Apple rolling out refined App Store search with tags
What you need to know
- Apple is rolling out tags to help refine App Store searches.
- These are showing up for users on both iOS 14.4.2 and the iOS 14.5 beta.
- No, these aren't AirTags.
Searching the App Store has always been a pain, but it seems Apple is trying to rectify that with a new tags feature, making search results more contextual.
According to a report by MacRumors, some iPhone users have begun to see tags appearing in the App Store when searching for popular terms, such as "photos" or "wallpaper." For example, after you search for "photos," tags like "collage," "editor," "storage," and other relevant terms pop up in a scrollable ribbon underneath the search bar.
Once you tap on one of these tags, results will be curated to show relevant results. So if you search "photos" and then tap "collage," the results you get will be photo apps that let you create collages. If there's even more possible options, another tag can also be selected to further refine App Store results.
This feature does not appear to be available to everyone just yet, so it seems that Apple is slowly rolling it out. While most users who do see it are on the iOS 14.5 beta, I am currently also seeing it on my iPhone 12 Pro running the public release of iOS 14.4.2. This means that it could just be a server-side thing, and Apple just needs to flip a switch so eventually everyone has it, regardless of iOS version and whether or not they're using the best iPhone.
Apple says that 70% of customers use the search tool to find apps, so these new search tags should help significantly. Back in 2016, Apple introduced the Search Ads feature, which lets developers pay Apple to have their apps shown at the top of search results, which should be based on the relevance of the app, among other factors. However, this doesn't quite work well all the time.
At the moment, iOS 14.5 has been in the beta phase since February 1, and the seventh beta was released earlier this week. Tim Cook has said that next software update will come early spring, which could just be a few weeks away.
And sorry, but no, these are not the AirTags you're looking for.
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.