App Store

The App Store is Apple's digital software distribution platform for iOS devices. First introduced in 2008, the App Store allows software developers to distribute content that has been created specifically for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Apps are also available on the Apple Watch through the iOS App Store.

There are well over a million apps in the App Store, and customers have downloaded more than 100 billion apps since the App Store debuted. App Store apps are available with three pricing options: free (and usually supported by ads), free with in-app purchases, or a set cost starting at $0.99 in the US.

In 2010, Apple introduced the Mac App Store for distributing content on Macs, and in 2015, Apple introduced the tvOS App Store, an app store for to the fourth-generation Apple TV.

'App Store' Articles

Some Users Experiencing Issues With App Store and iTunes Store

Some iOS and Mac users are currently unable to access the App Store, Mac App Store, and iTunes Store, according to reports from MacRumors readers and Twitter users. When attempting to load the App Store on some devices, the Featured and Top Charts section are blank, and some users are reporting receiving "Cannot Connect to iTunes" messages when attempting to use the iTunes Store. App Store updates appear to be functional for some users despite the connectivity issues. Apple's system status page has not yet been updated to reflect any kind of outage and it is not clear how many users are affected.

Apple's 'Apps for Earth' Campaign Raises More Than $8M for World Wildlife Fund

Apple and the World Wildlife Fund this week announced that the recent "Apps for Earth" promotion has raised more than $8 million in proceeds to support the WWF's conservation work. The Apps for Earth promotion, timed to take place to celebrate Earth Day, ran from April 14 to April 24 and saw dozens of apps offering special in-app purchases with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to the World Wildlife Fund. Many of the participating apps, which included titles like VSCO, Trivia Crack, Hearthstone, and Angry Birds 2, heavily promoted the fundraiser, even going so far as to change app icons and graphics during the time that it ran. Apple itself updated the theme of the App Store's front page to highlight the promotion, displaying environmentally conscious messages and themed categories. THANK YOU! $8 million raised through @AppStore's #AppsforEarth will advance conservation! https://t.co/zEqygxYJUx— World Wildlife Fund (@World_Wildlife) June 15, 2016 Apple has twice partnered with the World Wildlife Fund, and in addition to the app fundraiser, Apple in 2015 began a multi-year project with the WWF designed to protect up to 1 million acres of responsibility managed working forests in

TestFlight Updated With Support for Testing Apps in iOS 10, watchOS and tvOS Betas

Apple today announced the debut of a selection of new features and resources available to developers to help them test, optimize, and analyze their iOS, watchOS, and tvOS apps. Apple’s TestFlight beta testing platform has been updated with support for iOS 10, watchOS 3 and tvOS 10, so developers can begin testing apps incorporating new features like SiriKit immediately and providing betas to beta testers. The update, originally released on June 13, adds features like a 3D Touch Quick Action to all apps so beta testers can get feedback on new features quickly. Apple has also updated its App Analytics feature with data on App Store Impressions, allowing developers to tell how many times an app’s icon has been viewed in App Store search results, the Featured section of the App Store, the Top Charts, and the App Store product page. Today’s developer news also highlights a new support page outlining how to optimize for App Store search, with tips like choosing accurate keywords, using a simple and memorable app name, correctly using App Store categories, and more. iOS 10, watchOS 3, tvOS 10, and macOS Sierra will be released to the public in the fall following an extended beta testing

Spotify Says App Store Changes Don't 'Get to the Core of the Problem'

