Update: App name guidelines and best practices have changed since this article was published. Learn the new best practices for app names.
Sometimes referred to as the app title, the app name is the single most important part of optimizing your mobile app.
The Apple app name serves as both a primary field for indexing by Apple, and a key tool for converting app store views to installs.
If viewers of the app don’t immediately understand what the app is and does from the app name, they will move on.
The app name as it appears in Apple app store mobile search result:
The app name in Apple’s app store listing mobile view:
How to name an app
For the app name field, lead with the app’s brand/product name followed by the most searched for and/or differentiating features.
“Name – Feature #1, Feature #2”
Hotels.com provides a good example of the use of this format.
The app name should clearly describe what your app does, using the search terms your target audience uses to search for apps.
- Brand Name: Hotels.com
- Feature #1: Hotel booking
- Feature #2: Last minute hotel deals
Worth noting, the use of the modifier “last minute” provides Hotels.com an opportunity to target both the 4 word phrase “Last minute hotel deals” and also the shorter and broader “hotel deals”.
This approach best positions an app for indexation for relevant phrases, and is more likely to be installed by the targeted audience as the highlighted features address specific, targeted searches.
Apple app name length
Apple’s app name field has a 255 character limit, but rarely approves app names over 100 characters.
Part of this can be explained by how Apple indexes the app name, giving more weight to keywords and phrases found in the app name than in the 100 character keywords field.
This is why the format of “Name – Feature #1, Feature #2” works so well for so many of our clients. The 2 most important features are given the most significance when indexed by Apple.
Given a 255 character limit, app publishers have attempted to hack the app store rankings by creating app names that are stuffed with keywords that are only remotely relevant to their app.
This is not a good short or long-term strategy.
The problems with long app names stuffed with keywords are two-fold:
- long app names look bad and spammy, hurting conversion rates
- Apple rejects apps with spammy titles delaying release and potentially future ranking opportunities
How to change the name of an app
App store optimization is an on-going process of testing, measuring , adjusting and repeating as app store search evolves and search trends change.
Changing which features are highlighted in the app name and adjusting the app name as needed is a routine part of ASO.
While an Apple app’s description can be changed at any time, the app name can only be updated when submitting a new version of an app. This requires a new build to be submitted to Apple, and includes a manual review of both the code and the app listing metadata – app name included.
Additional Apple app name rules
Apple’s public developer site provides additional details and more information on Apple app name guidelines.