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This big change just made it easier to find great iPhone apps in the App Store

Published Apr 30th, 2021 4:44PM EDT
Apple App Store
Image: Apple

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As of 2021, there are over 2 million apps available on Apple’s App Store. As such, the experience of browsing for new apps has become increasingly overwhelming, which is why Apple has introduced search suggestions in an App Store update this week for users in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Using the new feature is surprisingly slick and easy (two words I wouldn’t often use to describe anything on the App Store). Head to the Search tab in the App Store app and type a word like “food” into the search bar. After you tap the search button, you will see a series of suggested words scroll by near the top of the screen. Tap one of them — such as “delivery” — and your results will automatically be updated. With some searches, more suggestions will appear to help you narrow your search even further, like “Indian” or healthy.”

Most of the basic searches that I attempted, from “games” to “books” to “shopping” gave me at least one row’s worth of suggestions to narrow down my results, and many gave two. It’s not entirely clear what makes some search terms worthy of two rows of suggestions, but the feature has only been widely available for a few hours now, so perhaps it will be updated in the future. I was also surprised that more specific search terms gave me suggestions as well. For example, when I searched for “idle games,” I got suggestions like “rpg” and “clicker.”

Personally, I can’t remember the last time I visited the App Store just to browse. Last week, I needed to split a check with a group of friends, so I downloaded Splitwise. Next month, when the new mobile game My Hero Academia: The Strongest Hero launches in the US, I will head to the App Store once again to download it. The discovery experience on the App Store has dramatically improved over the years, especially after the addition of the stellar Today tab which highlights great apps and developers, but it’s still a pain to find what you’re looking for if you don’t know the exact app you need. Search suggestions are a small step toward fixing this, but they’re a step in the right direction.

Search isn’t the only part of the App Store that Apple has improved lately. At the beginning of the month, Apple added 30 new titles and two categories to Apple Arcade. The mobile game subscription service appears to have floundered somewhat since its promising debut, but new exclusives like Fantasian, Clap Hanz Golf, and World of Demons, as well as revived classics like Badland, Reigns, Fruit Ninja, and Monument Valley, now is as good a time as any to check out the free trial. Plus, iOS 14.5 added support for the PS5 and Xbox Series X controllers.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.