Hey Apple! Why do you do this nonsense?

If I'm searching for a specific app in your App Store, why do you show me something totally irrelevant as the top result? Oh, wait. It's because someone paid you.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Video: Can Apple cut into Google's education tech lead?

Apple, once a company that dared to think different when its products just worked, continues to erode itself to the point where it's just the shell of its former self.

Must read: Meltdown and Spectre - Is your PC vulnerable?

Case in point: Look at how the top spot in the Apple Store is up for sale to whoever is willing to pay for it. Here I am searching for a specific app -- in this case, the Twitter app -- and the top result is an "ad" for LinkedIn.

​App Store results for a search for the Twitter app

App Store results for a search for the Twitter app


Search for the LinkedIn app and, well, rather oddly, an ad for the LinkedIn app appeared right above the entry for the LinkedIn app. I presume that the folks at LinkedIn bought this ad to prevent someone else horning in on that spot (like LinkedIn did with Twitter).

​App Store results for a search for the LinkedIn app

App Store results for a search for the LinkedIn app

As you can imagine, when it comes to popular apps, that top spot is highly desirable.

​The more popular the app, the more highly prized the top spot

The more popular the app, the more highly prized the top spot

And remember, each time I'm searching here, I'm searching for a specific app, not using a broad search term.

I know that I've probably being annoyed here by something minor -- and as an iOS user there's no doubt that I have bigger things to get worked up about -- but, quite honestly, this is the sort of nonsense that I once would have put money down on Apple not doing.

If a user is searching for an app, show them the app. Showing them a totally different app -- as with the case for the LinkedIn app instead of the Twitter app -- does nothing more than annoy and throw a speed bump in the way of getting stuff done.

I pay big bucks for Apple hardware. I also pay for apps, of which Apple gets a massive cut. And based on its latest financials, the company is far from hard up. In fact, it's exactly the opposite. The company is rolling in cash.

So, why do this?

Here's the weird thing: This is exactly the sort of thing I'd expect to see on Android, given Google's propensity for ads. But I just checked the Play Store, and these shenanigans don't seem to be happening there.

Toward the end of 2015, when Microsoft's Windows 10 nags went from mild prompting to aggressive harassment, I wrote the following:

Even Apple has resorted to nags. A company that was once renowned for the beauty and simplicity of its platforms and applications has succumbed to the temptation of using their platform to deliver marketing messages. I've seen nags to upgrade to El Capitan, nags to give Safari a chance, nags to sign up for Apple Music, and even nags to buy a new iPhone 6s.

Give me a break!

I find the nags that OS X spits out using the notifications center particularly irksome because they pop up where I'm expecting important information to appear. Stuff like emails and messages. Not invitations to try out Safari. I've got no interest in Safari, and I only ever use it to watch streamed Apple events or download Google Chrome. But I presume I'm going to get nagged about it on a regular basis until someone at Apple sees sense.

It seems that no one at Apple has yet seen sense.

It's also like I was able to predict the hell to come:

If I were an optimist I'd tell you that this is a phase that will pass, but I'm more at the realist/pessimist end of the scale, and so I think that this is the tip of the iceberg. It's going to get worse over the coming months and years.

I also wrote some thoughts on how to be less naggy, all of which I still stand behind:

Keep the nags to a minimum!

  • If you feel the need to tell me something, give me the option to never see that message again. Don't make me have to venture into the bowels of the operating system to hack some code to make it stop.
  • If you force me to interact with your nag in any way, there's a good chance it's interrupting my workflow and is annoying.
  • There's no need to "sign up" in advance for operating system upgrades, free or not. That's just grade-A marketing nonsense.

Top iOS 11.2 power user tips and tricks

Related stories

Editorial standards