27.09.2021

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13 tips on how to create and optimize screenshots for App Store

According to statistics, you have only 7 seconds to interest the user and convince him to download the app. It is best to do using screenshots because they attract more attention immediately after visiting the app page. 

This guide will find 13 actionable tricks for taking screenshots that will increase your App Store downloads.

Why do you need screenshots of the app in the App Store Apple?

All efforts to optimize the app page will be in vain if you do not convince the user to click the download button. The screenshots create the first impression, based on which a person decides whether to download the app or not. Best app screenshots for iOS in App Store demonstrate its functions, capabilities, visuals, and interface.

People quickly and easily perceive information from all visual elements: icons, videos, screenshots. In some cases, optimizing screenshots in the App Store increases the conversion rate by 18-28%. It has a positive effect on further promotion because the number of downloads is one of the main factors in ranking an app in the Apple Store.

If the images are mediocre, most likely, users will download another app with a similar purpose and a more excellent page. Low-quality screenshots reduce the effectiveness of all advertising campaigns — increase the costs of attracting traffic and reduce profits due to low conversion.

Choose the most transparent and most attractive images. Invest in high-quality, professional-grade screenshots whenever possible. Don’t use stock images. They make the app non-unique and can make a wrong first impression. It is especially true of the first three screenshots in the App Store, which users notice first.

If you don’t have the resources for professional images, it’s enough to prepare regular snapshots of the app’s user interface. The main thing is to take a high-quality picture. Let’s consider what it should be in more detail.

Screenshots of the app on iOS: technical requirements App Store

Optimization of the app for the App Store and Play Market is different, and we wrote about this in detail in the article about ranking factors in the App Store and Google Play. They also have additional requirements for screenshots, so prepare different screenshots for each site, taking into account their needs. Here and now, we are talking specifically about the App Store.

Basic requirements for screenshots of the app to be downloaded in the App Store:

File format:PNG, JPEG.
Quality:The best.
Adapting images to fit the screen:6.5-inch iPhone;5.5-inch iPhone;12,9-inch iPad Pro.It is not necessary to upload images in different sizes for individual iPhone models. The program automatically adjusts the optimal size for other generations of smartphones.
Additional recommendations:It is allowed to indicate the achievements of the app.

Screenshot sizes in App Store must match the screen sizes of all phones and tablets your users have. Apple does not provide a maximum or minimum length for screenshots. Recommended sizes will differ depending on the device.

Be aware of the differences in App Store design depending on the iOS version. The appearance of the app store is different on different devices, so the screenshots should be various.

Screen size (models)Resolution, pixels
6.5 inches (iPhone 12-13 Pro Max, iPhone 11 / 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR)1242 x 2688
2688 x 1242 
5.8 inches(iPhone 13 / 13 Pro / 13 mini, iPhone 12/12 Pro/12 mini, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone XS, iPhone X)1125 x 2436
2436 x 1125 
5.5 inches(iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus)1242 x 2208
2208 x 1242 
4.7 inches(iPhone SE, iPhone 6 / 6s / 7 / 8)750 x 1334
1334 x 750 
Screen size (models)Resolution
12.9 inches(iPad Pro)2048 x 27322732 x 2048 
11 inches(iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad mini)1668 x 23882388 x 1668 1640 x 23602360 x 1640 

See details in Apple recommendations.

Which screenshots to upload - vertical or horizontal

About 96% of the top apps in 2021 use vertical (portrait or portrait) screenshots. Game creators use them 80% of the time.

The portrait arrangement allows you to place more information since three vertical screenshots are displayed in the SERP at once (only one horizontal orientation). On the other hand, a sizeable flat screenshot is more noticeable in the list of apps and, according to statistics, gives a higher number of conversions.

Which screenshot format to choose depends on the features of the apps. It is better for apps with advanced functionality to add vertical shots to get all the essential information faster. Simple bright apps (for example, a calculator) are best supplemented with a horizontal screenshot. Place a call to action on it or create a collage.

