Apple Changes App Store Sorting, Makes Updated Apps Harder To Find

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PCalc: one of many early but regularly updated apps that's now harder to find on the App Store.

James Thomson of PCalc fame noted late yesterday on Twitter that the App Store’s again updated the way it deals with app sorting: “Looks like sort by release date in [the] App Store only sorts by original release date now, not update date. Say hello to page 342 of Utilities…”

Thomson’s referring here to PCalc now being housed on the penultimate page in the massive utilities section, because it was one of the earliest apps on the store, released on July 11 2008. However, the app was last updated on October 18.

Although release date sorting was open to ‘abuse’, dodgy developers regularly updating apps to move them to the top of the list, it strikes me as a bad decision to list apps by their original release dates, regardless of how often they’re updated. What impetus does a developer have to update a major app released in 2008, if no-one’s going to see the update unless Apple deigns to include it in ‘new & noteworthy’ or ‘what’s hot’? This decision could start a spate of app removals and ‘updates’ via entirely new products, reducing the likelihood of free updates for long-time users.

A simple workaround would be for Apple to provide an alternate sort option of ‘recently updated’, which would, presumably, make everyone happy. In the meantime, some of the earliest developers for the platform who care about updating their apps just got another kick in the crotch.