Apple has changed the way it ranks apps in the App Store, a report claims.
According to Inside Mobile Apps less importance is now given to the number of downloads of an app when determining where it appears in the App Store.
Analysts at Flurry, which provides analytics to app developers, said it had seen several changes in the Top Free app category rankings in the past week.
Though it is not yet clear what tweaks Apple has made, it appears that factors such as active usage of an app has become more important in these rankings, rather than just raw numbers of downloads.
One of the main apps to benefit, according to the report, is the Facebook app, which had been languishing between 10th and 20th place in the Top Free category. All of a sudden it has climbed back to the top, adding weight to the argument that active usage of an app is being used to ranks apps.
As Inside Mobile Apps points out there are two sides to this particular coin. The new ranking system should be more conducive to the production of better apps, as developers push to create quality apps that people will want to use again and again.
However, with well-established apps with a large user base sitting at the top of the App Store's rankings, it could be harder for new apps to break through, no matter how good they are, as they won't figure high in the list.
A report from earlier this month on the Business Insider website suggests that Google did something similar with the Android Market recently, taking into account the ratio of daily active users to monthly active users.
However, neither Google nor Apple seem to be willing to reveal exactly how apps are ranked within their respective stores, leaving developers to play a guessing game.