Apple’s Podcasts app has seen a substantial App Store rating jump from 1.8 stars to 4.6 stars over the past month. Back in September, Apple started allowing users to rate the company’s built-in applications. Specific applications such as Podcasts got low ratings due to poor design complaints, while others, such as Apple News, got low ratings due to the app constantly crashing.
Apple allowing its own built-in apps to be rated is a good first step to gaining feedback from users. However, built-in apps still can’t be updated independently of OS updates. And built-in apps, despite being listed on the App Store, can’t technically be deleted. When a user deletes a built-in app, iOS simply hides the app icon from the App Store. It doesn’t actually remove it from the device. It’s why the user can re-download built-in apps from the App Store even when not connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network.
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But as reported by The Verge, Apple’s Podcasts app has suspiciously gone from a low 1.8-star rating up to 4.6 stars in the span of about a month. Apple confirmed to the publication that the Podcasts app did begin asking users to review the app starting with iOS 15.1. Apple says that it’s using the standard review dialog all other apps use. However, looking through the recent reviews of the app, users seem to be reviewing specific shows and not the app overall. Heck, the top-rated review right now on the app is of reviewer “Ashlie and Anthony” boasting about their favorite show. “I’m so glad my friend introduced me to this podcast because now I’m hooked. I started listening in season 12 with the finale.”
What’s Going On Here?
Whether intentional or not, the new reviews dialog implemented by Apple is now boosting the ratings for the company’s Podcasts app. A conclusion could be made that users might be confused by the dialogue and are reviewing individual podcasts and not the actual app? Right. No. When looking through third-party podcast app reviews and Apple Podcasts, it seems to be a problem specific to the first-party Apple Podcasts app. The majority of five-star ratings seem to be folks reviewing podcasts and not the actual app. The majority of one-star reviews are still people complaining about the app itself.
And at the time of writing, it’s unclear who Apple is serving this dialog to. The dialogue isn’t appearing on devices to confirm whether it’s the standard review dialog or a custom one. It’s also unclear if Apple is serving the text to specific users or if it eventually shows up to everyone. Either way, don’t be fooled. The Apple Podcasts app didn’t suddenly get better.