A few years ago, Apple was suspected of changing searches in its own favor. The boost of the files app, however, is a bug. In the course of the legal dispute between Epic Games and the Apple group, some email lists have been published. Among other things, these raised the question of whether Apple intentionally presented certain in-house applications in search results before competing products. In the case of the Files app, this was probably particularly evident. The company put the Files app way ahead of Dropbox. Sometimes the alternative did not even appear on the same page.
“We’re removing the manual boost and search results should be more relevant now,” admits Debankur Naskar, head of app search at Apple. The company was confronted by Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, writes The Verge magazine. According to an email from 2018 available to the publication, the app boost was activated for a previous WWDC conference in order to appear more relevant. App Store manager Matt Fischer himself apparently thought the boost was a bad idea even then and wanted to have it removed.
Dropbox placed as a keyword in metadata
Apple is currently of a different opinion because the presentation in the disclosed email is not entirely correct. The Files app integrated the keyword Dropbox into its metadata. As a result, it was automatically placed higher than the competitor. “We have not manually given our apps over competitors,” Apple said in a statement to The Verge.
However, Apple has probably already adjusted its own search algorithm to avoid allegations by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. It took a single developer for it, according to the New York Times in a report from July 2019. At that time, not just an app was suspected of being preferred by Apple, but a whole range of Apple products.