Apple is putting an end to the scourge of review prompts that seemed to pop up inside of some apps every few days. In a change to the App Store rules this week, Apple said it will now enforce hard limits on how review prompts show up and how often users have to see them. The changes were first spotted by 9to5Mac.
Under the new rules, developers will no longer be able to display review prompts however and whenever they’d like. Instead, there’ll be two key restrictions that should reduce headaches for everyone: First, apps will be required to use a new Apple-made review prompt, which allows users to leave a rating without exiting an app. That’s a huge convenience that may well get a lot more people to leave ratings. Apple introduced the rating prompt a few months ago, but it’s been optional up until now.
The second restriction is on how often that prompt can show up. An app can only display the prompt three times a year, regardless of how often it’s been updated. And once a user has left a rating, they’ll never see it again. Users also have the option to completely disable app review prompts inside the iOS Settings app, preventing the prompts from annoying them at all.
This seems like it should be a win-win for users and developers. People have been annoyed by app review prompts for years, and this update seems to remedy the problem. It may even make people more interested in leaving a review, because it can be done without exiting the app and because it means they’ll be done with the prompt for good. If that results in more reviews — and reviews from users who aren’t annoyed about switching apps — that’s a good thing for developers, too.
Part of the reason developers have their apps show review prompts so often is because Apple has always reset an app’s rating after every update, even very minor ones. With the redesigned App Store, developers will have the option to change that, so that their app’s ratings are maintained between updates. That’s likely to become a common choice — for good apps, at least — since users will only be able to get prompted for a rating once.