A couple of fellow journalists have been writing about the annoyance of iOS apps badgering users to rate them, and the need for developers to get ratings so they can sell good apps. Over at The Loop, Jim Dalrymple said, “There has to be a better solution from Apple to encourage users to rate apps that works for everyone. Users should rate apps and give feedback to the developers so they can make the app better for everyone.”
And Rene Ritchie, at iMore, told readers to “Go to the App Store and rate your 5 favorite apps right now!”
The thing is, it’s not that easy to rate apps. Here’s the process, first in iTunes, then on the App Store, on an iOS device.
- Open iTunes.
- Click on the iTunes Store button at the top right of the window, or, if you have the iTunes sidebar visible, click on iTunes Store in the sidebar.
- Click on App Store in the iTunes Store header.
- Click on Purchased, in the Quick Links section at the right of the window.
- Sign in to your account (you may or may not have to do this).
- Click on Apps.
- Click on iPhone or iPad, to see apps for that device.
- Click on All, to show apps that are not in your iTunes library.
- Find the app you want to rate: you can choose to display apps by Recent or by Name. Or you can use the search field to find the one you want to rate.
- Click on the app’s icon.
- Click on Ratings and Reviews.
- In the Customer Ratings section, click on a star to rate the app.
- Tap the App Store icon.
- Tap Updates.
- Tap Purchased.
- Scroll down to find an app to rate.
- Tap on the app’s name.
- Tap on Reviews.
- Scroll down and tap Write a Review.
- Tap on a star to rate the app. (Write a review if you wish, but you don’t have to.)
- Tap Send.
As you can see, this isn’t easy. Here are some ways Apple could improve this.
- Make a Rate Your Apps section of the App Store, both in iTunes and on iOS. This would make it only a couple of clicks or taps to rate apps.
- Allow ratings from the Settings app, in the list of apps.
- Allow ratings in some other way when interacting with an app. For example, when you tap and hold an app to delete it, perhaps offer the option to rate it before or instead of deleting it.
- Send users emails occasionally asking them to rate apps. Amazon does this for my purchases, and I don’t find it too annoying, but these would have to be easy to unsubscribe from.
Apple’s got enough smart people in the company to figure out a way to get more app ratings; something easier than the 9- or 12-step procedures above. App Store sales are important to Apple, partly because of the revenue they bring in, but also because they help reinforce iOS use. The more good apps there are, the less likely people are to switch.
So, I wanted to go rate a few apps today, but, frankly, I don’t have the time to go through this laborious process. Apple needs to make this simpler; developers need ratings, and so do users, to decide which apps to buy.
Note: Doug’s point in the comments is valid. People do seem to go out of their way to give bad reviews. You should rate apps you like. I’ll also point out that Doug makes OS X apps, and the procedure is much simpler in the App Store app. Find an app, click on it, and you’ll find a Rate this Application section just below the screenshots. It should be this simple for iOS apps.