Video instead of the first screenshot

You were searching the App Store on iOS 12 and above displays almost two screenshots on the screen. You can upload an auto-play preview video instead of the first shot.

Video requirements:

Number of videos allowedUp to 3
Format.mov, .m4v, .mp4
Video resolution and sizeDownload videos in FullHD or higher format. The maximum size is 50 MB.The video is automatically scaled down to fit the screen size of the device.
Video duration15-30 sec
AutoplaySilent - add human-readable subtitles to video (about 69% of users watch videos in a public place);
Video orientationVertical and horizontal
Moderation featuresIt is forbidden to add marketing materials to the video;The video needs to show the UI / UX of the app or the gameplay of the game;Moderation takes place manually and takes up to 24 hours.

Make a video cover as a separate screenshot. Video does not play automatically in power-saving mode. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to the design of the freeze-frame. The video cover will act as a screenshot and may contain additional information. Take a freeze-frame according to the same tips as for screenshots of IOS apps. 

Creating App Store screenshots can be tricky, especially considering the difference in display sizes, orientations, and the ability to download videos. If you’ve decided to take screenshots of the iOS app yourself, use the screenshot optimization tips below.

App Store screenshot guidelines and best practices

Tip 1. See what competitors have already done

Before taking screenshots, review the screenshots of competitors’ apps. Pay attention to the information provided, the presence of calls to action, the type of fonts for signatures, and other details. Don’t mindlessly copy an idea; instead, take the best solutions for yourself.

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Target top apps in your and related niches. You can conveniently analyze competitors using ASOMobile services, for example, the function “Visual comparison”.

Tip 2. Place the main information on the first screenshot

The first screenshot clearly indicates the essence of the app, its functionality, and its internal visual design. The first screenshot of WhatsApp Messenger is a great example. The picture shows the appearance of the messenger and describes its 3 main advantages: “Convenient. Reliable. Safely”. In the second, third, and fourth screenshots, the advantage of the app is added, and what the chatting looks like.

It is important to show in each image what the user will receive after downloading the apps, what is the value.

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Tip: Make screenshots of the app clear, interesting, with a minimum amount of text.

Tip 3. Try to split the content into two screenshots

If the thought does not fit into one screenshot, or you want to make a bright design, divide the text or photo into two pictures. This feature is used by Facebook. And although the inscription would fit well on one image, this is how the app page looks brighter and clearer.

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YouTube uses another trick: one function for each screenshot. So the user in just three pictures understands the main advantages of YouTube.

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Uber went even further and made a quick guide to booking a ride from their screenshots. Note that the first snapshot clearly shows the purpose and benefits of the app, while the last snapshot encourages users to use the service.

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Tip 4. Make captions bright and easy to read

Screenshots are displayed on mobile devices with a small display. Therefore, keep the background of the picture simple and the text short, clear, and easy to read. Contrasting colors will help you with this.

For text, choose a font that is easy to read, even if you don't open a screenshot, such as SF Pro Text. Don't write too much, try to get the point across in a short phrase or even one word. Optimally - 3-5 words.

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Tip 5. Increase the font size of key signatures

So you can more easily convey your idea to the user and quickly interest him. It is much easier to pay attention to a keyword than to read the entire text.

For example, the Meditopia meditation app highlights its achievement in large print: "Best Meditation App." Please note that the unimportant word "for" is written in small print, and everything else is in bold and with a capital letter. So attention immediately clings to keywords. 

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Tip 6. Use the most appropriate color for each screenshot

The choice of shades depends on the type of your app. Some of the best services use their own recognizable "brand" shades: the already mentioned Uber - black, Facebook - blue.

You can also create a common one for different screenshots using a similar design. Use the same background, similar font and text placement, or try your way of capturing photos with the same story.

Remember that it is better to make images with contrasting, but at the same time not defiantly bright. Amazon Prime Video screenshots have a good contrast - soft blue, translucent black, white.

