New Apple Podcasts Rating Artificially Increases App Store Results

With the launch of iOS 15.1, Apple introduced a new query for the Podcasts app asking customers to rate it, and as it turned out, confusion about what was being rated led to an artificially inflated App Store rating for the Podcasts app.

Prior to the launch of iOS 15.1 on October 25, the Podcasts app had 1.8 stars and many negative user reviews dissatisfied with the app’s design. Now that Apple is asking customers to rate the app, the “App Store” ratings for the Podcast app have risen to 4.7 stars, which is a big difference.

Apple hasn’t made major changes to the Podcasts app, so users aren’t suddenly more satisfied with its design and performance – instead, many people leave ratings for the podcasts themselves. As Costa Eleftheriou noted and pointed out today The Verge, many reviews are for podcasts that are available through the Podcasts app, not for the functionality of the app.

The best review in the App Store currently starts with “Best Podcast Ever!”, And the reviewer praises the podcasts they were listening to when the review request appeared.

Podcasts app positive reviews

The rest of the reviews are a mix of one-star comments on the design of the Podcasts app and positive reviews for the podcast content.

negative reviews of podcasts applications

With a review request, the Podcasts app receives thousands of reviews a day, and many of them are positive. Apple confirmed The Verge to use a new prompt, the same one available to all developers. “With iOS 15.1 released last month, Apple Podcasts began encouraging listeners to rate and review just like most third-party apps – using a standard rating and review query available to all developers,” a spokesman said.

As The Verge points out, Apple does not violate any rules using this query which is a standard problem in third party applications, but is misleading for customers looking for the ideal podcast experience. The Podcasts app is the number one app that appears when searching for “podcasts” although unchanged ratings suggest that other podcasts apps offer a better user interface.

Looking at reviews of third-party podcast apps, most of the ratings are for the apps themselves, and users don’t seem to offer random reviews for podcast content like happens with the Podcasts app. It’s not clear if Apple plans to remove its confusing rating query in the Podcasts app, but reviews for the Podcasts app certainly shouldn’t be trusted.

Customers are increasingly dissatisfied with the Podcasts app from iOS 14.5, when Apple introduced a design change that brought with it more errors ranging from sync issues to issues causing a huge number of podcast episodes to be downloaded at the same time. There were a huge number of complaints, which led Apple to make some changes to iOS 14.6, but the app continued to accumulate negative feedback.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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