Archive for May 26, 2021

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Forced 5-Star Ratings

Kosta Eleftheriou (Hacker News, MacRumors):

The review: “This app forced me to give it a good rating before I could use it.”


If you think you can trust App Store ratings, you haven’t been paying enough attention.

This is the iOS system rating prompt, not a custom look-alike one.

The worst part? This trick is EXTREMELY easy for any developer to do, and not limited to this app.

This developer has more than 15M downloads and $MILLIONS in revenue.


Apple also says they conduct a “robust” review process - yet this fraud takes place immediately upon launching the app.

Francisco Tolmasky:

Tangentially related, I commented a while ago on what a missed opportunity the notch was to have a “Secure UI" for native dialogs to tell them apart from fake ones[…]

Guilherme Rambo:

It looks like the app is using the native review dialog, then observing windowDidBecomeVisible: for the container window that’s rendered in-process, and putting something on top of that to prevent interactions other than five-star reviews.

Stephen Warwick:

Apple has pulled an app from the App Store that forced users to leave a good review before using it.

Francisco Tolmasky:

I don’t even know why this API exists in the first place. It’s user hostile even when used “correctly”: I hate getting this stupid pop-up when I’m using an app. Not to mention that reviews, generally speaking, are the laziest way to “outsource” curation in a store.


A company that was actually laser focused on making “the best AppStore” would have thought outside the box for alternative ways of surfacing quality.


This is just one idea — but it highlights the unique features Apple could actually take of advantage of by controlling the “entire experience”. The ability to let you know that an app has a great support history would be killer for non-tech savvy users.


The crazy thing is that Apple is hypothetically correct about the advantages of top-down control. But ironically, once you start realizing all the cool things Apple could provide with their vertical integration, you notice the disconnect with the things they actually invest in.


Update (2021-06-05): Kosta Eleftheriou:

Why buy your ratings when you can force your own users into helping you for free? 🤷

I have now identified multiple apps from multiple developer accounts with this type of ratings meta-manipulation.

Update (2022-01-25): Kosta Eleftheriou:

Apple: “We work hard to make the App Store a trustworthy ecosystem” and “We take feedback regarding fraudulent activity seriously”.

Yet 8 months later, this is still possible on iOS 15.2.

No words.

iOS Camera App Updates

Rachel Johanna:

Camera+ 2 is known for having excellent features and our newest is no exception! Using the power of AI, we have created a new shooting mode designed to remove objects in motion that get in the way of getting the perfect shot.

Sebastiaan de With (also: John Voorhees):

Halide for iPad is a whole new app — it sports an interface designed from scratch for iPad, some special features for iPad shooting, and it manages to also bring all of Halide’s powerful features along for the ride, too.

Jasper Hauser (also: John Voorhees):

We’re excited to expand our [Darkroom] editing capabilities with one of the most requested features: Clarity!