Apple Improves App Store Search Algorithms

Apple appears to have made some significant improvements to the way App Store searches work in recent weeks, returning more relevant, intelligent results whenever a keyword search for an app is conducted, reports TechCrunch.

Several developers, including Tapbots’ Paul Haddad and Contrast’s David Barnard began noticing changes to App Store search results starting in early November, with a major algorithm update occurring on November 12.

App rankings for search results now appear to take into account factors that go beyond simple keyword listings, like partial keyword matches and competitor brand names, somewhat de-emphasizing the keywords that developers enter manually. As an example, a search for „Twitter“ now brings up relevant apps like Tweetbot, something that didn’t happen before the shift.

It’s also the first time the App Store has ranked apps for keywords that are not in the title or the „keyword,“ slot, we understand.

For developers searching against their own app name, what this change means is that they’ll now see a number of competing apps that didn’t show up before, and an overall expanded list of matches.

AppFigures CEO Ariel Michaeli told TechCrunch the App Store uses a new suggestion function that takes into account the „essence of the app“ and puts more emphasis on on-page components.

Apple is constantly making changes to the way apps come up in charts and through search, in an effort to improve app discovery. The recent search algorithm changes appear to be bringing up much more useful results, but as TechCrunch points out, Apple could make further improvements by utilizing metrics like whether an app was featured, positive reviews and press mentions from the web, and its overall usage.

Tag: App Store
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Some Mac App Store Apps ‘Damaged’ Due to Authentication Issues

A growing number of MacRumors readers and Twitter users have been experiencing an issue with some Mac App Store apps displaying a „damaged“ error when opened since late Wednesday. The issue appears to be rather widespread, affecting popular apps such as 1Password, Acorn, Byword, Call of Duty 2, DaisyDisk and Tweetbot.

Mac App Store apps with a „damaged“ error (Image: Graham/Twitter)

Mac users are prompted with this error message when opening Mac App Store apps:

“App Name” is damaged and can’t be opened. Delete “App Name” and download it again from the App Store.

Tweetbot developer Paul Haddad tweeted that the issue appears to be related to expired receipts for authentication certification, and speculated that the receipts now using SHA256 encryption may be causing problems with older OS X versions.

The issue, however, also appears to affect some users running OS X El Capitan, leading Haddad to believe that Mac App Store apps contacting Apple’s servers simultaneously may be causing a „self inflicted DDOS on Apple’s receipt generation service.“

Haddad says that rebooting your Mac on OS X 10.10 or later may resolve the issue, while some users have been forced to reinstall apps from the Mac App Store, disconnect from and reopen the Mac App Store or simply reenter their Apple ID password.

More details will be provided as they are known. Apple has been reached for comment.

Tag: Mac App Store
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Apple Seeds Third iOS 9.2 Beta to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the third beta of iOS 9.2 to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the second iOS 9.2 beta and three weeks after releasing iOS 9.1 to the public. As a .1 upgrade, iOS 9.2 will mark the second major update to iOS 9.

The new iOS 9.2 beta is available as an over-the-air update and through the Apple Developer Center. Today’s beta is also available to public beta testers, and there’s also a new version of the Xcode 7.2 beta available.

Earlier betas of iOS 9.2 introduced changes for the Safari View Controller, which is what allows a pop-up Safari window to be used in third-party apps. Safari View Controller now supports third-party Action Extensions, allowing apps like 1Password to be accessed in the Safari view of other apps like Tweetbot.

Safari View Controller has also been updated with the ability to long tap on the Reload button to reload content without content blockers and it now supports the request desktop site function. iOS 9.2 beta 2 improved Safari View Controller further, introducing support for dismissing it with an edge swipe.

Along with improvements to Safari View Controller, iOS 9.2 also introduces support for AT&T’s NumberSync Wi-Fi Calling feature and includes bug fixes for iCloud Keychain, Apple Watch syncing and pairing, audio quality when streaming to stereo systems, and more.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tag: iOS 9.2
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Twitter Announces Upcoming Revamped Twitter for Mac App

At its Twitter Flight developer conference, Twitter today announced plans for a redesigned and updated Twitter for Mac client, reports TechCrunch. The new Twitter for Mac app will include support for several newer Twitter features such as in-line Vine, video, and GIF playback, group Direct Messages, photo Direct Messages, and in-line replies.

Image via TechCrunch
The app, which will be optimized for El Capitan, will show interaction highlights within the OS X Notification Center, and it has a built-in dark mode for users who prefer a darker interface.

Twitter for Mac has never been a focal point for Twitter, and the app has often gone for months without updates and new feature additions. From June of 2011 to April of 2013 it received zero updates, and in 2014 and 2015, it’s only been updated twice. With the revamped version, it’s possible Twitter plans to invest more of its resources into the Mac app to allow it to better compete with third-party products like Tweetbot.

Twitter plans to release its updated Mac app in a few months, with no concrete launch date set at the current time.



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Twitter Rolling Out New Feature to Let Users Create Customized Polls

Twitter announced today that a feature it has tested with a few users on a small scale – the ability to add customized polls to a tweet – will officially be coming to everyone over the next few days. The company hopes that the new add-on will further expand its users’ interaction with their followers, by streamlining a function that would have previously taken extensive measures of reading replies and re-tweets to successfully follow.

