Let’s be honest, searching in the iTunes Store sucks, especially on the desktop. It’s often slow, and the results are difficult to navigate. Apple has tried to simplify things by displaying one result at a time in the App Store on iOS, but that approach also means that it can take longer to find the specific app you want in a sea of knockoffs.
A new web tool called “fnd” makes it easier to quickly search and navigate not just the App Store, but the iTunes Store in general.
By hooking into Apple’s iTunes Store APIs, the developers behind fnd have created a free website with a responsive design for any device you’re on. I find fnd to be particularly useful on the desktop.
As part of my job here at Cult of Mac, I’m often looking up apps to cover and link to. I use Google in Safari because it’s usually faster than the iTunes app. When I open an App Store link on the web, it often triggers the same page to open within iTunes, which pulls me away from Safari. The same thing happens in a browser on iOS. It’s an annoying byproduct of Apple trying to send users to the place where they can actually download content.
Fnd is great because not only is it faster than iTunes search, but it doesn’t throw me out of my browser.
The main search bar in fnd works for anything you want to find in the iTunes Store. Results are displayed in tabs like Apps, Music, and Movies, with fnd intelligently displaying the most relevant results in the first tab. There’s an option to filter app results by developer, which you’ll find particularly useful if you’re a geek like me.
Full details from the iTunes Store are displayed on specific pages, including some additional content like related YouTube videos. In the case of apps, which is my primary reason for recommending fnd, the full description, screenshots, and user reviews are all displayed in a clean format. A link to buy the app redirects to the App/iTunes Store, depending on the device you’re on.
Fnd isn’t for everyone, but for those who are dissatisfied with the way Apple does search in the iTunes Store, it’s the best alternative I’ve come across. It can integrate with third-party apps like Launch Center Pro on iOS and Alfred on the Mac, which is another plus. It’s bookmarked in Safari on my Mac and saved as a home screen shortcut on my iPhone and iPad. Check fnd out at the link below.