PSA: "iPhone" App Store on Mac inconsistent with iPhone App Store

So thanks to the interesting thread on Music.app alternatives, I learned about Cesium. Since for reading I prefer big screens to small screens, I figured I could read up on the app on the 27" display attached to my Mac instead of on my iPhone 15. So fire up Mac App Store go to search and switch the toggle to “iPhone & iPad Apps”.

Bad idea.

I was confused by some odd information displayed on the Mac. So I get out my iPhone and searched the App Store for the very same app there. Now that info made a whole lot more sense.

Turns out that the ratings, reviews, and other meta information do not agree between the two stores even though the toggle on the Mac App Store would have you believe you are looking at the right app information. Simple example: 1.7K reviews (on iPhone) vs. 2 (“iPhone” section on Mac). And yes, this is for the same app according to the App Store.

At this point, my best guess is what MAS is showing, at least in the case of this app, is not actually “iPhone & iPad Apps” by perhaps rather “iPad Apps” while the iPhone obviously only shows information for the iPhone version of the app. In principle that would be fine if there were an actual toggle for iPhone/iPad on MAS or that at least the existing toggle were properly labeled.

For now I can only suggest nobody choose to inform themselves about an iPhone app on the MAS regardless of what the MAS and its toggle GUI might suggest.

I have always assumed that the difference in reviews is that the Mac App Store shows reviews from a user using the app on a Mac. If you are using an iPhone app that works on a Mac, it may have different issues, leading to different reviews, than the iPhone app used on an iPhone.

Since I have no way to confirm this, it is also possible that it reflects reviews from the device the review is submitted from – that it is you review it from a Mac, the review shows only in the Mac App Store