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Tip 7. Select the focus element for the screenshot

An especially relevant feature for games where the main focus is a bright game character. For example, the popular games "My Talking Tom" or Minecraft in each of their screenshots depict recognizable characters (although, as it seems to us, in the first app this method is much more successful).

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By the way, pay attention to the style of screenshots in Minecraft - minimalistic, with simple large print. It fully corresponds to the idea of the game.

Tip 8. Highlight unique characteristics, features and benefits

If you have an award, a recommendation from Apple, or a renowned major publication, feel free to mention it in the app screenshots. This will increase user confidence and they are more likely to download it.

You can also highlight your other achievements in the screenshots. For example, 1 million downloads or exclusive offers.

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Tip 9. Add a zoom element for the key elements of the screenshot

Users practically do not use full-screen mode to view screenshots, and even more so they will not enlarge them on their own. Focus people's attention on the key elements of the functionality by increasing them yourself.

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Tip 10. Use unique labels and inserts, show the exclusivity of the app

More than 2 million apps have been downloaded in the App Store, so you will always find several similar offers in the same area.

It is the unique features and benefits that will make the user download the app. For example, for services with online training, the following offers may be unique:

  • The number of workouts, their regularity.
  • Author's lessons.
  • Workouts live / recording.
  • Availability of video / audio recording, subtitles.
  • Calorie tracking and diet planning.
  • User reviews, photo "Before-After".
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Tip 11. Localize and adapt screenshot elements

For international apps available in multiple countries and in multiple languages, ASO localization is key to increasing conversion rates.

Correct localization removes the language barrier, makes it easier to understand the functionality and interface. Since it is always more convenient to use apps in own language, take care of your international audience and localize screenshots for all countries where the app is running.

It is important not only to translate but also to adapt the text to a specific audience, to take into account the cultural characteristics of the countries. You may need to change the way the pictures are presented, or even change the information altogether. An example of such a competent approach is demonstrated by screenshots of Aliexpress apps. For different countries, they differ in the displayed goods, advertisements/promotions. Please note that for each localization, different products are relevant, which are in the greatest demand in the region.

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Aliexpress In English

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Aliexpress in Russian

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Aliexpress in Portuguese

Tip 12. Upload as many screenshots as possible

You can add from 1 to 10 screenshots for one app and its localization in the App Store.

We analyzed the top 100 apps and noticed that most developers only add 5 pictures. We also analyzed user behavior and found that about 40% flip through the video and the first two screenshots in search of more detailed information. If he does not see the main advantages, the benefits of installing your app, most likely, he will go to the competitor's app page. Not many are willing to read a detailed description of app.

Add as many high-quality screenshots as possible. Try to add all 10 pictures and make them as informative as possible.

Tip 13. Edit the status bar

Remember to remove any unnecessary icons from the status bar before taking a screenshot. Focus on icons like this:

  • The name of the mobile service operator;
  • Full battery icon;
  • Availability of a network, access to Wi-Fi;
  • Disabled Bluetooth, GPS, tethering, or other advanced features.

If you cannot turn off all the icons, you can erase them in the photo editor or simply crop them. But don't forget about high resolution and suitable screenshot sizes!

You can't know everything for sure - do A \ B tests

This will help you understand which page design is best attracting your audience. Try to test several options: with video, horizontal and vertical screenshots, different designs. Compare the result and choose the best option. But don't stop there - keep testing new creatives. Try to try a new design at least once a month.

Screenshot optimization is the part of ASO that has the biggest impact on conversions. It doesn't matter where your user came from - from search, ads, or other resources. As a result, it still ends up on the app page. At this stage, the visual design influences most of all his decision to download the app.

With ASOMobile services, it is much easier to optimize your app in the App Store and Google Play. In just a few clicks, you can collect comprehensive information about your competitors, find interesting ideas from other niches, and prepare an optimal market entry strategy. Analyze the data of any app in ranking and search.

Optimize your app with ASOMobile💙

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