New Apple Podcasts Rating Prompt Artificially Boosts App Store Score

With the launch of iOS 15.1, Apple introduced a new prompt for the Podcasts app that asks customers to rate it, and as it turns out, confusion over what's being rated has led to an artificially inflated App Store rating for the Podcasts app.

Podcasts Feature
Prior to the October 25 launch of iOS 15.1, the Podcasts app had 1.8 stars and plenty of negative reviews from customers unhappy with the design of the app. Now that Apple is asking customers to rate the app, ‌App Store‌ ratings for the Podcast app have shot up to 4.7 stars, a stark difference.

Apple made no major changes to the Podcasts app so customers are not suddenly happier with its design and performance - instead, many people are leaving ratings for the podcasts themselves. As noted by Kosta Eleftheriou and highlighted today by The Verge, many of the reviews are for the podcasts that are available through the Podcasts app, and not for the app's functionality.


The top review in the ‌App Store‌ right now starts out with "Best Podcast Ever!", with the reviewer lauding the podcast they had been listening to at the time the review prompt popped up.

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

podcasts app negative reviews
With the review prompt, the Podcasts app is receiving thousands of reviews per day, and many of them are positive. Apple confirmed to The Verge that it is using a new prompt, the same one available to all developers. "With iOS 15.1 released last month, Apple Podcasts began prompting listeners to leave a rating and review just like most third-party apps -- using the standard Rating & Review prompt available to all developers," a spokesperson said.

As The Verge points out, Apple is breaking no rules using this prompt that is standard issue in third-party apps, but it's misleading for customers looking for an ideal podcast experience. The Podcasts app is the number one app that comes up when you search for "podcasts" even though unaltered ratings suggest that other podcast apps offer a better user interface.

Looking at the reviews of third-party podcast apps, the majority of the ratings are for the apps themselves, and customers do not seem to be accidentally offering reviews for podcast content as is happening with the Podcasts app. It is not clear if Apple plans to remove its confusing in-app rating prompt for the Podcasts app, but reviews for the Podcasts app certainly should not be trusted.

Customers have been increasingly unhappy with the Podcasts app since iOS 14.5, which is when Apple introduced a design change that brought with it multiple bugs ranging from problems with syncing to an issue causing huge numbers of podcast episodes to be re-downloaded at one time. There were a huge number of complaints, in fact, which led Apple to make some changes in iOS 14.6, but the app has continued to accumulate negative feedback.

Top Rated Comments

TonyC28 Avatar
13 months ago
Can confirm: the app still sucks
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ebarella Avatar
13 months ago
Not sketchy or wrong, but as The Verge pointed out, reviewers of third-party podcast apps don't seem to make the same mistake of believing they are rating a podcast
While it might be indication of something sketchy with the prompt, it could also mean users of third-party apps are way more tech-savy
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
joshwenke Avatar
13 months ago
This is so sketchy.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
IamTimCook Avatar
13 months ago
It’s not like the current ratings for Apple apps matter. It just a bunch of “Reddit” style communities getting together to spam the ratings with low scores, thinking somehow they’re being so next level humorous.
“… let’s flood the App Store with bad reviews.” seem to be everywhere after the app rankings went live.

Although Podcast needs work along with other Apple apps, they’re not 1 Star apps.

I pay about as much attention to modern times reviews and rankings like App reviews, as I do movie reviews.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
siddavis Avatar
13 months ago
Feature, not a bug. I'm shocked it works this way... shocked I tell you! ;)
Ditched Podcasts app for Overcast earlier this year and couldn't be happier. Should've done it waaaaay sooner.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
applefanboysince93 Avatar
13 months ago
I’ve tried over and over to switch to Apple's podcast app but I keep crawling back to PocketCasts because it just works so much better and Apple's app is frustrating and confusing... so yeah, I have to keep paying $10/year for an app because Apple’s is horrible… clearly Apple's Podcasts team don’t actually use their own app… it’s pretty yet completely unusable half the time :(

Why oh why is it hard for Apple to make that app? It's a simple mp3 downloader! One man team developers make better podcast apps yet the wealthiest company in the world's app is crap...
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

Podcasts Bugged Feature

Users Despair at Apple Podcasts App After iOS 14.5 Update

Thursday April 29, 2021 7:04 am PDT by
In spite of redesigning its Podcasts app with iOS 14.5, long-standing bugs within the app persist, and hundreds of reports from users across Twitter and Reddit are complaining about a range of new usability problems. Apple's iOS 14.5 update, accompanied by iPadOS 14.5 and macOS Big Sur 11.3 brought a major overhaul of the Podcasts app, including a new design, a re-thought system of...
wondery apple iphone

Amazon-Owned Wondery+ to Launch on Apple Podcasts Subscriptions

Tuesday May 11, 2021 6:49 am PDT by
Amazon's podcast subscription service Wondery+ will be available through the Apple Podcasts Subscriptions platform, which launches in over 170 countries later this month, according to a report today from The Hollywood Reporter. Wondery+ offers dozens of ad-free podcasts, with early access and exclusive episodes for subscribers, making it a natural fit for Apple Podcasts Subscriptions. The...
Apple Podcast Alternate

