I'm trying to figure out what's going on with Apple's ratings/reviews system on the App Store. I've had issues with my own app (ratings/reviews not showing) now I see a major app with similar issues...

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2011 free app was released just 2 days ago (Feb 14). It now has 29 ratings and 9 reviews (one review is mine posted from night of 2/15). But this has got to be a well downloaded app right? I'm talking 1000's probably just in the first day, so where are the other reviews/ratings?

Does anyone know if:

1) Apple has humans approve all ratings/reviews before letting them show?

2) Apple has an algorithm for passing/rejecting ratings/reviews?

3) What is the exact time delay between posting a review/rating and it appearing on the App Store?

Also-> Have you had any experience with a review or rating not showing in the App Store ever or only after a long delay?

  • We can't really provide a concrete answer for this question here. Since we don't know why Apple makes the decisions they do, any answers would just be guesses and speculation.
    – nohillside
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 5:03

4 Answers 4


Ratings appear very quickly, and do not appear to require approval (can't imagine that they would). The reality is that almost no one rates the apps they download, and since "rate on delete" was eliminated with iOS 4, even fewer ratings will appear. (The removal of "rate on delete," where the OS asked you to immediately rate an app when you deleted it, is generally a good thing, since someone deleting it is much more likely to dislike an app than someone keeping it, which resulted in significantly skewed ratings).

Reviews sometimes appear very quickly -- within minutes of submission -- and sometimes take up to a day to appear. Last year there were some significant abuses of the review system that became public, including mass reviews submitted by marketing companies (through individual accounts set up for that purpose), so it's likely that Apple changed their policies at that point. From what I can tell, if an account has a long history of ratings across multiple developers, reviews can appear very quickly, but there seems to be a delay for new accounts or those with few reviews, which may well be approved by humans.

However, as Phillip wrote, the actual process is entirely unknown, and Apple intentionally keeps it that way.

Personally, its never taken more than a few hours before my reviews appeared, and it's usually within minutes.

Edited to add

Just wrote another review and noticed that below the entry area it says,

If a review is deemed inappropriate, it will not be posted to the App Store.

which implies potential review, and after the review is entered it says,

Your review has been successfully submitted. Please note that it may be reviewed and will not appear in the store immediately.

The "it may be reviewed" at least partially supports my "depends on your account" theory.


I think the time for ratings to show in the store is directly affected by the number of ratings submitted and not at all related to time passing.

Once your app hits a (unknown / undisclosed / and perhaps time dependent) critical mass of ratings - the data gets exposed to everyone.

I know nothing other than as a user - sometimes I have left ratings and reviews that never showed up for obscure apps. I have no insider insight and know of nowhere (even inside the NDA discussions) where this is actually documented.


This comes up from time to time and, like always, it's probably safe to say that any algorithms related to the App Store rankings, comments, reviews are all company secrets that no one is going to divulge. The same goes for the number of downloads for any app. Unless SI states publicly how many downloads they have so far, there's no way to really find out as Apple treats that information with the strictest confidence. I would be very surprised if anyone had viable (actionable) answers to your questions.


I have rated many major apps, mostly with positive feedback, such as GarageBand, The Simpsons Tapped Out, and Bejewled, and I have never seen one of my reviews appear on the App Store.

  • 1
    Did you mean to submit this as a help request to Apple? We, unfortunately, aren't affiliated with Apple at all. I recommend checking this out for feedback. Commented May 27, 2013 at 23:44