After Apple announced a handful of new changes heading to the App Store under Phil Schiller's reign -- including a new revenue split for subscriptions and ads in search results -- Spotify recently commented its opinion on the announcements. Speaking with The Verge, Jonathan Prince, Spotify's head of corporate communications and global policy, said simply, "It's a nice gesture, but doesn't get to the core of the problem." One of Spotify's major hangups centers around the fact that the new rules still prohibit apps from offering "special offers or discounts," because price flexibility is prohibited. The Cupertino company's policy makes sure that it's a constant presence between the customer and developer, "which means developers will continue to lack visibility into why customers churn." "Unless Apple changes its rules, price flexibility is prohibited, which is why we can never provide special offers or discounts, and means we won't have the ability to share any savings with our customers," Prince continued. "Apple still insists on inserting itself between developers and their customers, which means developers will continue to lack visibility into why customers churn — or who even qualifies as a long-term subscriber." Prince also said that the rules make it hard to even determine which customers could be considered as a long-term subscriber - an important factor to take into account now that Apple will take only a 15 percent cut if a user stays subscribed to a service for more than a year. Apple currently takes 30 percent of a subscription fee when users sign up to a

Apple Announces Major App Store Changes Including New Subscription Terms and Search Ads

Apple's Phil Schiller recently sat down with several publications including The Loop and The Verge to detail some of the changes that are going to be made to the App Store under his reign, including major improvements to search, subscription access for all developers, App Store ads when searching for content, and some other smaller tweaks that should go a long way towards improving app discoverability. Apple is opening up app subscriptions to all product categories, giving developers more options for selling their apps and additional ways to earn revenue. An app like Workflow or Fantastical, for example, could be sold on a subscription basis, with customers able to obtain it for a $5/year subscription fee. With that change, developers will be able to charge $5 per year rather than just a flat $5 fee, for an ongoing revenue stream, and they'll also be able to offer a subscription that encompasses multiple apps. Apple also plans to introduce up to 200 new tiered pricing options across different currencies and territories for app subscriptions. Subscription fee changes are also being implemented. Currently, Apple takes a 30 percent cut of subscription fees on the App Store, but now, if a customer stays subscribed to a service for multiple years, Apple will only take a 15 percent cut, leaving 85 percent of profits for developers. That works on a per customer basis, so for customers who subscribe to Netflix through Apple, Netflix will pay Apple 30 percent during the first year and 15 percent the second year. Apple is adding ads to App Store search results, something

Amazon Wants 'Acceptable Business Terms' to Offer Prime Video on Apple TV

At Recode's Code Conference today, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was asked why the online retailer does not sell either the Apple TV or Google Chromecast. Bezos reiterated that Amazon chooses not to sell video streaming devices that do not include Prime Video capability and that the company wants "acceptable business terms" before bringing the the app to devices. We sell Roku, we sell Xbox, we sell PlayStation. We're happy to sell competitive products on Amazon and we do it all day. We sell Nest thermostats. When we sell those devices, we want our Prime Video player to be on the device and we want it to be on the device with acceptable business terms. We can always get the player on the device, the question is whether you can get it on with acceptable business terms. And if you can't, we don't want to sell it to our customers because they're going to be buying it thinking you can watch Prime Video and then they're going to be disappointed and then they're going to return it.When pressed by The Verge's Nilay Patel on whether "acceptable business terms" meant paying Apple's 30 percent cut on in-app purchases and subscriptions, Bezos declined to answer, only stating that he wanted to keep private business discussions private. Amazon ceased selling the Apple TV and Google Chromecast last October, saying that it was important for Prime Video to interact with streaming devices it sells to avoid customer confusion. In November, Amazon confirmed to engineer Dan Bostonweeks that a Prime Video app was in development, with the company saying that it hoped to launch the app by the end

Apple TV App Store Now Hides Downloaded Apps From Top Charts

In an effort to further improve app discoverability, Apple recently implemented a change to the way Top Charts work on the Apple TV. When viewing the Top Paid, Free, and Grossing Charts in the tvOS App Store, Apple TV users no longer see entries for apps they've already downloaded and installed on their set-top box. Individualized, custom Top Chart rankings are now available for all Apple TV users, allowing them to see a dynamic list that changes with each app they download. This behavior is exclusive to the Apple TV App Store and is not reflective of how Top Charts work for iOS devices and Macs. App developer Equinux noticed the change last week, after discovering one of their popular apps was no longer listed in the Top Charts. Equinux thought the app had fallen from the charts at first, before noticing it was simply hidden on Apple TV devices where it was already installed.In turns out, Apple now hides an app in the charts once you've installed it. Give it a try: Go install TV Pro Mediathek (VOD for German TV content) from the App Store (currently #3 Top Grossing in Germany) and then go back in to the App Store: boom - it's gone from the charts and the next-placed app has moved up. This tvOS top charts algorithm change even affects featured apps on the start page: TV Pro Mediathek no longer shows up in its featured slot on the start page of the German App Store once you've installed it. Apple's intention with the change is presumably to make the charts appear 'fresher' and users see more apps that they haven't installed yet.When the Apple TV first launched

