Apple has quietly changed its App Store policies and is no longer permitting iOS devices running pre-release software to be used to write App Store reviews. When attempting to write a review from a device that has iOS 9 installed, a popup is displayed that tells users reviews can’t be submitted while using beta software.
This is a much needed change that will prevent developers from having their App Store ratings and reviews affected by beta-related problems that are out of their control. As MacStories‘ Federico Vittici pointed out last week, negative App Store reviews left by beta testers have been an unaddressed issue for developers since Apple started providing beta software to public testers.
When beta software is released, some customers fault developers for apps that crash or do not function properly with beta features, leading them to leave negative App Store reviews even though there are months to go until apps need to be ready for the new software.
Following the release of the iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan public betas a week and a half ago, developers began seeing a huge uptick in negative reviews. Many of them took to Twitter to share 1 star reviews that included comments like “Broken with iOS 9.0,” and it appears Apple finally took notice of the issue.
Gotta love 1-star reviews for iOS 9 Beta issues. https://t.co/6lrFn9cP65
— Paul Mayne (@paulmayne) July 11, 2015
While it is no longer possible to write App Store reviews while running iOS 9, it is still possible to leave star ratings. It is not clear exactly when Apple made the change, but with both iOS 9 beta 3 and beta 4, App Store reviews are disabled.
iOS 8.4.1, another pre-release iOS build, does still allow App Store reviews to be left, so it appears that this may be a change that affects only beta software that’s been seeded to the public as part of Apple’s public beta testing program.