As a developer, I’m interested in the marketing and psychology of pricing apps in the store. At the volumes that most of us sell, a $0.99 price tag is never going to allow us to quit the day job. However, does this token amount of money encourage higher App Store ratings? People who pay for an app are not merely kicking the tires - these downloads are carefully considered and are therefore less likely to disappoint.

In an effort to understand if charging for an app benefits ratings, I sampled the current top 200 free and paid iOS apps in the UK store and checked the distribution of the ratings.

Top 200 Free Apps (UK)
Not rated
Top 200 Paid Apps (UK)
Not rated


The distribution is identical! Despite the fact that many of these apps are supported by adverts and in-app purchases, paying for an app does not make us feel like rating it higher. One possible explanation for this could be that customers expect more from a paid app.

For completeness, the raw data as of the time of writing is below.

Top 200 Free Apps (UK)Rating
5 Star Apps (12)
Sniper X with Jason Statham5.00
AirBrush - Best Selfie Editor5.00
Pic Collage - Photo editor with effects and templates for Halloween5.00
Logos Quiz - Guess the most famous brands, new fun puzzle!5.00
Dr. Panda's Postman5.00
Sniper 3D Assassin: Shoot to Kill - by Fun Games For Free5.00
Free Prints - Free Photos Delivered5.00
Soccer Saturday Super 65.00
Citymapper - the ultimate real time public transport app for London, Manchester, Birmingham, Singapore and Hong Kong5.00
Score! World Goals5.00
Shadow Player - Free Music Player Streaming or Streamer Audio Files and Mp3 Tube Pro5.00
Flight Pilot Simulator 3D by Fun Games For Free5.00
4 Star Apps (115)
Smashy Road: Wanted4.50
WhatsApp Messenger4.00
Bike Unchained4.00
Pop the Lock4.50
Spotify Music4.00
Minions Paradise™4.50
Mr. Square4.50
Google Maps4.50
Layout from Instagram4.50
Need for Speed™ No Limits4.00
Don't Fall4.50
Family Farm Seaside - Play Farming & Harvest Game Online Free4.00
Frozen Frenzy Mania4.00
Free Music - Mp3 Downloader & Audio Streamer!4.00
FancyLock - pimp your lock screen wallpaper and customize it with new colorful themes and styles4.50
SoundCloud - Music & Audio4.00
Score! Hero4.50
Bowling King4.50
Happy Wheels4.50
Agar.io4.50 - your music video community4.50
The Walking Dead: No Man's Land4.50
Magic Piano by Smule4.00
Subway Surfers4.50
PAC-MAN 256 - Endless Arcade Maze4.50
Musi - Unlimited Free Music For YouTube4.50
Gmail – email from Google4.00
Candy Crush Saga4.00
Barclays Mobile Banking4.00
JUST EAT - Takeaway food delivery4.50
Shpock boot sale & classifieds app for beautiful things4.50
8 Ball Pool™4.50
Episode - Choose Your Story4.00
Wish - Shopping Made Fun4.50
Crossy Road - Endless Arcade Hopper4.50
Free Music Player - Shiny Music4.00
Case Clicker4.50
Smashy Road4.50
Sing! Karaoke by Smule4.50
Buddyman: Halloween Kick 24.50
Mermaid Princess - Underwater Fun4.00
Clash of Clans4.50
Nectar – Offers and Rewards4.00
Temple Run4.50
Emoji Keyboard 2 - Extra Animated Emojis Icons & New Emoticons Stickers Art App Free4.50
Cooking Fever4.50
ooVoo – Free Video Call, Text and Voice4.50
Despicable Me: Minion Rush4.50
Flipagram - photo video editor with free music for amazing slideshow movies4.50
Lloyds Bank Mobile Banking4.00
MORECAST - Free Premium Weather App4.00
KICK 20164.00
Halifax Mobile Banking4.00
