In the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom, Apple has introduced a new App Store search recommendations feature that could make it easier to locate games. After you type in a search term, the App Store will try to guess what you’re searching for and recommend terms that, when clicked, will narrow your search results even further and speed up your search for unique types of apps.
According to MacRumors, search suggestions first appeared on some iPhones in April as part of a pilot, but the feature should now be available to all iPhones in the supported regions.
It’s easy to use search recommendations. Let’s say I’m searching for an app to help me make homemade pizza: I can type “pizza” into the App Store’s search field, and other terms like “maker,” “football,” “call,” “calculator,” or “request” will appear. Selecting one of those options narrows the results even more; for example, selecting calculator would bring up apps for measuring the proper ratio of ingredients for pizza dough (which, surprisingly, there are a lot of).
Not all searches currently allow you to pick several suggestions. I was able to improve Apple’s example of “food” by adding “delivery” and “Indian,” but each of my other sample searches only had one filter. A suggested filter does not appear for every quest, either. Apple has been contacted for comment on when suggestions appear.
Ads, which Apple first introduced to App Store search in 2016, are the only thing that regularly appears in search. It’s easy to see how a large Uber Eats or Papa John’s ad above my helpful dough calculator app could derail my attempt to make pizza from scratch. It’s much easier to order delivery than it is to do math.
Such advertisements are likely to enrage Apple’s App Store critics even more; they’ll argue that an independent developer trying to make it easier to find out the ratios of water to flour in pizza shouldn’t have to contend with Uber’s ad budget, just as they don’t think rival apps should be purchasing ads in front of each other’s goods when Apple benefits. However, any update to a search engine has winners and losers, and it’s unclear if this one would make it easier or more difficult for small developers to gain more attention. They could come in handy for anyone who uses the App Store.