If you want the public’s opinion on anything — what to name your dog, who will win tonight’s game, which election issue people care most about — there’s no better place to get answers than on Twitter. For poll creators, it’s a new way to engage with Twitter’s massive audience and understand exactly what people think. For those participating, it’s a very easy way to make your voice heard.

Twitter users will be able to create a poll from the compose box of the Twitter desktop site or in any of the company’s official mobile apps. Unfortunately, the feature won’t be available in third-party Twitter apps, so those using clients like Tweetbot won’t be able to see the polls or vote on them. Each poll will remain live for twenty-four hours from the time it is posted, and the company ensures that your name is kept anonymous from both the poster and the public when voting on other polls.

The company promises that polls will be available „over the next few days,“ and users should simply keep an eye out for the circular pie graph poll icon in their compose box to know when they can begin using the feature. The introduction of polls follows the launch of „Moments“ earlier in the month, which gave users of the social network a simplified discovery tool to follow the news and accounts they care about.

Twitter [Direct Link] is available to download from the App Store for free.



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‘Tweetbot 4’ for iOS Gains Support for 3D Touch

Popular third-party Twitter client Tweetbot is the latest app to be updated with support for the 3D Touch feature on the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and it now supports both Quick Actions on the Home screen and Peek and Pop gestures within the app itself.

A hard press on the Tweetbot icon on the Home screen brings up options to create a new tweet, tweet a photo, and view the Activity Tab that was recently added in the fourth version of the app. When a notification is present, there’s also an option to reply to a tweet or a direct message from the Home screen Quick Action list.

Peek gestures, which bring up previews of links, work with embedded tweets, Safari website links, Twitter profiles, and more. A Peek gesture can be initiated in Tweetbot with a hard press, and pressing even harder expands into a Pop gesture, allowing content to be opened from the Peek.

The 3D Touch features in 4.0.1 Tweetbot are available only on the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus, the two devices that support 3D Touch. Other users will not notice any changes in the app, aside from additional language localization in French, Spanish, and Japanese.

What’s New
– 3D touch peek and pop support in the timeline. We’ll add it to more places in future releases.
– 3D touch home screen quick actions.
– Localized for French, Spanish and Japanese. More coming.
– Lots of bug fixes.

Tweetbot 4 can be purchased from the App Store for $4.99. [Direct Link]

Update: Just hours after releasing Tweetbot 4.0.1, Tapbots has released Tweetbot 4.0.2. Tweetbot 4.0.2 adds the following features:

– You can now swipe back to dismiss Tweetbot’s browser. Feel free to quietly rejoice.
– YouTube links will open directly in the YouTube app, if you have it installed
– Fixed a crash when 3D Touch peeking from night mode, sorry about that

In addition to the above changes, the new version of the app also opens articles in the Safari viewer in Reader Mode if the option is available.



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Tweetbot 2 for Mac’s latest update pushes it ahead of Twitter

Tweetbot 2 for Mac was a long awaited update to Tapbots’ fantastic Twitter app, bringing a host of new functionality and a flat, Yosemite-friendly redesign to fans. But it wasn’t exactly a finished release, as Macworld’s review makes clear. But…Read more ›



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Tweetbot 2 for Mac Launches With OS X Yosemite Redesign and New Features [Mac Blog]

Following several months of development, Tapbots today released Tweetbot 2 for Mac with a major visual overhaul inspired by the flat design of OS X Yosemite and more consistent with the iPhone version of the Twitter client. Tweetbot 2 for Mac is available as a free update through the Mac App Store for existing Tweetbot users and has been discounted to $12.99 from its regular $19.99 price for the first time ever.

Tweetbot 2 for Mac (left) compared to original Tweetbot for Mac (right)
The major visual changes in Tweetbot 2 for Mac include flatter tabs and controls, redesigned user profiles with a new „Recent Photos“ section, a new iOS-like user interface when clicking on or viewing the details of individual tweets, circular profile photos, profile photos for retweets and iMessage-like chat bubbles for direct messages. Overall, the software has a more simplified and clean appearance.

Tweetbot 2 for Mac also features a new timeline search option, verified account badges and improved list organization. There is a new three-pane toggle in the bottom-left corner that makes it much more convenient to open lists in a new window or column, view all of your lists or search Twitter. A list can easily be removed or detached into a separate window by right clicking its title bar at the top.

My first impressions of Tweetbot 2 are overwhelmingly positive, as the updated Twitter client has provided a faster and more fluid experience during my testing. The original version of Tweetbot for Mac would occasionally crash on me, and resizing the app would sometimes result in choppiness or lag, but I have not been able to reproduce either of those issues using Tweetbot 2.

Tweetbot for Mac is on sale for $12.99 on the Mac App Store. [Direct Link]





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New versions of Tweetbot for iPhone, iPad, and Mac are on the way

Many of us have been eagerly awaiting a new version of Tweetbot for iPad for quite a while now, as well as an updated version of Tweetbot for Mac. The wait seems like it’s drawing to a close though. Today,…Read more ›



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