A week-long iOS App Store bug wiped out over 20M ratings

TechCrunch | 10/30/2019 | Staff
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An accidental sweep of the App Store removed over 20 million ratings from the most popular apps — including from well-known brands like Google, Microsoft, Starbucks, Hulu, Nike, and others — as well as from smaller developers. The issue began on October 23, 2019 and wasn’t resolved until yesterday, October 29. Apple hasn’t yet explained how such a sizable and impactful change to app ratings occurred.

This massive ratings drop was spotted by the mobile app insights platform, Appfigures.

Firm - Apps - Developers - Sweep - Total

The firm found that more than 300 apps from over 200 developers were affected by the sweep, which wiped out a total of 22 million app reviews from the App Store. On average, apps saw a 50% decrease in ratings in the affected countries, which included the U.S.

The U.S. was hit the hardest, however, as some 10 million ratings disappeared. But the sweep was global in nature, hitting all 155 countries Apple supports. China, the U.K., South Korea, Russia, and Australia, also felt a noticeable impact.

Apps - Others - Hulu - Example - %

A few apps were hit harder than others. Hulu, for example, lost a whopping 95% of ratings in the U.S., while Dropbox and Chase lost 85%. Several companies affected by the bug declined to comment, but told us that the rating removals weren’t done at their request — they were just as surprised as everyone else.

Other big apps that saw their ratings disappear in the U.S. included Chase, Walgreen, Venmo, Amazon Prime Video, Southwest, Hotels.com, Disneyland, Ibotta, ESPN, Amex, Xoom, Fandango, Skyscanner, Google Classroom, Nike SNKRS, My Disney Experience, Old Nav, and others.

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