention is not a cost to the user.


We assume the worst behavior because that's what we observe.

If you only ever ask once, don't you lose out the next time you release a new version and all the reviews get reset? The standard seems to be to ask for every new version, which is a major pain in the behind.

Speaking only for myself, I don't one-star any app just for asking once. I only do it to repeat offenders. I'd prefer never to be asked, but if it's just once, it's easier to just dismiss it and get on with things.


I've never ever seen a "Don't ask again" option in the ios apps i use. And therefor i also leave 1 star ratings once in a while for apps that keep annoying me with this question (and interrupting my workflow.)

i think it's the only effective thing i can do, the message is: stop wasting my time


>>When an app nags me for a review, it really gets in the way and hinders my usage of it. A bad review is a totally legitimate response to that.

Sure, so subtract one star from your regular review. A one-star review is a grossly disproportionate and unfair response.

I mean I hate being nagged as much as the next guy but let's face it: the only reason these apps are begging for reviews is because Apple store discoverability sucks.


> A one-star review is a grossly disproportionate and unfair response.

If it was an isolated incident sure. If someone cold calls me then I'm going to say "sorry, I'm not interested", but if you're getting 10 calls a day then the response changes. It's a constant problem and I'm willing to lash out at anyone I see making it worse.

As much as we blame it on the app store, we see similar behavior with subscriptions on a heap of websites.

> I mean I hate being nagged as much as the next guy but let's face it: the only reason these apps are begging for reviews is because Apple store discoverability sucks.

Or just not create apps if apple aren't creating a viable platform. It's not something that should be left up to the app developer or the users.

In fact, I'd rather app stores themselves were responsible for review prompts, it would provide better sampling.


If you're getting 10 calls because all the apps updated at once, it's hardly one app's fault.

Also see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13479086


>> Apple store discoverability sucks.

I will never understand this complaint. If you are depending on people to "discover" your app, you have no business plan and should never have developed the app in the first place. The majority of useful apps are not "discovered" - they are searched for by name by users who already interact with the company via their web service, desktop app, and/or real-world business.

I don't understand why developers, trying to jump on the get-rich-quick or "be my own boss working from home" bandwagon, are so surprised that there's no such thing as an algorithm that is going to give their one app any visibility over the other 90% of similarly unwanted apps vying for the same treatment.

Build a business outside of iOS that makes money providing value to its users. Then add an iOS app as a convenience and incentive for mobile users to continue doing business with you. The percentage of apps released solely to try and "make it big" which will ever do so is laughably small. Ignoring that fact and then complaining that the system is unfair shows a complete lack of common sense. Being capable of simply developing an app does not entitle one to earn a living doing so.


Wow, you sound like a very busy person doing important things.


It's a minor inconvenience, and my retaliation is in proportion to that.


That you feel the need to "retaliate" over what you deem a minor inconvenience says it all.


What does it say, that I'm occasionally petty when people waste my time? I certainly can't argue with that.


If it's a "minor inconvenience", shouldn't you rate the app, say, 3 or 4 stars if you otherwise enjoy it?


Maybe. On the other hand, it's an honest reflection of how I feel at the moment. Maybe I could put in some effort to figure out a broader view, but on the other hand, why put in effort to help people who don't value my time?


That is not relevant, it's about respect. A develop should respect "not interrupting a users workflow".

From the Dev prospective it's just a minor inconvenience/1 app, from the users perspective it may be 100 apps and the problem becomes a real pain in the ass. And there is no way to opt out.

Then the 1 star review makes sense, doesn't it?


I've found that many "prompted" reviews are generally of low quality and lack detail, and essentially flood the listing with useless information. (Who cares if there are 500 reviews each saying "Good app!", that tells you basically nothing.)

In 7 years I've never prompted for a review in any of my apps. Users that write reviews do so genuinely, and if they are happy, they often leave extremely detailed feedback explaining why, and that is much more valuable to me.


It's not the review that's important, it's the * rating that shows in search results etc.


> Please don't give an app a 1 star review just because they ask for a review.

Perhaps don't pop up things begging for reviews?

There doesn't seem to be any way of turning it off ("Disable app review requests") for people, thus these kind of user responses. :/


As mentioned further up, it's brutally difficult without anything like this. The App Store shows ratings for only the current version by default so after you slave over each upgrade, you lose all the great reviews you've carefully collected. Those ratings are critical to your success in an already difficult marketplace.