Apple's App Review Process Now Takes as Little as Two Days

Apple's app review process has become significantly faster during the first five months of 2016, according to AppReviewTimes.com, a website that tracks average App Store review times for both the iOS and Mac App Store using data crowdsourced from developers on both platforms. App Store approval times have dropped to an average of two days, compared to between eight and ten days in May 2015, based on 328 reviews submitted in the last 14 days. The shorter process has been well received by the developer community, which had grown accustomed to weeklong waits. I’m uncharacteristicly excited about faster review times. Going to be devastated when someone inevitably ruins it.https://t.co/td5QkeUaBb— Paul Haddad (@tapbot_paul) May 5, 2016 Oh, and yet another fast App Store review time of 2 days. Definitely feels like a (welcome) trend of faster review times #iosreviewtimes— John Pollard (@yeltzland) May 4, 2016 Wow, the @AppStore approved my update in 2 days. So much faster. I like the new you App Store.— Aaron Lake (@OrbitalNine) April 4, 2016 "A lot of the way that we build software for iOS is controlled around the fact that you have a one-week release cycle," Button Inc. founder Chris Maddern, whose team has done work for Uber Technologies Inc. and Foursquare Labs Inc., told Bloomberg. "It can now happen within hours of submitting them, which is really awesome because it speeds up the development cycle." Last December, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller took over App Store leadership responsibilities from iTunes and services chief Eddy Cue. Schiller now leads nearly all

'Pocket' for iOS Updated With Like and Repost Actions in Recommended Feed

Pocket, a popular iOS app that allows users to save, discover, and recommend stories to read later, has been updated this week with the ability to like and repost recommendations from other people they follow. The new Like and Repost actions can be found next to the Save action within the Recommendations feed on Pocket version 6.3.0 or later. Pocket users can find out when someone Likes or Reposts their own recommendations by way of push notifications, which can be customized through the Settings app. The update also contains additional bug fixes and improvements, including a fix for an issue with the "Alex" voice speaking too slowly when listening to articles. Pocket is free on the App Store [Direct Link] for iPhone and

App Store Experiencing Widespread Search Issues [Updated]

A significant number of users on Reddit and Twitter, corroborated by multiple tips we have received, are affected by an ongoing App Store issue preventing a number of popular iOS apps from showing up in search results unless already installed, including Google, Periscope, Spotify, Tidal, Tumblr, Uber, Vine, Waze, and many others. The search issues appear to be widespread, affecting iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch customers throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, and elsewhere since early Thursday morning. Apple has yet to update its System Status page with any reported issues as of 6:00 a.m. Pacific, but it has historically been slow in reflecting outages. Update: The search issues also appear to extend to iTunes and the Mac App Store. Update 2: Apple is aware that users have been "experiencing a problem with the App Store" since about 2:00 a.m. Pacific. Apple is "investigating and will update the status as more information becomes available." Update: Apple's System Status page indicates the App Store issues were resolved shortly after 8:00 a.m. Pacific. Search results now appear to be functioning

iTunes Store Accepting Donations to Support Earthquake Relief in Japan and Ecuador

