Mar 16

Where’s The App Store Astronomy Category?

Scope Nights Astronomy Weather has been on the Apple App Store for nearly two years now, but there is still no Astronomy Category for my app. So I have had to place it in the Weather Category which is very misleading as it’s primary purpose is an astronomy observing and planning aid and not just a weather app. The majority of people who use Scope Nights are amateur astronomers, so it would make sense to place it in an astronomy category.

There are now a large number of Astronomy apps and there’s a Night Sky App Collection within the Education Science Collection, but there is still no Astronomy Category. Even the Night Sky Collection only includes a handful of handpicked astronomy apps and misses many useful ones out including Scope Nights. Most Astronomy apps use either the Reference or the Education Categories, but this is neither helpful to developers or customers as Astronomy apps become scattered all over the App Store. Yes, you could search for the word “astronomy”, as with anything else, but this is not ideal as everyone will search using different keywords which returns different results. It would be much more helpful to have an astronomy category to browse through.

The only subcategories to be found in the App Store are within the Games and Newsstand categories. Sadly it’s only these few top grossing categories that Apple have bothered to subcategorise. For such a large software catalogue, the lack of proper categorisation is really quite poor.

I wrote to Apple App Store in January 2014, asking if they would consider adding an Astronomy category, either as a primary or sub category. As this would make the App Store a much better place to find astronomy apps. Unfortunately after two months I have not had a reply. So I decided to write this article in the hope that other astronomers might also complain. So if anyone else also feels strongly about the lack of astronomy and science app store categories, then please do complain. Hopefully someone will listen and things will improve.