App Store Reviews Will Let Developers Respond in iOS 10.3

January 27, 2017 - 2 minutes read

If you’ve ever combed through reviews in the Apple App Store deciding which app to choose, you’ve probably noticed something weird. Unlike Google Play, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and most other review-based digital ecosystems, Apple doesn’t let developers respond to reviews.

This is too bad for iOS app developers, because it leaves them completely at the mercy of (possibly malicious) users, often more frustrated with some aspect of iOS or their phone than the app itself. It’s too bad for users as well, as it makes it difficult to gauge how engaged a developer is with their product at first glance.

Long story short: allowing responses has been a long time coming for Apple developers.

San Diego iOS developers will finally get their wish in a couple months, as Apple has announced that iOS 10.3 will launch with the feature. The operating system is currently in beta, and while a firm date hasn’t been set for release, developers expect it to arrive within a couple months.

The company will also be updating the baked-in mechanisms for prompting users to rate apps. This, too, has been long overdue, as the current system drags users out of their app experience mid-task, and encourages developers to include “nag screens” that launch… well, far too often.

Instead, users will be able to quickly rate in-app via a simple overlay, without losing anything they’re working on or redirecting to the Apple App Store itself. Smart stuff.

iOS 10.3 has more than just an improved app store and rating experience waiting for users and developers. Increased Siri integration into native apps will open exciting new possibilities for voice-control of app and OS functionality, while features like “Find my AirPods” will appeal to users feeling locked out by controversial design changes like, notably, the removal of a headphone jack.

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