Tube Master - Music,Video,Movie,MP3 Player for YouTube(Free Download)4.50
AutoRap by Smule4.00
Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal4.50
Bike Race Free by Top Free Games4.50
Free Music - Mp3 Player & Audio Streamer4.50
Photo Editor-4.50
Groupon - Deals, Coupons & Shopping: Local Restaurants, Hotels, Yoga & Spas4.50
Candy Crush Soda Saga4.50
Microsoft Word4.00
Temple Run 24.50 Hotel reservations for 750,000+ hotels4.50
YouCam Makeup - Virtual Makeover Studio, Social Beauty Tips & Cosmetic Tutorials4.50
BBC Weather4.50
ZEDGE™ Ringtones & Wallpapers4.00
Talking Tom Jetski4.00
PlayTube - Free Video Player for Youtube4.00
easyJet mobile4.50
Wishbone - Compare Anything4.00
hungryhouse Order Takeaway Online4.00
imo free video calls and chat4.00
Castle Clash by IGG4.00
Geometry Dash Lite4.50
The Sims™ FreePlay4.50
TripAdvisor Hotels Flights Restaurants4.00
Geek - Smarter Shopping4.50
Colorfy: Coloring Book for Adults - Free4.50
Boom Beach4.50
Moovit: Transport App4.00
Snap Upload for snapchat - Send photos & videos from your camera roll4.50
SimCity BuildIt4.50
The movie box & Pro moviebox & playbox free Film HD4.50
WordUp - Word Up brain puzzles game4.50
Gala Bingo – Bingo Jackpots and Exclusive Slot Games4.00
Google Drive - free online storage from Google4.00
Everalbum - Protect your photos & videos with unlimited storage, automatic backup & a private cloud4.00
Waze - GPS, Maps & Social Traffic4.50
Framatic - Magic Photo Collage and Pic Frame Stitch for Instagram FREE4.50
My Talking Tom4.50
Words With Friends4.00
Angry Birds 24.00
Dream Treats - Match Sweets4.00
Peak - Brain Training4.50
Fever - Best things to do in your city4.00
Flow Free4.50
3 Star Apps (47)
Skype for iPhone3.50
iTunes U3.50
Google — the official Search app3.50
Deezer Music3.00
Akinator the Genie FREE3.50
Cloud Music Player & Downloader - Free space with Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box and ownCloud3.50
Shazam - Discover music, artists, videos & lyrics3.50
BBC iPlayer3.00
Microsoft Outlook3.50
Chrome - web browser by Google3.50
My Vodafone3.00
Trainline - Live Train Times, Cheap National Rail Tickets & UK Journey Planner3.50
Yik Yak3.50
AliExpress Shopping App3.50
music.mp3 - Free MP3 Music & Live Radio Streamer and Playlist Manager3.50
Google Translate3.50
Sky Go3.00
Google Earth3.50
Coral Sports Betting App - Best odds on the Premier League & Rugby World Cup3.00
Domino's Pizza3.00
Personal Banking3.50
Slingshot - Defend Your Opinion3.50
HSBC Mobile Banking3.00
QR Reader for iPhone3.50
POF - Free Dating App3.00
iDownloads PLUS FREE - Downloader and iDownload Manager3.50
Tube Map London Underground3.50
Indeed Job Search3.50
Zombie Deathmatch3.50
iPlayer Radio3.00
FIFA 16 Ultimate Team™3.50
Auto Trader3.00
Sky Service3.50
Yahoo Mail – Free Email App3.50
2 Star Apps (24)
Boomerang from Instagram2.00
Guitar Hero® Live2.50
New Emoji - Extra Emojis - FREE2.50
All 42.50
MY EE2.00
BBC News2.50
ITV Player2.50
Music Player - Free Unlimited Music & Mp3 Player & Playlist manager for SoundCloud2.00
Fit the Fat2.50
Ladbrokes Sports – Mobile In-Play Betting & Live Updates for Football Games, Horse Racing & Tennis2.50
My O22.50
Free Music Play - Mp3 Player & Streamer2.50
National Rail Enquiries2.00
Octo U – The driving score app that saves you money on car insurance2.00
StubHub - Sports, Concert, Theatre, Festival & Show Tickets for Upcoming Local Events & Games2.50
