Apple admits to downplaying competing apps on the App Store

In 2019, it was reported by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times that Apple was “consistently” ranking its own apps higher than the similar offerings by its competition. However, the iPhone maker declined to accept that such a practice was going on in the company – it claimed that it had done nothing wrong.

Fast forwards two years and it is out in the open that Apple did indeed boost its own apps in the App Store search results. The company is entangled in a legal battle with the games maker Epic Games. During the Epic vs Apple trial, old emails were presented and they clearly showed conversations between Apple employees about boosting its own apps on the App Store.

Apple admits to downplaying competing apps on the App Store

Has since then removed the booster

Apple had reportedly made changes on the App Store to show its Files app at the top in the App Store search results. Even when users would search for “Dropbox” (another files managing app), the Files app by Apple would show up at the top. To even more surprise, a search query for “Dropbox” would not have the Dropbox app on the first search results page.

It was Epic games CEO Tim Sweeney who first reported the issue to Apple by writing an email in 2018. However, Apple has since then removed the booster techniques from the App Store. “We are removing the manual boost and the search results should be more relevant now,” wrote Apple’s app search lead Debankur Naskar.

We created the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers. App Store Search has only one goal — to get customers what they are looking for. We do that in a way that is fair to all developers and we do not advantage our apps over those of any developer or competitor. Today, developers have many options for distributing their apps and that’s why we work hard to make it easy, fair and a great opportunity for them to develop apps for our customers around the world.