When iOS 10.3 drops in a few months, developers will finally be able to leave App Store review responses—a long awaited, much needed addition to the store’s ecosystem.
TechCrunch posted a screenshot of the release notes for the beta version of iOS 10.3, released on Tuesday, which included this new feature (among other updates). Along with developers’ ability to respond to App Store reviews, Apple is providing them a new means for soliciting ratings from users without having to leave their app—which has often been seen as a tedious experience, leading to less reviews from otherwise satisfied customers.
Ratings are critical to the App Store ecosystem, as they help to ensure a good organic ranking and promote additional downloads. Aside from paid search ads in the App Store, and in-app or other paid banner advertisements, reviews are one of the best means a developer has at their disposal of promotion; however, negative reviews, even those on out-of-date versions or by those confused about the purpose of the app, can tank an app’s success.
Providing developers a means for App Store review responses, therefore, can—at the very least—help balance out those ill-gotten rankings preventing them from reaching a wider audience. As a side note, Android developers have long had this option in the Google Play store.
The new means of soliciting reviews from current users is also a welcome change in iOS 10.3. Any long-time iPhone user has likely been annoyed to no end by an app’s constant request to be rated—only to finally oblige, and be booted out to the App Store, interrupting whatever they were currently doing. With the new app review API, developers will have more control as to when they solicit ratings from active users; and, if the user accepts, they can complete the review without nearly as much of a distraction as before.