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A quick question: While navigating the Mac and iOS appstores, I often see some apps marked with a grey rectangular box with rounded edges called 'Essentials', which appears just below the rating of the app. The selection of apps marked in this ways seems quite well thought-out to me. Is there a way to see all these 'Essential' apps in one place?

For example, 'Day One', 'Evernote' and 'WolframAlpha' are all 'Essential' apps in the iOS store.

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  • I had posted an answer but on looking closer it was incorrect. I hope someone is able to answer this, but as far as I can tell Apple doesn't offer a way to get this list.
    – dwightk
    Nov 3 '14 at 14:58
  • The answer is that you need to search for the word "essentials". I would post that as an answer, but StackExchange is about as competent at handling permissions as Apple is at nav links.
    – twhb
    Aug 31 '16 at 9:02
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After a bit of research (in the stores themselves, using Google, and in the Apple Developer Program resources), I'm rather sure no list of these is available from Apple themselves or from any third party.

I found the best ways to find the apps tagged as "Essentials," is to look in these places:

  • Both the Mac App Store and the iTunes App Store have a link on their front page called "New to the (Mac) App Store?" Most apps listed there, which are not games, have the "Essentials" badge. It's not the way to find them all though, as e.g. the WolframAlpha app you mentioned is not listed on that page in the iTunes Store. There are also some apps which don't have the badge, e.g. Shazam is tagged as "Editors' Choice," but not "Essentials" in the Mac App Store.
  • The iTunes App Store also has a link "App Collections." Although the page this link leads to is titled "Essentials App Collections," quite a number of the apps listed in the collections don't have the "Essentials" badge. On the other hand, you can find a lot of "Essentials" this way.

My impression is the difference between the "Essentials" tag and e.g. "Editors' Choice" is not very well defined, and just picked by a specific Apple store editor. And I noticed some of those apps may be only essential to a very specific crowd. E.g. the djay 2 app, also tagged "Essentials," is most definitely the best and most popular DJ app for the iPad out there, but it's only essential to a select group.

In the end, although there is no definitive list, going though the various collections made by Apple editors, will lead you to a lot of "Essential" apps.

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  • I agree. The fact that 'Essential' apps are essential to a particular niche is why I'm interested in them in the first place. It's a great way to quickly identify the best apps for a particular purpose. For example, if I suddenly started DJing, and needed a DJing app, but had no idea what was best, the 'Essential' tag would quickly lead me to djay 2, which you say with some confidence is the best and most popular app.
    – Atriya
    Nov 26 '14 at 22:31
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There is a yellow banner named Essentials in the App Store in the Featured tab. This week it's in the 4th row, between Best New Games and Best new games Updates.

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You can find all the apps labeled essentials in the Featured tab in App Store. It's listed in between the Best New Games and Popular Apps & Games, next to Editor's Choice.

It seems that Apple will pick one app in its category as an Essential.

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Search on App Store for Apple .....

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  • Not all the Essentials apps are made by Apple.
    – grg
    May 31 '15 at 16:03

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