Picture this. You are perusing Apple’s App Store for a new game to play or app to use and you spot one with hundreds of glowing reviews. You download, boot it up, and it is barely useable. How did those glowing reviews come about? Here is everything you need to know about fake app store reviews.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Fake app store reviews have run rampant in recent years, as a multitude of companies exists to service app developers with these fraudulent reviews.
  • To spot a fake review, pay special attention to the syntax, reading it to see if it seems like an actual person wrote it.
  • You should report any reviews that are suspected to be fake, as Apple will perform its own inquiry.

What is the Apple App Store?

The Apple App Store is their walled-garden e-commerce platform that sells apps and games for iPhones, iPads, Macbooks, Apple Watch devices, and more.

Insider Tip

The Apple App Store is their walled-garden e-commerce platform that sells apps and games for iPhones, iPads, Macbooks, Apple Watch devices, and more.

Are There Fake Reviews on the App Store?

Yes, there are plenty of fake reviews on the App Store and these apps often rake in millions of dollars before being caught by Apple. These apps and games are typically usable, as Apple has a robust submission policy in place that denies most of the apps and games that apply. However, they could offer a substandard user experience that in no way deserves hundreds of five-star ratings.

How Can You Spot Fake App Store Reviews?

Here are some things to be on the lookout for as you shop around Apple’s App Store.

Insider Tip

If you are reading through an app’s reviews and you see a sudden influx of positive five-star reviews, you should proceed with caution.

Sudden Influx of Positive Reviews

If you are reading through an app’s reviews and you see a sudden influx of positive five-star reviews, you should proceed with caution. The app developer could have hired a review farm to inundate the review page with hundreds of positive reviews to increase the overall star rating or to busy a mound of negative reviews. Keep scrolling to find real reviews by actual customers. As a rule of thumb, keep scrolling until you reach your first three-star review, then start taking the reviews seriously. Also, take caution when deciding what businesses to frequent based on what might be fake Yelp reviews.

Poorly Written Reviews

Many fake reviews are written in bulk by algorithms, bots, or lowly paid people in other countries. Be aware of fishy Best Buy product reviews too. You can spot a fake review by taking a closer look at the syntax. Does it read like an actual person wrote it or does it seem uncanny in some way? Does it read like the reviewer speaks native English? Of course, people use the App Store all over the world so you will run into non-native speakers, but if you see dozens in a row and they are all five stars, you should get a bit suspicious.

Warning

The app developer could have hired a review farm to inundate the review page with hundreds of positive reviews to increase the overall star rating or to busy a mound of negative reviews.

F.A.Q.

Can you really trust app store reviews?

In many cases, app store reviews are entirely legitimate and can be trusted. If you are not sure, however, read some online reviews of the app by trusted reviewers. Try not to plunk down your hard-earned money until you are certain the app is worth it.


How do I report fake reviews on the App Store?

Under the “Support” tab, you will find a link to “Contact Us,” which leads to a contact form. Choose the following topics in order, “App Store Questions,” “Customer Reviews,” and “Report a Fraud Concern.” Please note, this process may change as the OS is updated.


Does Apple sell fake products?

Apple does not sell products, but some approved apps on the store do. As a matter of fact, Apple removed over 1,000,000 listings for counterfeit or fake apps in 2020 alone.



STAT: 59% of users check an app’s reviews before installing it, while 80% of consumers don’t trust apps with ratings lower than four stars. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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