Apple Shifts to Editorially Curated Lists on App Store

Apple has quietly changed the way it promotes new and popular apps on the App Store, shifting from algorithmically generated lists to editorially curated content last month. TechCrunch reports that the "Games" section, for example, no longer has "New," "What's Hot," or "All iPhone (Free & Paid)" categories, which have been replaced with editor curated lists such as "Best New Games" and "More Games You Might Like," the latter based on a customer's purchase history.App Store Games Section Curated

"What’s also notable about the changes is that this represents the first time the Games’ subcategory pages (e.g., Action, Adventure, Racing, Trivia, etc.) have included editorially created lists," reports TechCrunch. "These pages now have their own banner art at the top as well in order to better highlight the best new games within those sections. Within each subcategory page, consumers can browse editorial collections including 'Best New Games,' 'All-Time Greats,' 'Free,' and 'Pay Once & Play.'"

The move towards editorial curation was expected given the multiple job listings that Apple has posted for App Store and iTunes editors in recent months, including one specifically for the games section.

"This position is responsible for the discovery, selection, and promotion of games on the Apple App Stores. Working under the direction of the Editorial Manager for Games, they are tasked with ensuring all games selected for promotion are played and scrutinized to the highest level of standards," the job description for an "Editor, Games, App Store" position posted in late April reads.

The report claims that some app developers have seen between 30% to 90% fewer organic app downloads since the changes were made, although the move away from automatically generated app lists is not expected to negatively impact most developers. In fact, editorial curation should help developers with truly useful apps gain some well-deserved exposure on the App Store, rather than clone or rip-off apps that sometimes slipped through Apple's old automated process.

Following the surging popularity and subsequent removal of Flappy Bird from the App Store a few years ago, for example, a number of developers were quick to release copycat versions of the app with similar app icons, titles, graphics and gameplay. At any given time, at least a few of those apps were often undeservingly featured under the algorithmically generated lists on the App Store such as "New" or "What's Hot" based on total downloads and other factors.

There are over 1,400,000 apps available on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod.

Top Rated Comments

farewelwilliams Avatar
77 months ago
now i just gotta find these guys to pay them off to promote my app
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
77 months ago
So now it be all the big companies (facebook, Google, EA) get the spotlight - not just indie apps :/
This could be turn into paid promotion soon...
I would've thought that algorithmically generated lists would overlook unpopular, quality apps, and the editorially curated lists would increase the chance of some random quality app being found and placed in the spotlight.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JetTester Avatar
77 months ago
I'll be happy when they give me some control over what apps are shown. For example, I'd love to be able to check a selection that says "Don't show any games". That seems to be 90% of the available apps, and 0.1% of what I'm looking for.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
name99 Avatar
77 months ago
Everything old is new again...

How long till we hear allegations of payola in the promotion of apps? (I'm guessing accepting payola will never be official Apple policy [that's reserved for the "strategic" promotion of apps from the companies that Apple wants something from], but I could imagine a little industry starting of "consultants" who happen to know which Apple curators will move an app onto the list for a gift of $500...)

[Let me be clear. I'm not blaming/accusing Apple here, and I don't have a better suggestion. This is a statement about how humans are infinitely corruptible, and there's always a business that grows up to exploit that; it's not a comment about Apple.
I think the main thing Apple needs to do is ensure right away that this isn't possible, perhaps through randomly assigning possible apps to reviewers/curators, so that there is no one "the driving games" guy that everyone knows is the guy to bribe if you want your hame on the list. If there are ten such guys, each getting a random collection of apps and with no ability to choose from outside that random collection, it's rather more difficult to arrange bribes for a particular apps. (Of course then you just start arranging the bribes by conglomerate... "$500 for each item on this list of twenty that you promote"?) Like I said, hard problem.
]
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
k1121j Avatar
77 months ago
i hope the lists aren't as stale as they are currently i get sick of seeing the same apps in every list all the time
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mdelvecchio Avatar
77 months ago
MR: was the Flappy Birds thing really a few years ago? I thought it was last year?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
Google maps feaure green

Google Maps App for iOS Finally Updated After Four Months

Monday April 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Following the completed rollout of App Privacy labels for its App Store apps, Google today updated the Google Maps app for the first time in four months. Apple in December began requiring all new app submissions and app updates to include App Privacy labels, detailing the data that is collected by the app so consumers know what they're sharing. Google didn't begin implementing App Privacy ...
pixel watch prosser leak

Google Pixel Watch Allegedly Leaks with Circular Design, Rumored to Launch in October

Monday April 12, 2021 2:49 am PDT by
Renders of Google's first smartwatch, codenamed "Rohan," have been shared by Jon Prosser, showing that Google plans to adopt a circular design for its flagship wearable watch. Prosser shared the renders in an episode of his YouTube show "Front Page Tech," in which he claims they were made based on marketing material he had seen from a source within Google. The renders show that the Pixel...
apple event hashflag

Twitter Hashflag for April 20 Apple Event Goes Live

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:21 pm PDT by
Following the overnight Siri leak and subsequent announcement that Apple will hold a media event on Tuesday, April 20, a new Twitter hashflag has appeared to help provide visibility for the event on the platform. For the last several recent events, Apple has utilized hashflags, which are little icons next to hashtags on Twitter, as a way to market its events. The company first started the...
macos catalina serial number

Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Wednesday April 14, 2021 2:08 am PDT by
Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products. MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling...
iphone12cameras

Kuo: 2022 iPhones to Feature 48-Megapixel Camera, 8K Video, and 6.1 and 6.7" Sizes With No 5.4" Mini Option

Tuesday April 13, 2021 10:45 pm PDT by
The upcoming 2022 iPhone lineup will feature two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices, with no mini-sized 5.4-inch iPhone, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Two of the iPhones will be high-end models and two of the iPhones will be lower-end models, similar to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple introduced the 5.4-inch...
AppleTV and HomePod Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on New Apple TV With Integrated HomePod Speaker and FaceTime Camera

Monday April 12, 2021 3:32 am PDT by
Apple is working on a combined Apple TV with HomePod speaker that has a camera for video calls through a connected television set, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions,...
epic iap feature 3

Tim Cook Says App Store Would Become a 'Flea Market' if Third-Party Payment Systems Were Allowed

Monday April 12, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
In a recent interview with the Toronto Star, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about a wide variety of topics, ranging from App Tracking Transparency to Apple's ongoing legal battle over App Store policies with Fortnite creator Epic Games. Notably, Cook said that Epic Games' desire for Apple to let developers offer their own payment systems in apps "would make the App Store a flea market":At the...
tim cook toronto star

Tim Cook Says Apple is 'Not Against Digital Advertising' Ahead of iOS 14.5 Launch With App Tracking Transparency

Monday April 12, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, Apple will be requiring apps to receive a user's permission to track their activity for targeted advertising purposes, as part of a privacy measure known as App Tracking Transparency. Ahead of App Tracking Transparency being enforced, Apple CEO Tim Cook has participated in a privacy-focused interview with the Toronto Star, telling the...