The App Store rating for Apple podcasts suspiciously jumps to almost 5 stars after Apple added an in-app prompt

Earlier this year, Apple introduced the ability to rate and review its own apps on the App Store, including built-in apps like Podcasts, Music, News, and Stocks. One thing that quickly became clear when this came out was that Apple Podcasts is a polarizing app, with an average rating of around 2.0 stars.

This week, the developer and App Store keeper Kosta Eleftheriou noticed that the Apple Podcasts app mysteriously jumped from a rating of 1.8 stars to 4.6 stars in just over a month. Apple has since confirmed The Verge to now invite users to rate and view the Apple Podcasts app.

In a statement, Apple said Apple Podcasts began encouraging users to rate and review along with the launch of iOS 15.1 last month. This is similar to how many third-party applications also require users to rate and review.

Apple confirmed The Verge to use the new prompt, but claims it is nothing out of the ordinary. “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 prompt available to all developers,” a spokesman told us.

But as well as both The Verge and Eleftheriou note that there is an interesting trend in most recent (and positive) reviews for the Apple Podcasts app on the App Store. Many reviews are about the podcasts themselves, not the actual Apple Podcasts app.

The Verge has compiled a list of some of the most “recent” reviews of Apple Podcasts:

  • “Amazing show! Hilarious and well researched “, writes SammyAls, adding:” The dynamics are amazing, and the content is SO necessary! I like this.”
  • “Mobley has depth and insight,” writes xbacksideslider. “It’s nice to listen to a thoughtful and factual podcast. Far from the superficial emotional appeal to envy and false empathy that only congratulates that so dominate popular culture. ”
  • “Table,” says Jkimble6091. “Being a future young millionaire who listens to Anthony Oneal keeps me on track during all the ups and downs in life.”
  • Ashlie and Anthony: “I’m so glad my friend introduced me to this podcast because I’m hooked now.”

Meanwhile, if you scroll down and look for a flood of 1-star reviews, many of them focus on the Apple Podcasts app itself, with criticisms of the design, sync features, and more. As The Verge points out, this is not a common occurrence with other podcast apps in the App Store. For apps like Overcast and PocketCasts, most reviews are for the apps themselves.

So what remains unclear is what causes this confusion in people who rate and review the Apple Podcasts app.

But intentionally or not, standard or not, the problem with stellar results is that there is no way to determine if they are legitimate. We don’t know if someone pressed the five-star button because they liked the app, or thought they were evaluating the podcast itself, or just wanted to close the query as soon as possible. We don’t know if Apple is encouraging everyone, or just its most dedicated fans, or some other algorithmic subset that just happened to give it an edge.

No matter what’s going on here, it uses Apple and the Apple Podcasts app, which now has a great 4.7-star rating. Have you seen the new rating and review query in the Apple Podcasts app? Let us know in the comments.

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Naveen Kumar

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

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