Since at least the iOS 11 beta, the App Store has been prioritizing old reviews from several years ago for some users. Now that the software update is publicly released, we’re starting to receive more user reports about the change.
On my own iPhone, the first review for Facebook is from 2008, the year the App Store launched. The reviewer called it a nice app that allows him to stop using Facebook over text messaging, which is clearly a dated comment.
Similarly, the first review I can see for the Skype app is seven years old. The reviewer said he was glad the app finally has the ability to make phone calls over a 3G network, a feature added way back in May 2010.
Old reviews appeared at or near the top of the list for several regularly updated apps in my testing, including Airbnb, Dropbox, Google Maps, Instagram, Minecraft, Netflix, Twitter, Waze, WhatsApp, Yelp, and YouTube.
It’s worth noting that I live in Canada. A few MacRumors editors living in the United States checked the App Store and saw much newer reviews for the Facebook app, although they were shown a three-year-old review for the Google app.
A handful of MacRumors forum members living in the United States report seeing very old reviews, however, so there doesn’t appear to be any consistency to this change. Your mileage may vary completely.
“Now I have to wade through 6-yr-old app reviews, which are worthless,” said MacRumors forum member AllergyDoc, whose location is listed as Utah.
“For example Evernote, the first four reviews are older than three years old,” said MacRumors forum member vahdyx, who lives in Colorado. “One of the reviews were from when Obama was a new president.”
Many users are frustrated because Apple currently provides no way to sort the reviews in a different order on iOS 11.
Ideally, the App Store should be displaying reviews in reverse chronological order to ensure the newest comments are at the top. A few slightly older reviews mixed in is surely fine, but reviews from 2008 aren’t particularly helpful.
Previously, reviews would only show for the latest version of an app, but that is currently not the case on both iOS 10 and iOS 11.
It’s quite possible that this is simply a bug, and if so, it’s probably an easy fix that might not even require a software update. MacRumors has reached out to Apple for comment, and we’ll update this article if we hear anything back.