World Craft - Dream Island2.50
Kylie Jenner Official App2.00
Playtube - Free Playlist Manager for YouTube2.50
Sky Sports for iPhone2.50
1 Star Apps (1)
Ryanair - Cheapest Fares1.50
0 Star Apps (1)
Musicloud - Music Player For Cloud Platforms.0.00
Top 200 Paid Apps (UK)Rating
5 Star Apps (14)
Theory Test for Car Drivers UK - Driving Test Success5.00
Geometry Dash5.00
PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist5.00
Evel Knievel5.00
The Beggar's Ride5.00
Lush: Cocktail & Mixed Drink Recipes5.00
The 7 Second Challenge5.00
Sky Guide: View Stars Night or Day5.00
Yoga Studio5.00
Pumped BMX 25.00
Veterinary Emergency Medicine Small Animal5.00
4 Star Apps (118)
Emoji ;)4.00
Minecraft: Story Mode4.00
Minecraft: Pocket Edition4.50
The Official DVSA Theory Test Kit for Car Drivers4.50
Plague Inc.4.50
Heads Up!4.00
Storage Hunters UK : The Game4.50
7 Minute Workout Challenge4.50
Neo Monsters4.50
Ultimate Guitar Tabs - largest catalog of songs with guitar and ukulele chords, tabs, lyrics and guitar lessons4.50
The Chase4.50
Bloons TD 54.50
Rugby Nations 164.00
Tipping Point4.50
Pointless Quiz4.00
Table Tennis Touch4.50
Color Keyboard Maker - Themes with custom colors, backgrounds, fonts and emoji emoticons4.00
Akinator the Genie4.50
Sleep Cycle alarm clock4.50
Scribblenauts Remix4.50
Plane Finder4.50
Doodle Jump4.50
Touchgrind BMX4.50
Sleep Talk Recorder4.50
Football Chairman Pro4.50
Monument Valley4.50
iScanner Pro - Mobile PDF Scanner to Scan Documents, Receipts, Biz Cards, Books.4.50
Five Nights at Freddys 44.50
Goat Simulator4.50
Backflip Madness4.50
Angry Birds4.50
Call of Duty: Zombies4.00
True Skate4.00
Papa's Freezeria To Go!4.50
Football Manager Handheld 20154.00
Five Nights at Freddy's4.00
Hazard Perception Test Volume 14.00
AA Theory Test for Car Drivers4.50
Earn to Die 24.50
Earn to Die4.50
FACEinHOLE® - Who do you want to be today?4.00
Haunt the House: Terrortown4.00
Pimp Your Screen - Custom Themes, Wallpapers, Backgrounds and Cool Theme Maker4.00
Fruit Ninja4.50
Pako - Car Chase Simulator4.50
Emoji Keypad - Keyboard Themes, New Emojis & Stickers4.00
Construction Simulator 20144.00
CGI Hazard Perception Test4.00
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City4.00
Photomyne Pro - Album Scanner4.00
VHS Camcorder4.00
Five Nights at Freddy's 24.50
Lara Croft GO4.50
Iron Ball Ride4.50
Trainz Driver 2 - train driving game, realistic 3D railroad simulator plus world builder4.50
BMX Streets4.00
Brave: Storybook Deluxe4.00
Scanner Pro by Readdle - Scan documents and receipts into PDF or JPEG files4.50
Ghost Hunter M24.00
Papa's Pizzeria To Go!4.00
Full Fitness : Exercise Workout Trainer4.50
Doodle God™4.50
Cleartune - Chromatic Tuner4.00
Parking Mania4.50
Ski Safari: Adventure Time - Stunt Skiing Endless Runner with Finn and BMO4.50
Squeebles Times Tables 24.50
Angry Birds Star Wars4.50
Shopping Cart Hero 34.50
MONOPOLY Here & Now: The World Edition4.00
djay 2 for iPhone4.50
Dude, your car!4.00
MarineTraffic Ships & Wind4.50
Soccer Physics4.00
Virtual Gastric Band Hypnosis - Lose Weight Fast!4.50
Granny Smith4.50
Ship Finder4.00
Stuggy Vines - The Official Soundboard4.00
Five Nights at Freddy's 34.50
Red Onion - Tor-powered web browser for anonymous browsing4.50
Secret Photo+Video Vault - The Ultimate Private Photo & Video Manager4.50
Slow Shutter Cam4.00
PhotoSync - wireless photo and video transfer, backup and share app4.50