Almost no one goes out of their way to review your app, so the majority of reviews you'll get are disgruntled people, often with unfair or unrelated issues.


Preverse actions aren't a good response to preserve incentives, though it is often required. The same argument is used to auto playing to take over ads. You can't blame content makers who can't continue unless they add more aggressive ads any more than you can blame the users from installing ad blockers.


I understand that that is a bad position for developers to be in, but is that the user's problem? Also assuming users showing this behaviour are evenly distributed across apps, didn't this end up not mattering?


It becomes the users' problem when app development becomes unsustainable due to serious difficulties like this. If you're a good developer playing a clean game, you will lose out to more aggressive developers.

Personally I don't think it ends up not mattering because you get better results with the dark pattern people have outlined - ask how they feel about the app, then route positive people to review, or negative people to a feedback form.

Just sucks when someone rates your entire app 1* because of a single, small decision made, despite you having made great decisions at every other point.


It is a problem because in the end developers will just move to the next big platform. Right now Apple and Google essentially charge 30% just for card processing and distribution. Discoverability is no longer a benifit of the App Store.

The problem is that anything other than small, one trick apps are unsustainable. Look at Sketch for example - a perfect app for the iPad form factor but it doesn't exist because the App Store economy sucks.

The thing is it isn't just discoverability, but there are way more problems to deal with. Especially in terms of customer service. As a dev you get no info from a purchase of your app unless you mainuallu collect it inside your app. Have an upset customer and want to refund them? You can't. Want to discount an existing user for a new paid version? It is a super awkward process with app bundles. Want to give out a coupon code for a new product to existing users of another? Nope, can't do that.


App stores are relatively recent things and devs made butt loads of $$$ before the first App Store opened. You are being uncreative depending on nags to get publicity. If you have to annoy users to make a go of it, you just might be in the wrong business. It's not my fault. Not Apple's fault either. Blaming others for failure is Psych 101. Yeah, we get why you do it. Humans are extremely reticent to blame themselves for anything. Furthermore, we owe you for "using" your app and getting pelted with your ads. Except that right there is beyond simple selfishness, and crosses the threads hold into soft psychopathy.

You aren't selfless enough to make it in software. You can't think about the customer, only yourself. That's not how business usually works.

So, life is hard. Awwwwwwwwww. There's your sympathy. Now, succeed without bugging your customer or admit defeat and get out.

Or keep complaining that you're getting 1 star reviews.

Up to you.


This is an app that won an Apple Design Award, was one of Time's apps of the year and has done just fine otherwise.

I am speaking of people who rate an otherwise 4-5* app with 1* because of one prompt screen (that also prompts for feedback) per major version.


It sounds like you think the rating system is there for developers, it isn't. Those one star reviews because you're nagging your clients is good for me as a user because it's an indication I don't want to use your app.


If an app doesn't provide a "Don't ask me again" button, or even worse, continue to ask for reviews even after I've tapped "Don't ask me again", you can bet I'll leave a 1-star review. If you don't want 1-star reviews, don't beg for reviews. Ask once and leave it be.


>Secondly, the 3rd items you list is actually a dark pattern. If you are going to ask users to review, let them be honest. Directing 5 stars to app store and 4 or fewer to an internal system is gaming the system.

Sorry, but that particular pattern is 100% appropriate, IMO.

* If someone has a problem with my app, I absolutely don't want to send them to the reviews where they'll post a "tech support review". Yes Apple finally got off their collective behinds and caught up to Google's Play Store in that developers can respond now to reviews, but it's still a terrible venue for helping people with an app. Send them to somewhere that they can get real help, and turn their mediocre to poor review into a positive review.

* If someone has a problem with an app, the odds are roughly 7x greater that they will post a bad review. People who are frustrated are just more likely to seek out the review process to vent their spleens. There's absolutely no reason for me to attempt to be "fair" by reminding everyone to review my app; the haters will find the review button entirely on their own without my assistance.

I might send 4-5 stars to the app store, but if they rate it 3 or less, then damn straight I'm going to ask them what's wrong and not have them rate it. That's just common sense, not gaming the system.


> That's just common sense, not gaming the system.

I bet about 95% of people would disagree with you. This is a very dark pattern, few people are engaging in it, and if you told me non-anonymously that your app does it I would put you and your app on my blacklist of "not to be trusted, ever".


