Ads nearly ruined the iPhone’s App Store, and Apple’s about to add more of them

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Apple has always prided itself on the stylish, clutter-free appearance of its proprietary apps – but the introduction of yet more ads on the App Store risks undermining the company’s typically clean approach to user experience. 

From October 25, 2022, app-related ads will begin appearing in both the App Store’s Today tab and a new ‘You Might Also Like’ section at the foot of individual app listings. 

Apple announced the move in a recent email sent to developers (per MacRumors), and confirmed on its website that App Store users in all countries except China will be affected by the increased ad presence. 

Currently, ads on the App Store are limited to the Search tab – but even here, they’re frequently invasive and often unrelated to what users are actually looking to download. App Store ads occupy almost the entirety of the first page of any search, meaning less-than-impressive (read: crappy) apps are given more visibility over objectively better alternatives.

What’s more, under Apple’s existing ad system, companies can buy up all the ad space for a specific ad name and have their product rank above the named app that users are searching for. Search ‘Temple Run’, for instance, and the first app you’ll see is an ad for Run Bear Run. 

The new system will now see these ads appear in the App Store’s main Today tab, as well as in Search. The Today tab is Apple’s hub for editorialized content, where App Store staff curate a selection of handpicked apps based on seasonal themes and trends.

The ads in question will still be identifiable by a distinct background and a visible ‘Ad’ icon, though it looks like they’ll be given as much real estate as editorialized sections in the Today tab (see the below example from Apple). 

New App Store store ads being shown on iPhone

Ads in the App Store’s Today tab will be clearly labeled as such (Image credit: Future / Apple)

More App Store ads are coming

Apple first announced plans to grow the presence of ads in its App Store back in July, confirming that these new ads “will only contain content from apps’ approved App Store product pages, and adhere to the same rigorous privacy standards.”

The move also seems likely to pave the way for similar ad expansions in other Apple apps. Earlier this year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple hopes to almost triple its current annual advertising revenue to at least $10 billion in the future.

Banner ads already exist in Apple’s News and Stocks apps, but the company is expected to roll out similar ads in Apple Maps as early as 2023. 

For more App Store-related content, check out our reports on Apple’s new program to help lesser-known app developers and the cryptocurrency controversy facing Apple and Google.

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