In context: For years, iPhone users have had to live with unremovable native iPhone apps. In 2015, Tim Cook explained the reason for that was that some of the pre-installed software on the iPhone and iPad was interconnected and that removing them could cause problems elsewhere in iOS. He mentioned that that could change in the future, and it did with iOS 14 last year.
As of last September 2020, you can delete built-in apps and re-install them later from the App Store. However, Apple's native software listings differed from those of other developers, as Cupertino disabled the store's ratings and reviews on its first-party apps.
Now with building pressure from lawsuits, regulators, and lawmakers over anticompetitive behavior in the App Store, Apple has quietly enabled reviews and ratings for its built-in apps. 9to5Mac first noticed the change on Wednesday, saying that reviews were already piling up—many negative.
Indeed, Apple's Podcast app has mostly negative ratings with an average two-star review. Many of the negative reviews complain about the interface, which was re-built for iOS 15. The native Translate app has only a slightly better average (2.2), with most complaining about its poor copy/paste functionality.
Not all of Apple's software is negatively ranked. The Find My app is just shy of a four-star average (3.9), as is the sleep tracking app (3.8). Of course, some apps are subject to a low number of reviews, so scores are still in the process of leveling out. Whether positive or negative, allowing users to rate Apple's apps should put it on a more level playing field with other developers with competing software.
It's worth mentioning that rating and review system for native apps is only available in iOS 15. TechSpot has confirmed that updating from 14 to 15 enables the feature if you do not see it in the App Store.
Image credit: James Yarema