How to Set up Your Apple Apps For the Store

Now you've made a great app. Are you done? No. Your app store entry is as important as the app itself. Your app store entry will include:

  • The app icon
  • Screenshots of the app
  • A text description of what the app does
  • keywords for the app

Each of these items is vitally important. Because of changes in the ways that apps are displayed, the icon isn't as important as it used to be, but its still vitally important to have a nice looking app icon. The key features you're shooting for are:

  • Good looking professional design
  • Clarity - it should be a sharp high resolution image
  • An app icon that stands out
  • If possible, have the icon communicate what the app does

Making ScreenShots

The first screenshot of your app shows up when people are looking at apps that they've searched for. So your first screenshot should look the best, and communicate some feature of the app.
Like looking at apps themselves, its a good idea to study the app store to see what successful apps are doing in regard to their screenshots. Screenshots for non-game apps should include:

  • Images of iPhone or iPad devices
  • A quality screen shot or two from your app
  • A nice background
  • Some text describing a feature of the app

For example - check out

For game apps, you might want to omit the device shots and directly show a shot of the game. But depending on the type of game you are selling, look at the top 10 selling games of similar type and see what they are doing and duplicate it.

Always duplicate without copying. Write your own sales copy. Make your screenshots similar, but not copies.

A great resource for the do-it-yourself crowd is Promotee, a Mac app that lets you put your screen shots on device images that look very professional. You can get Promotee here:

You can also find someone on oDesk or elance to make screenshots for you. Hire someone that has previous examples to show you. Its relatively inexpensive, you can probably get great screenshots made for you for around $100-$150.

Making an Icon

If you want to design an icon yourself, using either Photoshop or Gimp, make a 1024 x 1024 image. You can then export it as a PNG file. Then get this app icons from the Mac App store:

Icons will create all the icons you need for your app, allowing you to round the corners just right. But again, the best bet is to spend $100 and hire someone on oDesk with experience to make an icon for you.


Since Apple got rid of the "new releases" section, keywords have increased in importance. You want good keywords so that users can find your app in the store. Apple lets you enter 100 characters. A tip: don't separate keywords with spaces, use single commas. In other words don't enter keywords as:

monogram, wallpaper, polka dot, design

Enter the keywords like this:

monogram,wallpaper,polka dot,design

Apple counts the spaces as a character, so you might end up being able to add an extra keyword or two by leaving unnecessary spaces out.

Since you only have 100 keywords, choose them carefully. Begin by thinking about what words or phrases users might type in to search for an app of the type you're offering. But you don't have to rely entirely on guesses or hunches.

One useful resource is Google Trends. Check Google trends to see what sorts of things people are searching on.

Another important tool you can use from Google is the Keyword planner. You can enter a word or phrase, and Google will tell you how many people are searching for it on google, but more importantly tell you what related words or phrases its users are also searching for.

It's designed for Adwords, but is still useful for doing keyword research for your apps.

A final useful tool is If you search on, notice that when you type in a word or phrase, a drop down list will open showing suggestions. This can help you tease out what related words or phrases customers are using in their searches. Amazon is parituclarly useful since you can do this using both the bookstore and the Android app store.

App Description

The app description is the last part of the puzzle. One thing to remember about the app description is that in the mobile world, users are scanning app entries quickly and often making impulse buys. So it can be helpful to make the first sentence of your app description a straightforward single sentence that clearly states what the app does.

Many top selling apps include notes that their app is the top selling app in seven countries or whatever, or got recognized by Apple or received an award. They do this for social promotion. People are more likely to buy something that has already been approved by their peers. But as a new developer, you don't have that option. So make your first sentence for now basic and straight forward.

"My Great App is an app that does X"

I also like to skip a line and then begin the rest of the app description rather than hitting the customer with a long block of text. So what to include in your text? Features and benefits. Tell the user not just what the app does, but how its going to make their life better, easier etc. Take some time to read these articles about writing sales copy and features vs. benefits: