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When you click to install or update an app in iOS (iPhone or iPad) it exits from the app store and shows the apps installing on the home screen.

This differs from Android where the confirmation that the app is installing happens in the notification area but your left within the Play store to continue updating/installing/searching apps. In situations where I am updating/installing several apps or want to continue browsing this seems more convenient (though admittedly it is not much effort to re-open the app store).

What is the rationale for this pattern in iOS?

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You'd have to ask the designer's at Apple, but my guess is that it's doing that to show you where it's being installed. If you have many screens, it's nice to know which one it's being installed on. –  DA01 Jul 3 '12 at 20:02
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think it was intended to show the user where the app is being installed to on your Home screens. However, that is changing with the new iOS 6. Once you hit install on an app in the App Store, a progress bar overlay the app icon showing the installation while leaving you where you are at in the App Store. To address the previous issue of where the app is installed, the newly installed app on the Home screen will now be marked with a "new" ribbon over its icon.

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I didn't realize that this was changing in iOS 6. Hot damn... this is one of my biggest pet peeves about the current app installation process. –  Daniel Newman Jul 3 '12 at 21:27
    
Perhaps Apple reconsidered and found a better option. I thought it might be interesting to explore this as a topic as it has both up and downsides. My guess, it helped the user understand the model the OS was based on. Helpful to new users, becoming annoying over time for some. New contexts and usage patterns probably opened the way for the new approach. –  Jay Jul 4 '12 at 10:48
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