Apple May Announce Podcasts Subscription Service at 'Spring Loaded' Event [Updated]

Monday April 19, 2021 5:26 am PDT by
Apple may announce a podcasts subscription service at its "Spring Loaded" event tomorrow, according to Vox's Peter Kafka and findings in the beta of iOS 14.5. Kafka remarked in a tweet, spotted by 9to5Mac, that he is "pretty sure Apple is prepping its own podcast plan - a paid subscription service - on Tuesday." MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has now said that Kafka's claim lines up with...
apple podcasts rating

Apple Now Lets Customers Rate and Review Pre-Installed Apps on the App Store

Thursday September 30, 2021 1:50 am PDT by
Apple now lets users rate and review pre-installed iPhone apps on the App Store, such as Maps, Podcasts, Mail, and others, bringing the company's apps to parity with how users criticize and/or laud third-party apps on the platform. Spotted first by 9to5Mac, Apple now lets users leave a zero to five-star rating for a number of its pre-installed apps, further enabling users to write their...
apple podcasts connect followers

Apple Podcast Creators Will Soon Be Able to Access Follower Metrics

Tuesday March 22, 2022 9:12 am PDT by
Apple today announced a Podcasts update for creators, introducing follower metrics and other features that are designed to help podcast makers track their audience and monetize their shows. Under the Analytics tab in Apple Podcasts Connect, creators will be able to view followers per show and track followers across shows. The interface will display new followers gained over the last week,...
Apple Podcast Alternate

Apple Inks Deal for Siegfried & Roy Podcast

Tuesday April 27, 2021 2:57 pm PDT by
Apple has signed a deal for a podcast focusing on pop culture icons Siegfried & Roy, reports Deadline. This will be one of Apple's first exclusive, original podcast offerings. The Siegfried & Roy podcast will be exclusive to the Apple Podcasts app, and it comes as Apple is making a push into original podcast content. Apple recently announced plans to allow podcasters to collect subscription...
maxresdefault

The MacRumors Show: Rene Ritchie Talks Mac Studio Performance and Studio Display Controversy

Friday March 25, 2022 10:18 am PDT by
Acclaimed Apple content creator Rene Ritchie joins us on The MacRumors Show podcast this week to reflect on the all-new Mac Studio and Studio Display now that users have had a chance to spend some time with the machines. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The eighth episode of The MacRumors Show takes a look at the Mac Studio and Studio Display's real-world...
Podcasts Feature

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions Launching on June 15

Wednesday June 9, 2021 10:10 am PDT by
Apple will make Podcasts subscription options available starting on Tuesday, June 15, Apple said today in an email that was sent out to podcasters (via The Verge). Support for Podcasts Subscriptions was introduced with the iOS 14.6 update, but in late May after releasing the update Apple said that the rollout of the feature would be delayed until June to make sure that the "best experience"...

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro hands snowflakes 1

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 1:55 pm PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2022 is no different. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like the iPhone 13. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
apple watch gold ornaments

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 9:31 am PST by
We're tracking all of the best Apple product discounts for Black Friday this week, and the Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, so you're guaranteed to find solid discounts right now. In this article, you'll discover the best Black Friday sales on Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these...
new airpods lineup black friday

Best Black Friday AirPods Deals Still Available

Tuesday November 22, 2022 10:01 am PST by
Although we've been tracking Black Friday deals for a few weeks now, the shopping holiday is officially kicking off this week and we're highlighting the best sales for each of Apple's product lines. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on AirPods 2, AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and AirPods Max. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
ipad holiday bulbs

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 12:25 pm PST by
Black Friday deals have been in full swing for the better part of a month, and now that the shopping holiday is officially here we're seeing even more solid discounts on Apple devices. We're highlighting the best sales for all of Apple's product lines, and in this article you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner ...
mac imac snowflakes

Best Black Friday iMac and MacBook Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 1:07 pm PST by
Our Black Friday coverage continues today with the best deals you can find on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iMac. As with all Black Friday deals, we aren't sure how long any of these will last, and prices are always fluctuating, so if you see something you want, be sure to buy it soon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Black Friday is winding down for 2022, but many Apple products are still seeing major discounts. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Blue

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Get Right Now: AirPods, Apple TV, Mac, iPad, and More

Saturday November 19, 2022 8:00 am PST by
Last week was jam-packed with early Black Friday deals, and now that the shopping holiday is right around the corner, we're going back through all of the best sales you might have missed over the past week and updating as prices change and new deals arrive. As with all holiday shopping, there's no guarantee that better prices won't come around later in the season, but if you want to shop early,...
Best Buy November Deals Hero

Best Buy Reveals Black Friday Plans With Sitewide Sales Available Now

Tuesday November 22, 2022 3:49 pm PST by
Following in the footsteps of Target and Walmart, Best Buy this week detailed its plans for the Black Friday shopping holiday and its schedule looks a lot like other retailers. In terms of sales, Best Buy has the expected list of TVs, appliances, video games, computers, streaming devices, and more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a...