And I'd be happy to not have customers who are so extreme with their viewpoints, to be honest. If you have that kind of extreme negative reaction and would rate an app one star for asking you for help in promoting an app that they otherwise like, then I'm sure you'd be likely to express other entitled attitudes about how the app should and shouldn't work. People like that tend to be a support nightmare.

I'm not really anonymous here anyway. Check my profile. It points at my company web page. Feel free to never download any of my games. Please.

FWIW none of my games follow this pattern. But apps live and die based on ratings. I've had people rate my app one star simply because it was a paid version, and the Google return policy at the time was 15 minutes. So the review? "I can't judge whether this app is good in 15 minutes, so I'm rating it one star in protest." [1]

My fledgling, otherwise 5-star app that never even had a single review ask, with its measly ~5 reviews or so, now was pulled down to 4 stars because of one jerk. Who likely downloaded the app to pirate it. Yes, he almost certainly pirated the paid version; it showed up shortly thereafter on pirate sites. And his complaint was specious since I had a free demo you could also download.

We're not talking about voting for a politician here. We're talking about encouraging the people who like an app to vote for it; as I mentioned, the people who hate it already are motivated to slam it. So you're telling me that it's a dark pattern to encourage people who like your app to rate it, and to help the people who are having trouble with your app? Then you have zero empathy or understanding of the life of an indie app developer.

[1] EDIT: Actually, my current app under development is explicitly designed to not care about ranking in the various stores. And it will be Cordova (or similar) based, so I won't need to "reset" the reviews when I push patches to the app. But I don't promise that I won't occasionally ask for a review, so please feel free to blacklist my company and not download it anyway.


Thing is, by doing this you are not encouraging users to give your app a fair review and write what they truly think of it. Instead, you want to filter those to only positives, and that is indeed gaming the system, you quite frankly want to have a cake and eat it too.


I don't get this. If an app asks "Do you like this app?" and you get a negative response why is connecting them with real human customer service to figure out their problem a bad thing? Apple is the third party in this interaction. The app itself is an extension of your own business, so why should Apple be the arbiter of everything? I get it if you are pretending to be Apple and have a similar star rating/review form...but in most all cases I've seen there is a clear distinction of what you are doing.

If I order a steak at a restaurant and it is overdone, I tell the waiter, I don't eat it and go immediately post a 1 star yelp review. I mention that in the review later on, but their response to my displeasure is part of the review itself.


And if you don't complain about anything and say you are happy, the restaurant doesn't immediately try to get a benefit from that by handing you a tablet and saying "please leave a yelp review now". And if they did, you probably would complain.


I've had restaurants ask me exactly that, after asking whether I was happy, and no, I wasn't pissed. I like the restaurants in question. Heck, I've had my dentist send me an email asking me to rate them.

When you live in a world where reviews can make or break your business, of course you're going to do whatever is possible to encourage good reviews. There's too much riding on it, and too many jerks out there that will rate you 3 stars or less because you weren't exactly right for their needs (or tastes in the case of a restaurant). Because people are going to just not go to a restaurant that rates a 3 star average, and they mostly won't download an app with a 3 star average.

A little bit of reality here: You can't always make everyone happy. You just can't. And because people who are unhappy are something like 7x more likely to leave a bad review than people who are happy, you pretty much have to encourage people who are happy to leave reviews. In other words you have to game the system just to have an accurate review profile.

EVERYONE games the system, even if you don't realize that. Asking for a "fake rating" and then sending them to make the real rating is the obvious way to game the system, and it clearly troubles some people. A far more subtle approach is to just wait for someone to use your app several times over a week and then ask them to rate it. Anyone who's using it that much probably likes it. Halfway in between could be the app that asks you if you're having any problems before asking you to rate it.

But really it's just a matter of degree, and it's life in the app ecosystem, and even in restaurants and other domains today. Railing against it is like railing against the tide.


It's not gaming the system.

If the user is unhappy, leaving a review won't make them happy. Providing support via some other mechanism to try and fix their issue, that's what makes them happy.

If the user is already happy, they don't need support. But maybe they'd like to leave a review to tell other people that they're happy.


The ratings are not for you, or the customer leaving it. They are for other customers. The problem is, you think something is for you, that is not for you, and you are asking for everyone to behave like it is for you, and you are telling them that, if they don't treat it like it is for you, that you don't want them as a customer.

Fair enough, if that's the way you feel, but if that's really what you want ... put it on the app page, not some off-store forum. I question your sincerity.


