• App Finder's Data
  • The Country Settings
  • Search Queries
  • Relevance Sort
  • Reading the Result List
  • Using the Result List
  • Adjusting the User Interface
  • Search Query Syntax
  • Further Help and Support

User Guide

While App Finder was designed to be easy and intuitive to use, some things still require explanation. By reading this guide, you will learn how to use it optimally. The information is also available within the app.

App Finder's Data

App Finder has data from Google Play for 3,700,000+ apps and games (3,000,000+ available in the US), with local prices, age ratings, and user ratings for all 200+ supported countries / regions.

The data is updated at least with the following frequencies:

  • Every 2 days, the country-independent data (incl. global rating) and the data for the US is updated for the 650,000+ apps with 50+ ratings.
  • Every 2 weeks, the country-independent data (incl. global rating) and the data for the US is updated for all apps.
  • Every 2 months, all data is updated for all apps.

New apps are added continuously.

The Country Settings

App Finder always searches and displays the data for a specific country. When the app is started for the first time, this "search-country" is set based on the current IP address, but it can be changed from the Settings menu.

In the User Ratings dialog from the Settings menu, you can select between country-average and world-average user ratings. There is also an option to see both at the same time.

Note that the world-average ratings are available for many more apps and may be more reliable for less popular apps as they are based on the opinion of more people.

Search Queries

In general, you can use App Finder just like the Play Store search and simply type the words or phrases that you're interested in.

However, to get the best results, you should understand how exactly your query is matched against the apps, and you should know the operators available to refine the search.

First note that App Finder uses "complete matching" by default. That is, all words / phrases from the query are required to occur (if an OR operator is not used). Different word forms (like the plural) are allowed.

This is different from the Play Store search that also returns apps where not all words from the query appear (if quotes are not used). As is shown here with many detailed examples, App Finder's approach consistently leads to significantly more relevant results.

So, if the query consists just of "normal" words separated by spaces, exactly those apps are returned where all the words (or forms of them) appear in app name, developer name, description, or other data.

Using search operators, you can search for phrases, require words in title or summary, allow alternatives to words, exclude words, and more. This is completely described in the Search Query Syntax section below.

The following 3 operators are essential. Without them, it will often not be possible to get optimal results:

  • Quotes to search for phrases, i.e. sequences of words. For example, "learn languages". Other than with the Play Store, different word forms are allowed. For example, the query above would also match learning language.
  • + to require words or phrases to occur in app name or summary (the summary is the short description that appears in the result list). For example, +browser.
  • / to allow alternatives to words or phrases. For example, draw/paint. / can also be used inside quotes. For example, "file manager/explorer" means that file must occur followed by manager or explorer. The usual OR is also supported.

Adding the + operator to the last example gives a search for file managers that is quite comprehensive and also quite specific: +"file manager/explorer".

Please note that App Finder currently does not consider synonyms automatically, so / should always be used to list synonyms if needed.

Relevance Sort

While the other sort options are quite clear, some explanation is needed for the default relevance sort.

Here the results are ranked by a combination of a query match score and a user rating and popularity score.

The query match score increases with your keywords occurring in app title, summary, or occurring early or frequently in the description.

The rating and popularity score increases with the average user rating, the number of ratings, and the number of downloads.

While a high rating and popularity score is an indication that an app is much liked by many people, it is of course no guarantee for the quality of the app.

We do not recommend the apps at the beginning of the list over the other apps.

Reading the Result List

  • The number left of the stars is the average user rating as calculated by Google Play. (Local or global, according to the User Ratings dialog from the Settings menu.)
  • The stars indicate the rating distribution:

    The size of the stars is proportional to the number of 5-, 4-, 3-, 2-, and 1-star ratings (from green to red).

    Between different apps, the star-size is correlated with the total number of ratings at a logarithmic scale.

  • You can tap the rating to see a list of all global and local ratings and rating distributions.
  • The numbers of ratings and downloads refer to the whole world, as on Google Play.
  • Paid apps without an indication do not contain ads.
  • For apps with in-app purchases, the price range is shown bottom right.
  • A + after the result count indicates that only the app summaries have been searched, not the full descriptions. This is to show you the most relevant apps in the case of searches with very many results.

    You can double-tap the result count above the result list to repeat the search without the limitation.

Using the Result List

  • Tap the icon of an app to view it in the Play Store, tap somewhere else to see the details in App Finder.

    You can swipe the details-view left / right to view the next / previous app.

    In the details-view, you'll also find options to view the apps on the Google Play website, which makes it possible to see reviews in different languages.

  • To change the size of the screenshots, use two fingers anywhere on the result list as if you would zoom a photo (requires a Plus license).

    To hide or show the screenshots, tap the picture-icon above the list.

  • For more or less data, or to change the text size, tap the cog-icon above the list.

Adjusting the User Interface

To change the size of text and other elements, select Screen Zoom from the Settings menu.

The screen orientation is locked to portrait on phones and to landscape on tablets by default. However, it can be unlocked in the Display Options from the Settings menu.

Depending on the screen-size, -orientation, and -zoom, a 1-, 2-, or 3-pane layout is used.

A dark theme can be selected from the Display Options.

Search Query Syntax

App Finder understands search queries according to the following rules:

  • By default, app name, app Id, developer name, summary, description, and the What's new notice are searched.
  • Different forms of a word are equated and capitalization is ignored. The following examples show for common cases what App Finder considers as forms of the same word:

    news = News = NEWS

    file = files = file’s

    quick = quickly, but quickquicker, and quickquickest

    edit = edits = edited = editing, but edit editor

    If you are unsure whether certain word forms are equated, you need to experiment (the / operator described below may be useful).

    In the following, we will say that a word must occur to mean that some form of the word must occur.

  • If the query consists only of normal words separated by spaces, then exactly those apps are returned where all the words occur.
  • Words inside quotes are required to appear in sequence. We'll call this phrases.

    Other than with Google, different word forms are allowed.

    Quotes around a single word have no effect currently.

  • If words or phrases are separated by /, only one of them is required to appear.

    No spaces are required around /.

    / can also be used inside quotes For example, "file manager/explorer" means that file must occur followed by manager or explorer.

  • The usual OR is also supported.

    Contrary to /, it is evaluated after the spaces. For example, file manager OR explorer means that both the words file and manager, or the word explorer must appear.

  • + in front of a word or phrase requires it to occur in title or summary.
  • - in front of a word or phrase requires it to not occur.
  • # searches for app name by prefix. For example, #whats.
    @ searches for developer name by prefix. For example, @skyi.

    If the terms include spaces, these must be replaced by +, or parentheses must be used.
    For example, #app+fi or #(app fi).

    Quotes can be used to require full match instead of prefix-match, for example @"skype".

  • The order of operations is #, @, /, +, -, the spaces, OR. Parentheses can be used to change the order.

App Finder's search is based on PostgreSQL's text search. The Snowball dictionary without stop words is used to equate word forms.

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