Big news for parents and children’s app developers alike: Apple has launched its catch-all Kids category on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.
Well, it has in the US: we’re guessing it’ll be rolling out around the world over the coming hours. If you’re using Apple’s iTunes software on your computer, it’s not super-obvious yet: you have to click on the App Store button, then look for the little ‘Kids’ link in the right-hand menu. Or you could click here, of course, as we’ve done the hard work for you.
Apps Playground is in the UK, so we can’t access the US App Store on our actual devices to see if the Kids category is available there. But we can browse the desktop version (screenshot above) to see how it’s structured, and what apps are getting love from Apple for launch day.
Update: the Kids category IS now live here too.
The Kids category is a really welcome development, as until now, children’s apps have been scattered between categories like Books, Education, Games and Entertainment on the App Store, with no single place to find them all.
Apple has also introduced some strict rules for developers who want their apps to be featured in the new category: They must have clear privacy policies; are banned from tracking kids’ activity and serving advertisements based on it; and must use parental “gates” before allowing any in-app purchases or visits to external websites.
Kids works like those other categories, showing apps in a variety of ways. Some are chosen by Apple as editorial picks, sorted into three categories: Best for Ages 5 & Under, Best for Ages 6-8, and Best for Ages 9-11.
There are also some collections of curated apps around specific topics like Create & Play, Shapes & Colours, Explore the World and First Words & Numbers (these links should definitely work if you’re in the US, but for the moment aren’t in the UK App Store).
Individual publishers and children’s brands get their own buttons on the new Kids homepage too: Disney, Toca Boca, Duck Duck Moose, Sago Sago, Sesame Street and PBS Kids are among those getting the nod for launch.
Apple is giving a handful of apps promotion at the top of the Kids homepage too: Dora the Explorer: Perrito’s Big Surprise, Daniel Tiger’s Day & Night, Cutie Mini Monsters and Toca Cars are in the prime positions. It’s good to see a lot of our favourite publishers and apps shown in the Best for… sections, too.
Finally, there are charts – Top Paid, Top Free and Top Grossing which will finally give us (and developers) a good idea of which children’s apps are doing well on the store, as well as giving parents another place to discover new apps.
The new category’s debut comes alongside the release of Apple’s iOS 7 software – the latest upgrade for iOS devices, with a host of new features and a bright new design. Tap the Settings icon on your device, then look for Software Update under the General menu to start downloading and installing it.