There are more than 1,600 apps being submitted to the iTunes App Store daily—how can you stand out? Learn these 21 tried and true tactics to getting featured in Apple's 150+ App Stores around the world. (Includes FREE eBook offers)
1,600+ apps are submitted
to iTunes App Store *daily*
How can you
Learn 21 tried and true ways the pros use
to get their apps featured.
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1. Build a “front window display” app
- The App Store is like Apple’s mall for their goods.
- Their featured apps are like the front window
displays—the best of their products.
- Earn this “front window” status by adding real value
to Apple’s mall.
- Improve your most popular product features. Get rid
of all your bugs.
2. Understand the App Store food chain
- Local editors in local markets make the final decisions about
- They like to feature apps their local users would enjoy.
- Build for the local user.
3. Design your app like Jony Ive
Apple is known for sleek minimalist design. www.oneskyapp.com/
Apple wants to feature apps that fit their
aesthetic: clean, smart, elegant design.
To meet their standards, check out the iOS Human
How would Jony Ive critique your
4. Build for iOS only—at least, at first.
Launching the iOS
version of your app
first (or building
exclusively for iOS)
shows your loyalty to
You support Apple’s
back, they might
5. Build for the whole Apple ecosystem
Another way to show your dedication to Apple: make sure your app
works across all iOS products
- Apple Watch
Universal apps align more with Apple’s business model and
shows you are trying to build a good relationship.
This App Coda guide teaches you how to get started on building a
cross-device universal app.
6. Use Apple’s latest features
- Incorporate some of Apple’s latest technology into your app, and you
have a better possibility of being featured.
- Some current low-hanging fruit: 3D touch.
- when Apple wanted to show off the new Apple Pencil at WWDC
2015, they used FiftyThree’s Paper app.
7. Localize your app
With 150+ app stores around the world, you can attract a much wider
audience by localizing—much more than getting featured in the US
App Store alone.
Mavenfall, a card strategy game by indie studio Blue Tea Games,
localized to 14 languages and released worldwide.
It immediately got featured in Top 10 Games in 110+ countries.
Read more about Mavenfall’s story.
“Localization is an important
step for any game looking to
grow beyond its national
borders and reach a global
audience. It’s a big deal.
It certainly explains why
Apple featured us.”
Learn the 8 steps to getting started with your mobile app localization
Learn how to localize your app and get featured faster with
this FREE eBook:
8. Keep it fresh—update frequently.
“Constantly updating your
product to add new features
—Henry Kang, Founder and CEO of fashion
app StyleIt told Business Insider
Why update? 2 main reasons:
- You improve your ratings. Business Insider found that, in 2013-14,
apps that earned above-average ratings had a minimum of 9
updates per year.
- User ratings definitely factor into being featured.
- The update itself can earn you a feature.
- Apple has a “Best New Updates” section
- It features games that have really improved with their latest
9. Have seasonal updates
On gift-giving holidays, people get new devices. And, when people get
new devices, they want new apps.
- Flurry shows that Christmas Day chalks up the highest number of app
downloads for a 24-hour period.
- App stores get into the festive spirit: many create new, holiday-specific
- To get featured in these lists: produce seasonal content, or dress your
game up with a holiday theme.
- Don’t just cater to Christmas! Remember Mother’s Day,
Thanksgiving, Valentine’s, Easter, etc.
10. Update for holidays around the world
- Remember there are 150+ App Stores around the globe.
- A Thanksgiving theme might get you some attention in the United
States, but remember China celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival
instead with mooncakes.
- Target specialized markets by incorporating regional festivals. You just
might end with an international feature.
- For starters, here are 3 holidays in Asia you should market to.
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11. Optimize your app store listing
In order to earn Apple’s attention–and keep it–you’re going to need to brush up your listing page.
Optimize your description, attach some nice screenshots,
and use your promo wisely (see next tip).
12. Feature an Apple device in your promo
- It’s simple: Apple likes people who like Apple.
- Show your love in the promo video, by showing your app on an
- This is an especially good tactic if your app can support Apple’s
latest technology–and you can show it.
The cast of the show “Silicon Valley” is often seen building their app on a MacBook.
13. Invest in PR
- Good media coverage could lead to a feature as well.
- Try to get your app mentioned in some of the tech blogs that Apple
editors follow: TechCrunch, Mashable, or regional tech blogs for
To learn more about scoring media coverage, here’s a nice guide by Leo
Widrich, co-founder of Buffer.