Reviews are for the customers, yes. But if a customer has a problem, leaving a bad review does not help that customer. And if it's a problem that can be easily fixed, it doesn't help other customers either. Directing people with problems to internal support is unambiguously a good thing. If that customer's issue can be resolved, that's the best solution all around. And if it can't be resolved, well, the user can still go leave a bad review if they want to.


The people responding to you don't understand that without asking for reviews, your app will just die.

Apple needs to stop nuking reviews/stars on every release (give us the option!), then we'd stop asking for reviews.


We understand, we just don't care.


You think you don't care, but look at your App Store purchase history from two or more years ago and see what is still around.


I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. Are you saying that I really do care, because it helps apps I like to use to survive?


There is two tabs in the app store, one for "Current Version" the other for "All Versions" so it is not true that Apple erase previous ratings.


The survival of your app is not my concern.

If apple want a vibrant ecosystem of apps then they can make the changes, but as a user it's not my responsibility.


Apps that beg for reviews deserve to die.


Review nags will not save an otherwise anonymous app. Your blame is misplaced. By not listening to your customers, yes, your app will suffer, as will many businesses that are indifferent to the wants of their customers.


It seem suboptimal to sabotage the sales and marketing of apps you use on a regular basis by leaving 1 star reviews.

This is what I meant by keep the developer eating.... and providing updates.


If a developer eats by rating nags, the developer is going starve. Regardless of what anyone else does.


I really dislike that last technique in your list. Attempting to select only the people who like the app is an obvious thing to do as a developer, but as a user it seriously hurts the usefulness of reviews.


I agree it can be kinda icky, but at the same time, there's no real good way to get people who like the app to leave a good review. And the way things are in the stores, you have to have those good reviews.


I could list 200 problems with no good solutions. Can I have your # to call and discuss them with you? How about a single text every month or two? Have you shown any concern for our problems? Any concern at all?


But one-star reviews just because the app asked for a review doesn't hurt the usefulness of reviews?


Nope. It's an honest reaction, which is exactly what I want to see when looking at reviews.

Imagine I'm comparing two apps, A and B. If A has the higher rating because it steers unhappy people away from posting reviews, that's not useful to me. On the other hand, if B has the lower rating because it keeps bugging its users to post reviews, that's a good reason to choose A instead.


> If they say no, ask if they want to provide feedback, if they say yes, you ask them if they're willing to leave a review.

I really, really hate this practice - it just feels scummy as hell to me.


One iOS app I used to use (Baytomat) offers to reward you with credits (normally purchased for money) if you write a 5 star review. This seems like it should be a blatant violation of Apple's App Store policies, but there is no easy way for me to even report it to Apple. Very frustrating.


I've been APNS spammed by Yelp, Lyft, and Etsy, and by reading the guidelines, they should be removed from the App Store for this. No way to report that either.


I've said this for 5+ years... iOS should optionally prompt for user reviews, not the app. As in, there should be an API for requesting reviews.

Only that API should be able to control going to the app store review page.

This would greatly cut down on fake apps, as the users would actually have to use the app to leave a review.

Also, usage data should be correlated against a review. If the user doesn't really use the app, then the review should be quite low priority or filtered out. This would cut down on fake reviews and also PO users who use the app once, leave a trashy review, and leave. Those messages are better directed as PMs to the developer.


As long as you can link to the app store, apps can beg for reviews.


I would assume that Apple will eventually make this API required, and ban any app that links out to the app store directly.


I would leave a lot more reviews if I didn't have to leave the app. If Apple pushes this interface through, I would definitely leave reviews. I don't mind the nagging—as long as I can make it permanently go away per app, and it doesn't nag me once I review.


And especially if I don't have to enter my 32 character apple password every time ...


With iOS 10.3, you will no longer need to do that.


Easy to fix

1) prohibit popups asking for review

2) show ratings inside of app store and only after iOS knows you used this app for a while

3) stop asking for damn password every time and requiring review "title". This will make it easier


Tinder asks you to review it almost every day, even if you already have. I really don't like this, it feels like bullying, or like they're annoying you into leaving a positive review.


I use that as a helpful cue to immediately close the app and do something else.


Apple is trying to limit how often your iPhone apps can bug you to give them a rating

http://www.recode.net/2017/1/24/14375558/apple-limit-app-rat...


If they do that just give them a negative review for doing so. If enough of us do that the problem would soon be solved.


