If you’ve upgraded to iOS 11, you’ve probably noticed that the App Store looks different. There are some new tabs, some of the tabs you’re used to are gone, and Apple has given the home page a much more editorial feel.
It can be a bit confusing at first, especially if you’re not expecting it. But if you know where to look, you can take advantage of some great features in the new App Store. Let’s take a look!
1. Don’t Skip the Today Page
The App Store used to welcome you with a big list of apps: new, highlighted, and suggested apps; things you might like; and all sorts of other content was right on the home page.
The Today page, new in iOS 11, is a big departure from that style.
Instead of throwing a bunch of apps at you, it highlights just a few and gives you more information on each. The App of the Day and Game of the Day highlight standout options.
A daily list gives you a fun category of apps. Recent lists include “Fun with Silly Physics,” “Rule at Road Trips,” and “Fearless Women Warriors.”
And the Apple editorial team brings you behind the scenes to see how developers work, how games are made, and why they love particular apps.
It’s easy to skip over the Today page, but there’s actually a lot of cool stuff here. Don’t overlook it!
2. Dig Into Categories
If you’re used to the old App Store and you can’t find categories like puzzle games or news apps, you’re not alone. The categories are in new places.
Head to either the Games or Apps tab, and scroll down until you see “Top Categories.” From there, select the category you want. If you don’t see the one you’re looking for, tap See All at the top of the list.
Even the category pages have been updated, with videos, top free and paid lists, and a list of Apple’s favorites.
3. Side-Scroll Through Lists
In the old App Store, you’d often have to tap See All to get the rest of a list. But with iOS 11, you can swipe to scroll through the list without leaving the page you’re on.
This works with Top Paid and Top Free Lists, “You May Also Like” lists, featured lists, and more. There are a few lists where this won’t work (like the category lists) but it makes other lists more user-friendly.
4. Find Your Purchased Apps
Want to look at the list of apps you’ve purchased? It’s in a new place. Tap your user photo in the top-right corner of the screen, then select Purchased.
This is good for re-downloading apps, especially if you downloaded it on another device.
5. Use Search for More
The new Search page functions much like the old one, but there have been some behind-the-scenes improvements. For example, you might now see category pages in the search results. You can search for developers, too, to go to their pages:
Apple says that the search page will also return articles, but I haven’t been able to get that to work yet. If that does happen, it’ll be a great way to find reviews and roundups that have fallen off of the Today page.
6. Check Out Expanded Previews
Every app page now has the ability to display up to three autoplaying preview videos. You can use these to get a good idea of what an app is like, what it can do, and how the developer recommends you use it.
They even play on the search results page, which is nice. You can turn off the autoplay in Settings, as we’ll see below.
7. Browse In-App Purchases
You can now look at lists of in-app purchases outside of specific app pages.
Why would you want to do that? I was skeptical, thinking that it was probably just good for advertisers. But then I saw that one of my favorite games had a new purchasable expansion that I might not have seen otherwise.
Not all in-app purchases are for freemium currency, so maybe it’s more useful than it seems at first!
8. Tweak Your Settings
With the new App Store features come a few new settings that you should be aware of. Head to Settings > iTunes & App Stores to check them out.
The first one you might want to change is Video Autoplay. It defaults to on, but if you’d rather not have autoplaying videos in the App Store, it’s an easy fix. You can also opt for videos to only autoplay on Wi-Fi.
The second is In-App Ratings & Reviews. If you’re annoyed by those pop-ups in apps that ask you to rate or review, you can turn them off here.
A New App Store Experience
The App Store is easy to take for granted. After nine years of much the same experience, you probably don’t get very excited about it anymore. Apple tried to that change with iOS 11. And it largely succeeded.
Most of the improvements, with the exception of the brand-new Today page, are pretty subtle. But they’ll make a difference in helping you find what you’re looking for. Better search helps a lot, and a more user-friendly interface is good for everyone.
Is it a game changer? Or will you even notice it? That, of course, depends on how you use the App Store (it may also depend on whether you’re primarily an iPad user).
What do you think of the changes to the App Store in iOS 11? Does it make for a better app-finding and downloading experience? Or do you just not care? Share your thoughts in the comments below!