Asking for App reviews as an independent developer

Getting App Reviews

When I started Steps Tracker I was trying to create an App I personally wanted to use and several friends had mentioned they liked the idea of it. It didn’t cross my mind to solicit App reviews.

Decided to charge to see if anyone would be prepared to pay for it. Give me reason to continue developing independent Apps.

A few nice App reviews came in, mainly from the beta testers who were kind enough to leave a review once the App went live. There were occasions when a review was left suggesting the App wasn’t working. Apple does provide developers the chance to respond to these so I would always reply. I would request more details and offer to connect via the  contact email address to work things out. I’ve yet to hear from a reviewer.

The trouble was these people who obviously had issues with the App were bringing down the average rating for the App. I also wanted to know if there was a serious flaw with some of my UX assumptions. Indeed whether a bug lurked that was hitting a proportion of users. The trouble was without a user reaching out using the support link on the App Store page there was very little information for me to work on.

Having worked regularly with independent authors I know their sales can be hugely affected by reviews or the lack of them. Therefore I decided to bite the bullet and start using SKStoreReview to request users for App reviews.

Requesting App reviews

SKStoreReviewController allows your App to request a rating from your user on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. If they tap on a rating they will then be given the opportunity to leave an App review or just submit their rating. They also have the chance to tap ‘Not now’ so a rating is not guaranteed. The device will also take into account how many other review requests the user has recently seen before presenting your request to them.

I have a personal dislike for Apps that ask for a review at first launch. I therefore decided not to bother a user until they had used the App for at least three days. I posited if they are still engaging with my App after this time I would love to hear what they thought about the it.

Apple’s advice is to put the ‘request where it makes sense within the logic of your app’ to ask the user for ratings. I gave this some though and chose to ask for an App review when the user changes their target steps. I had previously received feedback from beta users which suggested people regular adjust their target due to their daily commitments. If someone never changes from the recommended 10,000 steps a day then the App will try to request a review once a month.

Hopefully these are not too intrusive. They have already given me a more balanced feedback on how people view the App. The average rating has risen from a low of 1.9 to the current 4.3 of 5 stars.

The fact that it only takes one line of code, though you will want to write some logic around this call, makes it so simple that there really is no reason not to include it. Was I the only developer not doing this? Let me know below or on

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