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App Store Algorithm Failures Reported in Several Countries


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

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, however it is generally accepted among developers that install frequency, reviews, star ratings, engagement and sales play a combined role.

Article Link: App Store Algorithm Failures Reported in Several Countries


macrumors member
Apr 2, 2012
To me it's pretty cool that Phil (and others) respond to customers so often. Try that with any other company (well maybe John Legere).


macrumors 68040
Oct 22, 2011
Newcastle, England.
**** happens. Something went wrong and they inevitably fixed it. People voicing their displeasure when they've got nothing better to do.

Noble Actual

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2014
To me it's pretty cool that Phil (and others) respond to customers so often. Try that with any other company (well maybe John Legere).
I know a few that do (follow them on Twitter).

Phil Spencer - Microsoft/Xbox

Dustin Browder - Blizzard/HoTS Team


macrumors newbie
Nov 11, 2015
Can confirm it happens in the Canada store. It is a little frustrating when trying to find an app and this mess comes up.


Oct 12, 2014
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
About time this got some attention. The Canadian App Store has been a mess for at least 2 months now (probably longer.) Along with all the similar named apps using numbers and symbols that have pretty zero to do with the category they're showing in, some of the apps aren't even English, some are Chinese or something, the entire app, not just the name. Sent feedback with multiple screenshots ages ago.
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