14. Highlight your roots
For non-US developers, show where your app is made!
- Users have lots of hometown pride when it comes to choosing apps they support.
- Apple editors know this and build features for it at the local level.
Appeal to your local audiences. These 2 statues may look similar, but they represent
“home” to different communities in New York City and Kuala Lumpur.
Since each local App Store team is choosing for local users, they’re
more likely to pick apps in the local language.
← Many non-English App
Stores even have a special
section to feature local
Even if you are not from a market you want to enter, you can still establish
a local community and better serve your local clients’ needs.
Learn Spotify’s step-by-step approach to tailoring its brand to 100
million+ users’ distinct music tastes.
15. Build a relationship with Apple
An obvious one: ask Apple directly.
- You can email them at email@example.com or
16. Pitch to Apple directly
- Make friends with someone who works at Apple to give you some
- At the end of the day, it’s a person choosing your app to be
- Having someone inside Apple think of you at the right time and
place could be a gamechanger.
Feeling shy? Read this blog post from CIO to learn how to get the conversation started.
Here are some tips for your pitch email:
- They get a lot of these emails. Keep yours short.
- To stand out, include a great (but brief!) story about your app.
- Or attach a video of your app in action.
- Be sure to highlight any Apple-specific features.
- Ask for any feedback they might have about your app, so you can
get a sense of their benchmark for reference.
17. Follow Apple to get inspired
Apple is very open about their selections. So, follow Apple on Twitter
to stay up-to-date on the latest curation strategies.
The company has a lot of
different Twitters, but we
recommend @AppStore and
If you’re thinking about going global, Twitter’s a great way to keep in touch
with the latest Localization news. Here’s a list of 7 must-follow accounts:
18. Release your app on Tuesday or Wednesday
- App stores post new curated lists every
- If you release your app right before then,
it won’t have time to get buried in the
- A Friday release means you have to wait almost a week,
and you risk disappearing among the thousands that will
come in before they choose again.
19. Keep your ratings & downloads up
Apple looks at performance
metrics when choosing app
Featured apps are often
ranked 4.0 or higher by users.
Keep your user ratings in a
good shape.Image via Sensor Tower
Appbot found that over 50% of
featured apps have high user
ratings–4.5 or higher.
Apple also looks at downloads.
Try to get more downloads
before you start going after a
feature...and then you’ll get
20. Appeal to a niche audience
- Apple often curates for specific topics.
- If you can nail a niche topic beautifully, it’s going to ensure that you
are on the top of their list when they’re making a relevant feature.
Erick Garayblas, a Filipino game developer, has gotten two games featured.
He recommends focusing on paid apps, rather than trying to stand out in the
overcrowded world of free apps.
There are many ways to create a profitable app store niche; check out this post
for ideas and stories.
- Timing is everything: rather than attract
a large audience to a buggy MVP, it’s
better to start small with personal
contacts or loyal users.
- They will give you manageable and
direct feedback, which you can use to
iterate your app.
21. Avoid getting featured too early
Bonus tip: What to do after you get featured
- First off: Congrats! Time to celebrate!
Now time to get to work:
- Fill in the form from Apple’s “You’re Featured!” email ASAP and provide
great visuals for the feature banner.
- Make it as easy as possible for them to get your app on the main screen.
Set your team up for the boost from this feature:
- Keep track of your download stats
- Be ready to respond to feedback quickly
- Do everything to make sure you’re focused on retaining the users from the
There you have it—21 tactics to get featured in the App
Store. Here’s a recap:
1. Build a high-quality app.
2. Build for local editors and users.
3. Design your app like Apple.
4. Build for iOS only—at least, at first.
5. Build for all Apple devices.
6. Use Apple’s latest features.
7. Localize your app.
8. Update frequently.
9. Have seasonal updates…
10. …for holidays around the world!
11. Optimize your app store listing.
12. Feature an Apple device in your promo.
13. Invest in PR.
14. Highlight your origins.
15. Build a relationship with Apple.
16. Pitch to Apple directly.
17. Follow Apple to get inspired.
18. Release your app on Tuesday or
19. Keep your ratings & downloads up.
20. Appeal to a niche audience.
21. Avoid getting featured too early.
Localization and translation
are a huge part of getting
your app featured.
← Click the image for a FREE
consultation to see how you
can get featured.