All users are having problems with Apple’s App Store search feature this morning. The iPhone maker confirmed the problems on its System Status Dashboard and said it is working on a fix. Apple also noted that the issues have been going on since about 5 a.m. Eastern today.
Popular apps not to be found in the App Store
Twitter and Reddit users started reporting the problem right after they began. The problem is related to the search function, which now makes it impossible to find popular apps—unless they’ve already been installed. Nonetheless, this renders the App Store search feature practically useless because why search for an app on the App Store unless you want to install it?
Mac Rumors and other websites are reporting that Google, Periscope, Waze, Tumblr, Vine, and Tidal are on the long list of apps that are being affected by the widespread glitch.
App Store search function sort of works
Of course this glitch might be a good thing for apps that haven’t yet been “discovered” by most users yet because searching for these popular apps by name does bring up some apps, but not the official apps. As TechCrunch noted, searches for a particular category are also missing the most popular apps. For example, searching for “rss readers” will bring up some lesser known apps but excludes well-known names like Feedly, NewsBlur, Reeder and others.
The website also reports that although the search function is the most widely-reported problem, there is also another issue, which is with the links in the App Store. Usually it is possible to look for an app by going to the URL appstore.com/ and then putting the name of the app after the slash. However, the direct link also doesn’t work. Instead of taking the user to the app, it brings up error message “Http/1.1 Service Unavailable,” TechCrunch said.
The problem affecting the App Store search feature appears to also be affecting iTunes and the Mac App Store.
Problem highlights general App Store search complaints
According to TechCrunch, app developers in general have long been unhappy with the way search results are rendered in the App Store. Even when the function does work properly, it can still be difficult for users to find particular apps. Also there have been many complaints with Apple’s approval process for new apps, which often takes a long time, and the iPhone maker’s lack of clarity on issues like the reasons why a particular app was rejected.
And then there’s the concern that the company might start taking payment for sponsored results in its App Store searches, which could muddy the waters even further. We heard last month that Apple had a secret team supposedly working on major changes for the App Store, although it’s unclear whether this rumored team has anything to do with what’s happening.