Apple has quietly rolled out a change to the Apple TV App Store on tvOS in the last few days, which affects how apps are listed in the Top Charts. For the Top Charts (Top Paid, Top Free, Top Grossing), the Apple TV App Store will now hide listings for apps that the user has already downloaded, so the charts update dynamically per user. This means users can only browse for apps they don’t already own, removing some clutter and allowing less popular apps more opportunity to be seen. This behavior is novel and isn’t currently replicated by the iPhone and iPad App Stores.
To try this out for yourself, open the Apple TV App Store and download the #1 Top Free app. After force-quitting and re-opening the App Store (by swiping it away in the multitasking tray), the app will disappear from the charts. What was previously listed at #2 will now take the top spot (via Equinux).
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Developers have become increasingly frustrated with Apple’s policies for its third-party content stores, with many complaints about discovery and shrinking monetization opportunities. Late last year, Apple SVP Marketing Phil Schiller took charge of the App Store.
Although Apple has not made public comments about improving the App Store experience yet, users have already noticed some changes in the last few months.
For example, more apps are being featured on the front page with curated recommendations updating every few days, rather than once a week. In March, Schiller responded to the changes on Twitter, noting that ‘more good work is to come’. Developers have also noticed a dramatic improvement in approval times, going from an average wait of 7 days to under 24 hours.
Equinux noticed the change to the Apple TV when submitting an update to their tvOS app. They were surprised to see their app fall out of the charts. It turns out it was simply being hidden from view thanks to the new policy; it isn’t clear exactly when the App Store started doing this. As long as the App Store pages have refreshed themselves, which can be forced to occur by manually quitting the app from the multitasking menu, installed apps will vanish from the charts, making room for apps lower in the list to bump up a few places. They also will be removed from featured promotions on the App Store front-page.
The change to the Apple TV App Store behavior is in a similar vein with obvious upsides to discoverability. Apple may be testing the waters by deploying the change on Apple TV to evaluate whether the behavior should also apply to Apple’s largest developer storefront, the iPhone and iPad App Store. It seems likely that the App Store will be a primary topic of discussion at WWDC, Apple’s developer conference, which kicks off in two weeks.