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yelp local reviewsOne of the worst issues I have with my friends is when we are driving in the car, our stomachs start rumbling, and we simply don’t know where to eat. There’s often tennis-like banter between us filled with statements like “You pick!” and “No, you pick!” It never ends. Miles will typically pass until we run out of gas, and at that point, we don’t even know which tow-truck to call.  These are typically the saddest days of my life.

Granted, it doesn’t have to be that way. With the graphic-heavy Yelp for the iPhone, you can find great eats and decent towing services for all your friend-related argumentative needs! Below, I have the lowdown on what I consider one of the best user-generated business review apps for the iPhone.

Bring The Browser Version To Your Mobile

The browser version of Yelp allows you to easily type in your location, a description (or specific name) of where you want to eat, and voilá! You’ll find lots of reviews freely available explaining just how many insects prior customers found in their roast beef sandwiches. Furthermore, it fancies itself as a kind of social network that replaces communication and updates with reviews and ratings.

That said, the iPhone app does pretty much the same exact thing in mobile form. There are a few unique features (which we will cover), but everything seems fairly familiar.

yelp local reviews

Yelp takes business recommendations to a whole new level by sharing user-generated reviews. Granted, this can be a little iffy. Since the reviews aren’t by hired professionals, there is likely a higher chance for bias. Then again, since these reviewers don’t (likely) have the potential to be paid by the businesses themselves, they have an opportunity to be as honest as possible.


Additionally, there are no editorial guidelines to follow, and sometimes the best reviews are the ones with no holds barred.

review local businesses yelp

review local businesses yelp

Get Social With Reviews

In an effort to maintain authenticity and trustworthiness with Yelp Reviews, there is actually a friending system like any other social network. That said, if you trust your buddy in one situation, you might be able to trust his opinion on your local mechanic. The app allows for aesthetically-pleasing friend information.

Granted – at least for me – it was hard to find many of my friends using the Yelp app. Even still, if you are lacking friends, you can use your feed to read incoming reviews by other Yelpers.

review local businesses yelp

Another Yelp feature is Talk which utilizes something akin to a “message-in-a-bottle” system. Here, you can post a message out to local Yelpers ranging from “Where should I eat tonight?” all the way to “Has anyone had experience with the woolen socks at Bob’s Department Store?” Hopefully, other users will respond to your message with helpful answers.

yelp for iphone

Yelp also offers deals to its users which you can redeem in-app (for money), but more exclusively, you can redeem discounts by checking in to local businesses. As someone who typically doesn’t pay more than 50% of the actual price for pizza every single time I order delivery, this was nice.

yelp for iphone

However, these are just the cooler features that Yelp for iPhone has to offer. Here are some other specs worth taking a look at:

  • Instant access to Apple Maps for directions.
  • The ability to call businesses in-app.
  • Instant access to nearby business information.
  • Bookmarks for remembering favorite businesses.

Contribute To The Pool

Rather than mooching off contributions by other Yelpers, you can also write your own information on-the-go with the Yelp app. Bear in mind that you have to be logged in. You can contribute three different types of information using in-app tools:

  • Photos.
  • Reviews.
  • Tips.
With the Yelp appyou can submit photos of local businesses in-app with your iPhone’s camera! This is great for showing exactly what the business looks like to potential customers (and sharing images of that suspicious-looking blood stain in the third booth from the left).

yelp for iphone

Yelp reviews are typically in-depth write-ups by other users that evaluate the pros and cons of each business, and it’s very easy to write your own with the app. They are also paired with a five-star review system for getting a quick summary of each business.

One thing I noticed is that you can’t actually publish a review using the app. You can write it and save a draft, but you actually have to log in to the website to make it available to others. Perhaps this helps with quality control. By forcing you to review the app on a computer, Yelp is free from autocorrect errors. However, I’d much rather just be able to post from my phone.

Tips focus on simple information that would help someone while at the business. Suggestions like “ask for this discount” or “try this menu item” should go here, and these can really help non-locals out. Additionally, you can share these tips with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Augmented Reality At An Arm’s Length

One feature I particularly like about Yelp is Monocle. Using your iPhone’s camera, the app will display the locations of businesses that are close to you in three-dimensional space. Simply look around using the phone as a viewfinder, and you can see business waypoints paired with information including estimated distance, star-system reviews, and the number of in-depth reviews on the business’ information page.

Even better (and slightly creepier), the app will allow you to see your friends’ location using Monocle. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Actually, it just lets you know where your Yelp friends last checked-in.

Please, Please, Please Login

I found only one cardinal sin with Yelp, and that has to do with logging in. It will only happen once in the entire time that you use the app, but it’s worth mentioning. As a note, I believe it’s much more beneficial to use this app if you have an account, but bear with me for a second. Upon first opening Yelp, you’ll be taken to a forced login screen where you’ll be asked if you have an account with Yelp,

Here you have two options: Yes, Log in or No.

yelp local reviews

If the latter is chosen, you’ll be asked if you want to log in with your Facebook account. After opting out of that, you’ll be sent to a screen where you can make an on-site account instead. Granted, there is the option to click cancel, but that is a whole lot of work to not log in. Apps should be designed to be as fluid as possible, and even though these are just a few minor steps, it’s a bit frustrating.

Despite how this is technically voluntary, Yelp’s way of bringing in new accounts is akin to an obsessive girlfriend who isn’t really your girlfriend yet.

Yelp In A Nutshell

Simply put, Yelp serves as a platform offering specific review needs that most consumers want. That said, it is only a platform. Reader beware, for each and every review is user-generated.

If you liked Yelp for the iPhone, check out these articles:

What do you like about Yelp for iPhone? Have you ever used Yelp for iPhone before?

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  1. Mac Witty
    December 26, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Yelp as a service was very good when visiting US. Not very helpful in Sweden why I haven tried the app but might give the service a new chance with the redesigned app

  2. Fawad Mirzad
    December 25, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Unfortunately even registration form do not have my country (Afghanistan) listed.
    Hopefully they expand their service here as well. or some other company start a similar service for us

    • Joshua Lockhart
      December 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      Sorry to hear that, Fawad. Maybe something more global will pop up.

  3. Eric Wilborn
    December 25, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Don't have an iPhone but my wife does. Seems like a great depiction of the app, though! Love using the website.

    • Joshua Lockhart
      December 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      Basically, they just redesigned what they already have created for more on-the-go functionality. It's pretty cool.