Inconsistent app search: iOS & iPadOS

Has anyone else noticed that the app search is infuriatingly inconsistent when typing in the name of an app?

Typing one letter gives a set of apps, and then the second latter changes the order of the apps being suggested.



I believe it uses your most recently used apps when you start typing. It’s not just a pure alphabetical ordering.

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Yes! Drives me batty when I have three letters I’m going to type, after the first two I see the app I want but my muscle memory hits the third letter…and the app goes away.


Sure, but why would this change depending on the number of characters I enter?

it’s been this way for quite a while now. I’m numb to it now, but it used to really bug me a lot.

YESSSS. Noticed since the upgrade to i(Pad)OS 15. Also, in some cases, typing the full name of an app will surface no results, even though the app is installed.

Feels like a step backwards— in previous versions, search worked pretty well as a launcher. Sure, maybe I just need to get used to the way it works now, but it doesn’t yet feel like I can depend on it the way I used to…

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Well, I don’t know the algorithm, but it could be based on the fact that the more letters you give it, it remembers the frequency of which app you select. So when you type 1 letter, “m” you select “MarineTraffic” the most, but when you type “ma” you select “Google Maps” the most.

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I assume that it changes because it showed you some apps, and you didn’t pick any of those, so it is showing you others that it thinks might be a match.

If you type 2 letters, and iOS shows you WidgetMax2000 (for example), but you don’t choose it and keep typing, why would it keep showing you something you’ve already had an opportunity to choose, but didn’t?

That’s just one possible explanation that came to mind.

The UI that would suit me would keep the order, but drop out the apps that no longer match the text I’ve entered.

If I type in M and then MA I expect the same apps that contain MA to be there, with new apps coming in to the right as other apps get knocked out.