It’s possible to change the name of your iOS app, as it appears in the App Store. The ‘App Store name’ is separate from the app’s actual name, as it appears on the device. So if you think it’s appropriate, these two names can be different.
Here’s a quick look at how to make the change and why you might consider doing so…
How to change the App Store name
Making the change is simple:
- The App Store name is entered in iTunesConnect
- It’s part of the ‘App Meta Data’
- Character limit is 255
Note that you enter the App Store name when submitting a version of your app binary, whether that be your 1.0 or a later update. This name cannot be changed freely. You can only make a change when submitting a new version of your app.
Additional notes for possible Xcode confusion:
- The App Store name is not edited in Xcode
- The App Store does not affect any of the following (that you do edit in Xcode): Product Name, Bundle Name, Bundle Display Name
Why change the App Store name?
With 255 characters available, the name of your app in the store can double as a short description.
Using a longer name (description) can help to convey what your app is about, or what it does. If a user already knows of your app, they will identify it by name and/or by icon. However, if your app shows up in a search result or list – and the name doesn’t match with the context of that search/list, browsing users are more likely to pass it by.
Example #1: Nudg’em
Nudg’em is an app that lets you send a reminder to someone else. You craft a reminder and then send it; once accepted the reminder will fire on their device. You “nudge them”.
The icon attempts to portray a ‘task’ by using a tick, the ‘thing’ that you’re reminding them to do. The arrow head is designed to convey the ‘sending’ part.
I came up with the name and designed the icon. The name is a bit quirky and the icon is a bit different to the wealth of ticks that fill the Productivity category. Whilst they both hint at the purpose of the app, they certainly don’t make it obvious.
As a result, I changed the App Store display name to:
Send Reminders to your Friends – with Nudg’em.
Example #2: Vesper
In episode 49 of The Talk Show, John Gruber discussed the process of people finding his new(ish) app, Vesper.
Vesper is an app for taking notes. It was produced by John Gruber (writer), Brent Simons (developer) and Dave Wiskus (designer); big names is the Apple and iOS worlds. Big names, but they also did an excellent job making the app. Combining those two things together resulted in a very successful launch.
But even for an app like Vesper, which had such a positive introduction to the App Store, there are still many potential customers that don’t know what the app does, that won’t recognise the app by name. One such user, if searching the store for a ‘notes app’, may well ignore Vesper because the name and icon don’t obviously connect with their search.
In John’s words:
“Our icon and the name, Vesper, say nothing about what the app does”.
Following the initial release the team decided to change the App Store name. “Vesper” became:
Vesper, Simple and Elegant Notes.
Considerations when changing the App Store name
Even though you’ve got 255 characters to play with, be aware that not all of those characters will be displayed. With certain App Store views/screens, longer names will be truncated and ellipses shown.
If your chosen name is long enough to be truncated you need to think about what is going to be displayed. Can you fit it all in? If not, which words are the most important?
Note that there can be a bit of guess work involved here. In the podcast mentioned above, John describes how in certain listings, the final word ‘notes’ was clipped from view: ‘Vesper, Simple and Elegant…’ They tried removing the comma, but it had no effect.
The comma was replace with a colon and the word ‘and’ was dropped… The current App Store name for Vesper is:
Vesper: Simple Elegant Notes.
For Nudg’em (I think) the most important information to communicate is that app enables you to send reminders. If you’re not interested in reminding others to do something, the app has no benefit for you. That’s why I chose to put the short-description first and the actual name second. I wanted to make sure that “Send Reminders” appeared in every App Store presentation of the app.
The ‘card’ view shown above is what is displayed when a user searches in the App Store. The number of characters displayed here is less than what is shown in the (old style) vertical list view. So if you’re considering the presentation of your app name in the store, start with the card view.