Apple apps like iMovie, Pages, Keynote and Numbers have been ranked incorrectly by Apple’s Top Free Charts on some iOS devices. Sensor Tower was the first to discover this error, and later TechCrunch shared that the App Store’s Top Free Chart listed Pages, Numbers, and Keynote at higher ranks than on the desktop App Store and other iOS devices.
Different rankings on different devices
Apple apps such as iMovie, Keynote, Pages and Numbers were found listed within the top 10 free apps at different positions on the iPad Mini 2 and the iPhone 5s. It was also found that there was just one Apple app in the top 20 free apps – iTunes U – on the iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad Pro, and it matched the App Store’s desktop version.
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According to Sensor Tower’s data, only two apps should be listed in the top 10 of the free chart – iTunes U and GarageBand. MacRumors did not observe errant chart behavior on more recent devices, but TechCrunch and Sensor Tower did observe problematic rankings on a range of devices running on iOS 9.1. The problem has not been found on devices running on iOS 8.3.
iOS users get to use apps like Pages, Keynote, Numbers, and iMovie for free, and therefore, they are listed in the Top Free Charts, but they are not free for other platforms. This could be the issue behind the chart problems. All these apps cost buyers between $4.99 and $9.99.
Is Apple doing this intentionally?
Whether the discrepancy in the App Store Top Chart listings is due to a bug or if Apple intentionally manipulated the charts is not clear, pointed out TechCrunch, but since the results significantly differ on different devices, even those belonging to the same generation, there are chances of it being a bug rather than something done deliberately.
“The discrepancy, of course, could be related to a bug in Apple’s App Store ranking algorithm, but it’s a persistent one if that’s the case,” TechCrunch says.
The bug is affecting only the relative rankings of Apple apps and not other top applications. Facebook Messenger tops the App Store, while newcomer Acapella from PicPlayPost is in second place, YouTube is in third, and Facebook is in fourth.
Apple has tried manipulating the App Store results in the past, so chances are that this discrepancy is done intentionally to promote its line of iWork apps to specific devices or specific users. But until the time Apple releases an explanation for the discrepancy, nothing can be said for certainty.