Tweetbot 4 for Twitter4.50
80 Days4.50
Ultimate Food Value Diary Plus4.50
Sleep Talk & Snoring Recorder4.00
Oyster Balance & Refund4.50
Farming Simulator 164.00
AG Drive4.00
Ultimate Horse Simulator4.00
Mira Selfie Editor4.50
The Official DVSA Highway Code4.00
ProCamera + HDR, Photo Editing, Custom Filters, Effects and Video4.50
The Amazing Spider-Man 24.00
CARROT Weather - Talking Forecast Robot4.50
Card Wars - Adventure Time Card Game4.00
Football Teasers 34.00
White Noise Baby4.00
Infinite Flight - Flight Simulator4.00
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-44.00
Backbreaker 2: Vengeance4.50
Runtastic PRO GPS Running, Walking, Jogging, Distance Tracking and Marathon Training4.50
Toca Hair Salon 24.50
sugar, sugar4.50
Official 2015 CITB MAP HS&E test PLUS4.00
Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies4.00
Pocket God4.00
3 Star Apps (40)
Aerofly 2 Flight Simulator3.50
Frozen: Storybook Deluxe - Now with Frozen Fever!3.00
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas3.50
Truck Simulator PRO 20163.50
My Baby's Beat - Baby Heart Monitor App3.50
THE GAME OF LIFE Classic Edition3.50
The Sims 33.50
TomTom U.K. & Ireland3.50
Model My Diet - Women - Weight Loss Motivation with Virtual Model Simulation3.00
Tangled: Storybook Deluxe3.50
Deliciously Ella3.50
Sonic the Hedgehog3.50
Wreck-It Ralph Storybook Deluxe3.50
Shift Worker3.50
Daddy Pig's Puddle Jump3.00
Carbs & Cals - Count your Carbs & Calories with over 3,500 Food & Drink Photos!3.00
Crystal - Ad free web browsing. Block ads now!3.50
The Amazing Spider-Man: An Origin Story3.50
PAUSE - Relaxation at your fingertip3.00
NBA 2K163.00
Dark Sky - Hyperlocal Weather, Radar, and Storm Alerts3.50
Official Life in the UK Test – 3rd Edition3.50
Multiplayer Mods for Minecraft PE- PocketMine For Cops N Robbers & Skyblock & Hunger Games3.00
Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion3.50
The Sims 3 Ambitions3.50
Carp Fishing Simulator3.50
Cars 2 World Grand Prix Read and Race3.00
iFootpath - Modern Walking Guides in the Palm of Your Hand3.50
The Impossible Game3.50
Photon Flash Player for iPhone - Flash Video & Games plus Private Web Browser3.50
Back to the Future: Flux Capacitor3.50
Papa's Cupcakeria To Go!3.00
Avengers Origins: Hulk3.00
The Lion King: Timon's Tale3.00
Sumotori Dreams3.50
Now Remote3.50
2 Star Apps (10)
Fantasy Premier League 2015/16 - Official App2.00
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons2.00
The Wonder Weeks2.50
Grindr Xtra - Gay, same sex, bi, social network to chat and meet guys2.50
Big Hero 6: Baymax Blast2.00
TeamSpeak 32.50
Memory-Map | GPS navigation with Ordnance Survey maps2.50
The Earth by Tinybop2.50
The Cube2.50
1 Star Apps (7)
New Emoji - Extra Emoji Stickers1.50
Smart Watch Notice1.00
BringGo Western Europe1.50
PlayTube Pro : Playlist Manager for YouTube1.00
80s Arcade Games!1.00
The Official DVSA Hazard Perception Practice1.50
Sickipedia Jokes - PRO1.50
0 Star Apps (11)
Inside Out: Storybook Deluxe0.00
Bridge to Another World: The Others - A Hidden Object Adventure (Full)0.00
Please, Don't Touch Anything0.00
Buttafyngas Dirty0.00
Premium Music Search Pro for Spotify Premium +0.00
Cut the Rope0.00
Peppa Pig: Halloween Pumpkin Party0.00
Official 2015 CITB op/spec HS&E test PLUS0.00
DNA Play0.00
TubexPlay - Video Player & Playlist Manager for Youtube0.00
Official 2015 CITB op/spec HS&E test0.00