Apple’s App Store for iOS is still young. It keeps evolving. More and more apps are added every day, but app discovery continues to be an issue. That’s why Apple regularly experiments with changes to improve the App Store. This fall, with the release of iOS 11, Apple is giving a facelift to the central hub of its app ecosystem. Let’s have a look at the most important changes in the new App Store.
What’s new in the redesigned App Store?
With iOS 11, Apple is changing both the look and the architecture of the App Store. These are the biggest changes:
- A fresh design for the entire store
- Unsurprisingly, the new App Store adopts many of the same design principles we saw in the Apple Music revamp last year. Apple has redesigned pages all throughout the store, which now features larger images, more detailed descriptions and gameplay videos. These videos start playing automatically as users scroll down the page.
- A curated tab with featured apps
- When you open the redesigned App Store, you’ll see a new “Today” tab curated by Apple’s editorial team. It features colorful, screen-filling cards that you can scroll through to see what’s new.
- A tab just for Games
- In iOS 11, games will have their own tab, separating them from other types of apps. This new tab will make games easily accessible from anywhere in the App Store.
- Quick access to iMessage stickers and apps
- A special app drawer for iMessage stickers and apps will make it easier for users to find and interact with apps that connect to Apple’s messaging service.
- Significant changes to app pages
- Apple is introducing a set of new elements on pages that showcase individual apps. Below, we’ll discuss these changes in detail.
A total makeover for app pages
Pages for individual apps will change drastically. These revisions offer an excellent opportunity to expand your app’s user base by starting new App Store optimization tests. Here’s how app pages will change:
- App titles are getting shorter, but…
- In the new store, the maximum app title length changes from 50 to 30 characters. To compensate for this, there’s a new subtitle area where you can briefly summarize your app. Just like the title, the subtitle can be 30 characters long. We expect the content of this subtitle to influence an app’s keyword ranking, but this is something we’ll have to test to be sure. You can also localize the app subtitle into different languages.
- App descriptions now need Apple’s approval
- The limit for app descriptions remains at 4000 characters, but you will no longer be able to modify it freely. In the new App Store, each change will have to take place during an app update that’s validated by Apple.
- Promotions get a dedicated spot
- In the new promotional text area (170 characters), you can inform users about special offers, new content or new features. You can edit this field at any moment, independent of Apple’s review process. The promotion field probably won’t affect you app’s keyword ranking, but some texts will convert better than others. Try different variations to see what works best.
- In-app purchases become more prominent
- The new App Store will boost in-app purchases: you can promote up to 20 in-app purchases (including subscriptions) on your app’s product page. In-app purchases will now also appear in search results, and Apple’s editorial team can choose to feature them. The new store supports promotional images for these purchases, too.
Keep testing and optimizing your app
You can take advantage of the new App Store in many different ways. That’s why you should start preparing your app page for iOS 11 today. Rework the title if necessary. (And be quick, in case somebody else wants to pick up your new, shorter title.) Add a compelling subtitle and don’t forget to promote your in-app purchases.
Here’s what we tell our clients during the ideation of any digital solution: validation is essential. A lean process is all about testing. Success in the App Store, too, requires validation. Through proper measurement, you’ll discover not only what you knew you didn’t know, but also what you didn’t know you didn’t know.
A new App Store? So what?
The App Store hasn’t received a major redesign since its launch, so this is a big step for Apple. Developers will be satisfied that games and apps are finally separated. (Now, that new weather app won’t have to fight for real estate with Pokemon Go.) We’re curious to see how developers will take advantage of the opportunities the new App Store offers.
If you want to prepare your app for the new App Store arrives this fall, here’s what we recommend: measure, test and pivot constantly. Validation is the key to making great things happen. That truth also applies to the coming App Store facelift. Always test to see what works best.
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