Apple today added banners to the iTunes and App Stores allowing customers to donate to the American Red Cross in support of people affected by the earthquakes that hit Ecuador and Japan last week. Donations made through iTunes and the App Store can be placed using credit cards already on file with Apple, making the donation process simple. Customers are able to donate $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or $200 to relief efforts. 100% of all donations made through iTunes will be given to the American Red Cross. [Direct Link to Donations] 48 people have died in Japan and thousands more were injured after magnitude 6.2 and 7.0 earthquakes hit southwest Japan on April 14 and 16, causing severe damage in the Kumamoto and Ōita prefectures. More than 140 aftershocks have also affected the region. In Ecuador, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit approximately 110 miles from Quito on April 16, killing more than 500 people and injuring thousands more. Apple has used the iTunes Store donation method multiple times in the past to raise money for charity, most recently accepting donations in September to support the refugee and migration crisis across the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. Other previous relief effort fundraising campaigns have included the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the 2013 Phillippines typhoon, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake

Apple's Developer Site Gains Revamped Section Dedicated to App Store Success

Apple today updated its web portal designed for developers with a new section entitled "Making Great Apps for the App Store," aimed at helping developers grow their businesses and reach more users with their apps. Included are resources for planning apps, App Store guidelines, tools for submitting apps, and a section on developer insights featuring stories from developers who have created successful titles. The App Store makes it simple for users around the world to discover, download and enjoy your apps. Grow your business with resources designed to help you create great apps and reach more users.Several sections of the App Store portal have previously existed, including the sections for Guidelines and submitting an app to the App Store, but the revamped site makes these tools easier to find and combines them together in a more logical way. Apple's App Store "Planning" feature, which aggregates some previously available information and offers new tidbits, covers the best methods for choosing effective categories for apps and getting apps discovered, including the qualities Apple seeks when planning to feature an app. It also includes ideal business models, tips for offering subscriptions and freemium apps, using analytics for marketing, and engaging users with app updates. The Developer Insights section includes success stories from developers like Seriously, Grailr, Evernote, and Smule, covering everything from bringing an app to Apple Watch to building a brand on social media. Apple's revamped App Store developer section comes just as the company has

Apple Has 'Secret Team' Working on App Store Changes, Including Paid Search Results

Apple has assembled a secret team dedicated to exploring potential changes that could be made to the App Store, reports Bloomberg. Among the features being considered is an option that would allow developers to pay a fee to have their apps "more prominently displayed," perhaps at the top of a list of search results. Changes to "improve the way" customers browse in the App Store are also under consideration.Among the ideas being pursued, Apple is considering paid search, a Google-like model in which companies would pay to have their app shown at the top of search results based on what a customer is seeking. For instance, a game developer could pay to have its program shown when somebody looks for "football game," "word puzzle" or "blackjack."Apple is said to have approximately 100 employees working on its App Store project under vice president and former iAd leader Todd Terisi, including engineers who formerly worked on the iAd team. According to sources who spoke to Bloomberg, the search team is relatively new and it is not yet known if and when changes will be introduced to the App Store. News of work on App Store changes comes four months after Apple made a significant change to App Store leadership, bringing it under the umbrella of Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller instead of iTunes chief Eddy Cue. App discovery has long been an issue in Apple's App Store. With upwards of 1.8 million apps available in the App Store, it is difficult for users to discover content that isn't available via Apple's featured section or through Top Charts, which often favor big name

New iTunes Metadata Suggests Users May Soon Be Able to Hide Stock iOS Apps

Apple may be laying the groundwork to allow users to remove or hide stock iOS apps, such as Compass and Tips, from their iPhones in an upcoming version of its mobile software, based on recently added metadata keys showing up on App Store apps. As discovered by AppAdvice, Apple several weeks ago added a new pair of keys called "isFirstParty" and "isFirstPartyHideableApp" to the metadata of every App Store listing in iTunes. The new keys allow for a Boolean value of "true" or "false" to denote whether the app would be allowed to be hidden or removed from the user's iPhone. It's unclear whether the metadata is referring to an Apple-approved way to simply hide the first-party apps, or remove them altogether. Last September, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about the long-standing desire by users to remove apps like Stocks and Voice Memos from their iPhones to reduce clutter of unused apps. He admitted the company was at a bit of an impasse over the situation, because while some of its first-party experiences could be removed without much of a headache, certain apps "are linked to something else on the iPhone." Their removal could begin a domino effect of bugs and issues elsewhere in iOS, so implementing a feature allowing their removal would be understandably risky. Image via AppAdvice The hints found in the metadata of iTunes could be the potential solution, with Apple specifically targeting first-party apps that are safe to hide or remove, and letting users decide on their end if they choose to do so. With no official word from Apple on the topic since last year, it's

