Burned by the App Store?

It’s easy to get burned in the iPhone App Store. If this happens to you, don’t panic. Here are five quick steps you can take to get back on your feet. Re-read the Application Description

  1. Go back to the description page in the store and do some research. Are the problems that you encountered explicitly listed in the Application Description? It takes time to learn what to look for when skimming the description – most (good) developers are honest about what their app can and cannot do. If the developer is upfront about the deficient features, don’t be too harsh when dealing with them.
  2. Contact the Developer
    The developer usually leaves the address of a support website. Clicking on that link in iTunes will bring up the support page in your internet browser. If you feel the deficiencies are fixable, but the app still has some worth, send the developer an email. Take a positive tone, while still pointing out the features that need to be fixed. It may take some time to hear back from them, or you might not get a response at all. If the developer is getting too many feedback emails they may just post the update in the app store and call it a day.
  3. Write a Customer Review
    Even if you’ve sent an email, you should let other customers know that the app just isn’t ready for primetime. They may still buy it, but at least they won’t feel as burned as you do. What sort of review should you write? Don’t be hostile, or people will ignore your review. List the negative aspects of the application, but don’t forget to mention the ways they interfere with the positive aspects. Use your review to send suggestions to the developer (especially if a contact website is not listed). If you like some aspects of the app, give it 2 stars. There’s no need for one star if there are redeeming qualities – remember that customers will tune out overly negative or overly positive reviews.
  4. Look for a Replacement
    Even if the developer has an update in the works, you downloaded that app to fill a need now. Look for a better version of what you bought. Do some research online – a Google search for “iPhone app” + functionality should do the trick.

    • If you spent money on the original, take a lot of time with this step. You don’t want to purchase another problematic application, otherwise you’ll be throwing your iPod/iPhone across the room (and that’ll cost much more than what you spent on the app).
    • If you got the app for free, try out a few more free versions (don’t forget to check web apps too). Sometimes the free version doesn’t cut it, and you’ll need to shell out some cash for an app that works. If that’s the case, see the above bullet point.
  5. Don’t Delete the App
    If you’re going to wait for updates, or you haven’t found a replacement, don’t delete the app from your device. Keeping it there will act as a reminder that you still need that functionality. If you’re waiting for a feature update, use the App Store button to periodically check for updates. You can move unwanted apps to a new page if you don’t want to waste space – I keep a “Trash” list on the last page on my iPod.
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