Apple has moved age ratings in the App Store to a higher, more prominent position, right at the top between the app and developer name, and the star rating. Like the previous change, which added a clear, highly visible label to apps offering in-app purchase, it seems designed to make important information easier to see, and hopefully better inform customers of what they're downloading before they download it...
...except, of course, for age ratings on the App Store are still confusing. For example, 1Password (pictured above) is rated 17+, which is now very easy to see. There's a legitimate case to be made that since 1Password -- and many, many other apps -- provides a built-in web browser, it could be used to browse for adult content like porn. However, rating it 17+ like a blood-and-skin-filled video game, can give people a completely wrong impression of the contents and purpose. "Does contain" and "may contain" are completely different things. (And here's where I stuff the clichéd "Apple's own Safari browser doesn't have a 17+ warning" bit.)
So yeah, moving the age rating up is great, but figuring out a way to make sure it properly reflects but the content and intent -- deliberate vs. potential -- would be even better. Perhaps a separate or extended rating for apps with web browsers would work. Even making the new, higher-placed rating tappable with a popup that explains the rationale behind the rating would be helpful.
Either way, it's nice to see Apple working on improving the App Store. Hopefully search gets a lot of love soon as well...
Meanwhile, share your thoughts on the change, and on how ratings could better reflect the types of apps being rated.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.