It's crazy Apple can't get basic funtionality like this right. Like on the web in 2001.


the entire apple ecosystem is a non-stop barrage of notices, warnings, and requests, from all apps and the OS.

even if you try to turn it all off, they still come at you relentlessly. it's exhausting.


Does anybody know what precautions or safeguards will be put in place to prevent fraudulent self-ratings?

For instance, a malicious app could falsify the user data before submitting it using the new API, dark patterns in the feedback form (1 star could be the highest rating), or just omit sending in poor reviews altogether.


It looks like the API is just a single "requestReview" call, and the UI and submission is handled outside the program's control.


See the Dash fiasco for how complex the issue is and how it is getting some attention at the highest levels of Apple.

We could debate all day (see the other threads) about that particular case, but the bottom line is they're at least aware of potential abuses and working on them.


Don't they have a review process? Surely they'd just check all the places you use the new API.


Yeah I’m pretty sure you’d have to use private APIs to be able to fake reviews using the new controller. They’d probably ban your developer account if you tried this. Don’t think it would be worth it.


They have the ability to run views entirely out of process. I can't guarantee they're doing it here, but I don't think it would be hard for them to make it completely immune even to private API abuse.


It'd be quite logical to do that here, if only to avoid exposing the users account credentials to the application.


I'd like to think Apple would catch those apps very quickly.


I'm glad to see Apple beginning to throw developers a bone but this change is about 5 years too late.


Developers always want this - but responding to reviews hardly every works out in your favor... its either a shallow "thanks" kind of message or a shallow "sorry" kind of message... and it almost always comes off as disingenuous


My thoughts exactly. This may or may not improve things.


Any word on whether replies will be limited to one, or if you could have very long threads of messages going back and forth between a user and the developer?

Also, curious if developers will be able to respond to old reviews written before this was the policy. I'm thinking so.

Been hoping for this ever since the App Store was released, especially after being able to do it on the Google Play store for some time.


So uhh... can users respond to developers responding to user reviews? ;-)


Both users and dev can edit their reviews/responses. Seems reasonable, as starting a multi-layer thread in reviews would ultimately defeat the purpose...


i guess it's reasonable indeed. Although users being able to edit their initial comment can become messy...


Well, it's a start?

I know I'm not the first to stay it, but I'm still so shocked how limited the Mac App Store is. No trial versions, no in-app purchases, no subscriptions, etc. This has led to companies like Bohemian (makers of Sketch) [1] leaving the Mac App Store.

I'm not being facetious when I ask people more knowledgeable than me: why does Apple put so little effort into the store? Is it just too small to warrant their attention? It just seems to me like they don't even try.

http://bohemiancoding.tumblr.com/post/134322691555/leaving-t...


The Mac App Store already supports both in-app purchases and subscriptions, and we currently leverage that to offer free trials of two of our apps (OmniGraffle and OmniPlan) and will soon extend that to the rest of our product line (OmniFocus and OmniOutliner).

I shared more details about this on our blog a few months ago:

https://www.omnigroup.com/blog/providing-the-best-possible-a...


What's your plan when you release the next major version of OmniGraffle? You will create a whole new App Store listing for it? Or you'll somehow have a single listing for OmniGraffle on the App Store, and people who have purchased v7 but not v8 will be able to unlock v7 but not v8 within the app?

The latter sounds like an unholy mess, the former is very annoying as a developer, since you lose all of your reviews and history, and customers generally don't really understand how to download apps they've purchased which are no longer listed on the App Store, and presumably you'd pull OmniGraffle v7 from the App Store.

Also, right now in the U.S. Mac App Store, you have 3 reviews on the current version of OmniGraffle, and 2 out of 3 are 1 star reviews complaining about the way your free trial is presented.

The Mac App Store is a broken mess.


Yes, we'll create a whole new App Store listing for it, just as OmniGraffle 5, 6, and 7 have each had their own listing.

I agree that it's sad to lose all our previous reviews, especially as our earlier apps had very high average ratings. But the bigger issue is combating confusion, which leads to bad ratings when people miss a feature that the app actually has, or are confused when a "free" app actually costs money. I'm hopeful that being able to reply to confused customers will help to clear some of that up!


The problem with this approach is that it's impossible to provide discounts to users who had the previous version, which is a long standarding practice (and a valuable one).