Starz Launches on iOS and Apple TV as Standalone Streaming Service for $8.99 Per Month

Paid-cable network Starz today announced a new standalone monthly streaming service that will be available to users as an app on iOS, Apple TV, and Google Play stores. Starz's entry into the standalone service market follows fellow networks HBO ($14.99/month) and Showtime ($10.99/month), but will come in at a cheaper price of $8.99/month. The new Starz app can be authenticated as a companion to users who have traditional cable packages, but won't offer live streaming, unlike Showtime's service. The network did say that one unique feature will be that users can download full episodes of any show to watch offline. The Apple TV version of the Starz app will support the universal search function of the new Siri Remote, as well. Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said, “Starz has entered the market today with an enormous value proposition for consumers. Our programing will now be more widely available to the 20 million broadband only homes of cord nevers, cord cutters and cord shavers, including Millennials and other underserved consumers who need other viable subscription service options. To celebrate its launch, the network will make the first episode of the second season of Outlander available on April 7 (two days before its official premiere) to any of the app's users. Starz said that the service will give subscribers access to more than 2,400 selections every month, including original programming like Outlander and the anticipated premiere of American Gods, as well as feature-length films like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Starz app is

Apple Working on Original Television Series About Apps

Apple is working with Will.i.am and TV executives Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens on a new non-scripted television show that will "spotlight the app economy," reports The New York Times. There are no details on the television show beyond the App Store premise, so it is not clear what format episodes will take. Apple executives have not made details like title, timeline, storylines, or episode length public, and there is no information on where the show will be promoted. Given that it's focused on the App Store, it could be made available through an app, shown through the App Store itself, or be made available as a standard television show on iTunes. The App Store series was conceived by Ben Silverman, who presented the idea to Apple. Silverman is an executive producer on shows like Jane the Virgin, The Biggest Loser, Marco Polo, and Flaked. In an interview with The New York Times, Apple iTunes chief Eddy Cue cautioned that the show is not a signal that Apple will be delving deeper into original television and streaming video, despite rumors last year suggesting the company was meeting with Hollywood executives to make a big push into original programming. "One of the things with the app store that was always great about it was the great ideas that people had to build things and create things," Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in an interview. [...] "This doesn't mean that we are going into a huge amount of movie production or TV production or anything like that," Mr. Cue said. He added that the company would

Password-Stealing Instagram App 'InstaAgent' Reappears in App Store Under New Name

Last November, a malicious app called InstaAgent was caught storing the usernames and passwords of Instagram users, sending them to a suspicious remote server. After the app's activities came to light, Apple removed it from the App Store, but it now appears Turker Bayram, the developer behind the app has managed to get two new apps approved by Apple, (and Google) both of which are stealing Instagram account info. Peppersoft developer David L-R, who discovered the insidious password-sniffing feature in the first InstaAgent app, last week wrote a post outlining new password stealing apps created by Bayram. Called "Who Cares With Me - InstaDetector" and "InstaCare - Who Cares With Me," the apps are available on Android and iOS devices. The original InstaAgent app attracted Instagram users by promising to track the people who visited their Instagram account, and the two new apps make similar promises. Both apps say they display a list of users who interact most often with an Instagram account, asking users to log in with an Instagram username and password. David L-R investigated Bayram's new apps and discovered a suspicious HTTPS packet, leading him to uncover a complex encryption process used to covertly send usernames and passwords to a third-party server and hide the evidence. He found both the Android and iOS versions of the app send Instagram account information to unknown servers.As I had a closer look to the iOS app I found out that the app steals the Instagram password & username to send it encrypted to "unknown" servers. The "password-stealing" algorithm

