Blog index

Apple changes the AppStore algorithm: everything you need to know

App Market Insights

Apple changes the AppStore algorithm: everything you need to know

Over the last few years, the AppStore algorithm has been updated a few times without achieving Apple’s goals to ban cheaters and robotic downloads. This summer, Apple finally introduced a new algorithm, entirely redesigned to push forward newer apps with better reviews and reputation…

Average App Store Rank by Rating

Reputation comes first

Until now, download volumes and velocity were the two most important factors for rankings on the App Store. Though, Apple recently changed the App Store algorithms to push forward the best apps instead of the “most popular” apps. This is a huge change for developers, who are now facing a new challenge. As a matter of fact, download volumes are less important than they used to be. In other words, apps may loose positions in the rankings despite being downloaded equally.

Apple’s new algorithm pushes forward apps with high ratings. 4 stars and 3 stars apps are now more inclined to grow steadily in the top rankings despite being less popular than some trendy apps. Apple’s new law enforcements also provide more ground for Young developers with better skills and less credits to cheaters.

Why changing the ranking algorithm?

According to Fiksu, Apple decided to change the algorithms to prevent cheaters to hit the top spots on the App Store. The new algorithm is seen as a mean to push forward apps with high rankings and heavy users instead of apps that are being downloaded a huge amount of times in a few hours only. A way to prevent cheaters to use robotic downloads and anomalies to falsify their rankings.

What else?

A few new features have been spotted by other experts:

  • Refunds are apparently taken into account by Apple;
  • Apple now pushes forward different results / apps when you are searching for apps from different devices;
  • User engagement might have an impact on rankings;
  • Users’ reviews for the newest version of an app might may have ore influence;

Which basically means:

  • The most people get refunded for your app, the most complicated it will be for you to get to the top spot. Quality comes first.
  • Apple is trying to push forward more apps to makes apps more competitive
  • The most people use your app, the more chances you will have to hit the Top 100. Apps with low users’ activities are less engaging and do get lower category rankings
  • Negative reviews for the newest version of an app will have a much bigger impact on the rankings, and require instant fixes from developers

Behind the scenes

According to several reports, Apple might have changed its algorithm right after an app called “Glide” ended-up #1 in the Social Networks category and #16 in the global charts. By using spamming techniques, the developers managed to push forward the app despite a very low rating from its users. According to a few experts, Apple might have decided to change its algorithms to avoid this kind of situation.

What about AppTweak?

We have entirely redesigned our own algorithm and our optimization reviews in order to keep up to date with Apple’s new algorithm.

Try our App Store Optimization Tools for free on AppTweak!

By Etienne Froment