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Developers now able to respond to user reviews in the Apple App Store

App developers for Apple's platforms now have a new way to communicate with their users. With the release of iOS 10.3 and macOS 10.12.4, developers can now respond to user reviews in the App Store to offer support, ask questions or thank users.

This change, which has been standard in Google Play since 2013, is meant to help both developers and consumers. Leaving complaints on the App Store is often a course of action for users who encounter bugs, but without the ability to gather more information through follow-up questions, developers were left in the dark.

For developers, Apple is offering a list of guidelines on how to respond to user reviews. It explains that responses should be timely, concise, and consistent with the tone of the app's brand. It also suggests prioritizing the lowest star ratings or those mentioning technical issues with the app. There's also a filter for finding reviews from specific countries.

The company also warns developers that replies should not be used to advertise or offer promo codes for other apps, services, or in-app purchases, as doing so violates the App Store Review Guidelines.

For users, the process of leaving a review is unchanged, however developers now have a new option for requesting feedback. Using the SKStoreReviewController API, developers can ask users to review an app while using it, without redirecting them to the App Store. The API also restricts developers from soliciting reviews more than three times a year. Once reviewed, the prompts disappear permanently.

Source: TechCrunch | App review image via Apple

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