App Store Algorithm Failures Reported in Several Countries

Apple came under fire over the weekend for an apparent failure of its App Store algorithm to rank app categories using any meaningful criteria. Several users took to Twitter to voice their displeasure after subcategories in the App Store Games section were shown to be displaying multiple variations of similarly named apps spanning several pages. More examples quickly followed, and apps with almost identical titles consisting of numbers were shown to dominate several "New", "Featured" and "What's Hot" sections in categories around the world, suggesting a complete breakdown in the way the algorithm processes certain content in the App Store database. The issue was reported by users in several countries, including New Zealand, Spain and the UK, but users in the U.S. were apparently unable to replicate the problem. Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller, who took over App Store leadership in December, responded to the criticism via his Twitter account, promising to investigate the issue. @WesleyDyson @Adora Shouldn't happen. We'll look into it. Thank you.— Philip Schiller (@pschiller) March 13, 2016 Back in November, Apple reportedly made significant improvements to the algorithm that ranks apps in the App Store, although those changes focused on returning more useful results following a specific keyword search. Apple often hand-picks apps for promotion on the App Store landing page based purely on merit, but the bulk of the store's organization is automated. Apple has not revealed specifics about how its algorithm usually sorts listed categories,

Apple Pulls 'FlexBright', Says iOS Apps That Adjust Display Temperature Aren't Allowed

Earlier this week, we shared a blue-light reduction app called FlexBright, which worked similarly to Apple's own Night Shift mode. Apple initially approved the app, which was able to adjust the screen temperature for the entire iPhone, but after it garnered attention following our post, Apple pulled it from the App Store. FlexBright developer Sam Al-Jamal told MacRumors he had worked with Apple through several app rejections to get FlexBright into the App Store and that no private APIs were in use, something that was seemingly confirmed by the app's approval, but further review from Apple led to FlexBright's removal. Al-Jamal has shared Apple's explanation with MacRumors following an "exhausting discussion" with the Cupertino company. "The bottomline is [Apple] won't allow apps to change screen colors," he said. The FlexBright app adjusted the temperature of the screen to make it more yellow, like Night Shift in iOS 9.3 Al-Jamal was given two technical reasons behind FlexBright's removal from the App Store. First, the app was using custom-created classes based on non-public APIs.I recreated three classes based on non-public APIs. Even though these are custom classes that I created, but essentially they're using the same methods as in their non-public APIs.Second, the app was using silent audio to keep FlexBright running in the background, a frowned-upon tactic that can result in battery drain. Late last year, the Facebook app for iOS was using excessive battery life, something caused in part by a silent audio component. FlexBright masked the silent audio with a

Fast Voice Assistant App 'Hound' Comes to iOS, Takes on Siri

A new voice search and personal assistant app called Hound debuted on iOS yesterday that apparently outperforms Siri, Google Search and Cortana in terms of speed and recognition accuracy. Developed by the creators of music-recognition app SoundHound, the new app provides extremely fast responses to complex, nested natural language queries with highly accurate results and location-based suggestions. Hound uses a simple single-button interface similar to the Google Search app for users to tap and ask a question. Alternatively, users can say "Ok, Hound" to initiate a query, which can broach a multitude of subjects, including weather, GPS navigation, directions, Uber, web searches, and local hotel, bar and restaurant queries. As well as stock price, flight status, date, time, alarm and timer requests, users can also activate a Shazam-style music recognition feature called "SoundHound Now", which also responds to sung and hummed queries. Many of the queries are already handled by Apple's voice-activated personal assistant Siri, however it is Hound's reaction speed, language translation and search accuracy that make the app particularly noteworthy, according to The Verge.The app is so fast that it can produce near real-time translations of whole sentences in other languages, and it can spit back mounds of requested data faster than you could ever possibly glean it from Google with a keyboard. [...] The software's true appeal is understanding questions within questions and sussing out human context. You can give it sprawling, absurd requests nested inside