I agree that's a valuable, long-standing practice, but that problem has been solved: by offering discounted in-app purchases, we've been offering upgrade discounts to upgrading Mac App Store customers since we shipped OmniGraffle 6 in 2013.

If you read my latest blog post on the subject (linked in my first comment in this thread), you can see full details on how we're offering upgrade discounts to all existing customers, free upgrades for recent purchases, and free trials so new customers can check out the app before they pay—all in the App Store.


I thought time-limited trials were not permitted in the Mac App Store? How did this get through the review process?


The app itself cannot expire, but functionality unlocked within the app can expire so long as the app remains useful--or the app is based on subscriptions, in which case you can make the expired app do nothing at all.

In the case of OmniGraffle 7 the free functionality that it retains after the trial expires is that the app can continue to be used as a free viewer for OmniGraffle documents (in much the same way as people use free PDF viewer apps).

When we first shipped OmniGraffle 7, some people thought that perhaps we'd just managed to slip its free trials past some Apple's reviewer's radar. But we were very careful and intentional about designing the app to follow their guidelines, and we've shipped several updates that have passed review since then--and at the end of the year Apple awarded the app a "Best of 2016" App Store award.

So now that we know for certain that Apple is OK with this approach, we're in the process of bringing this model to the rest of our apps on both Mac and iOS.


Ah, that's very interesting. I did not realize that reverting the expired trial version to "view-only" mode was considered within the guidelines. Thanks for the clarification, I may have to consider this model for my own apps.

I assume Apple did not have a problem with your use of the "Free Trial" wording in the app? After the trial period expires, does the app display a launch screen directing you to purchase the full version?


No, Apple didn't have a problem with that term: we just had to make sure the description was clear about the functionality which was retained after the trial ended.

After the trial period expires, all documents are read-only with a small badge in the title bar that you can click on to bring up the in-app purchase choices.


Was there any recent Apple announcement or change in policy that suddenly allowed for this type of "free trial" in the Mac App Store?

Are you aware of any other Mac apps that use this model, or any rejections for the same?


Don't forget that Apple's draconian sandboxing limitations restrict entire categories of desktop applications from being sold on the Mac App Store.

When you've got an application like Coda from Panic that can't even manage to exist on the Store, that should be a sign that the thing needs to change.


What I find pretty awful is all of the apps I bought aren't being upgraded even though they were really great when I bought them. I'd even pay money to upgrade them. So sad to see all that wasted effort.


Maybe you can try Setapp.com - service released today. They provide access to more than 60+ apps without paid upgrades and in-app purchased.


Limited from a developer perspective but fantastic from a consumer one (except maybe the trial version stuff).


Not so fantastic, because it resets the ratings every update, which translates in developers constantly begging for stars...


I do agree resetting the ratings at every update is a big hassle. I wonder why Apple doesn't have the reviewer determine whether or not the rating should be reset. Perhaps that would introduce too much power to the reviewer(s?).


Every update may be a bit excessive, but it's better than never. A review is made at a point in time and a product can get better or worse over time. If I ever get begged for stars though the app gets one star.


Do you think it's a fantastic experience because it's simple?

I know that most people that post on HN are early adopters and trend toward power users, but they also use a lot more apps in total than my casual computer-using friends.


> Do you think it's a fantastic experience because it's simple?

I thinks it's fantastic because the don't allow nickle and dimeing customers.


So now reviews will tend to self-censor and be glowing, happy-clappy rubbish.

Maybe Apple apps need an app dev <-> user support mechanisms for private feedback, FAQ and bug tracker to funnel bitching productively.


No, it'll still be self-selecting:

Good developers who actively respond to reviews will improve their apps. Somebody who left a low review due to a misunderstanding now has a chance to increase their review because of a diligent developer.

A developer who doesn't care and/or doesn't monitor their reviews will not turn that user around.


I'd imagine it'd be similar to Yelp when a business leaves canned 'sorry' responses to all their bad reviews.

Are users able to remove bad ratings once they are left? Bribery potential...


What does "currently shipping iOS devices" refer to? People who buy an iPhone on the web store today will have iOS 10.3? I just checked on my iPhone and the latest is 10.2.1.


That means it's compatible with all currently shipping iOS devices. iOS 10.3 just entered beta, though, so it'll be a few weeks before it's the shipping, released version.


When was the last time you browsed the App Store or read reviews?


Would there be a second factor authentication? I'm sure developers would find ways to abuse this


It's about bloody time.




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