When an app developer releases a new update in the App Store, all their beautiful reviews disappear in the ether. This is about to change as developers will soon have the option to keep app reviews and the rating for the current version when they release an update.
Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller talked about the reasoning behind this at John Gruber’s The Talk Show event in San Jose.
Limiting reviews to the most recent version made sense a few years ago. For instance, a 2010 review of Instagram is now irrelevant because the app has changed so much. That’s why Apple chose to reset reviews with new versions.
App developers wouldn’t release a new version very often anyway as App Store approval would usually take a week. But this doesn’t make any sense now that apps are approved in a matter of hours.
So if you find a bug in your code, you can now release a fix in a day or even less. By making the App Store better, Apple made its rating reset policy problematic. Some developers currently prefer to wait for bigger changes before releasing a bug fix as the tiny update would reset their App Store ratings.
With this change coming with iOS 11 in September, nothing is going to stop you from releasing updates early and often. You can release as many incremental versions as you want without resetting the ratings.
And if you release a major new version that drastically changes the core features of your app, you can press the big button to reset the App Store ratings. So your app doesn’t have to be perfect from the very beginning, you can still release a v2 and clean your ratings.