Testing Application Names on Home Screen

In my previous post I described how to change the application name that is shown below the icon on the iPhone home screen. Knowing how to change and test the name becomes important as you get close to submitting your application to Apple. What follows is some insight based on my recent experience naming an application.

With 15,000+ applications on the App Store, coming up with a unique name can be difficult. As an aside, I don’t believe there are any rules (or checks) that says your application name can’t match mine, however, having a unique name is always a good thing. Another consideration is the length of the name. The font for the name is not fixed width, so there is no set number of characters you can use. Also, the software on the iPhone will insert "…" into the middle of long names, converting a name such as "Homebrewing Beer" to "Home…Beer". All the above can make for some trying times to come up with a unique name that fits.

One aspect that is quite helpful in the decision process is to see various names on the home screen to get a feel for how they look. The obvious process for testing of names is the change the Bundle Display Name (see the previous post), rebuild and view on the device or simulator. This approach is fine if you are the decision maker as to the name, however, if you are building the application for someone else, this process is a little more challenging. This approach also leaves a little to be desired if your application has any size to it as you’ll have to wait for the application to be installed.

On a recent project I would create a few builds, capture screenshots of the name on the simulator and send to the client. A little tedious, however, it worked well. After a few iterations, the client started to send me suggestions, telling me what would fit on the home screen. Okay, although he’s a very tech savvy person, he’s not a developer, I had to know how he was doing this.

Here’s the trick:

  • Start the Safari browser on the iPhone
  • Click the + on the bottom of the application
  • Choose Add to Home Screen
  • Enter the name you would like to appear below the icon
  • Click Add to save the name

Now, find the icon on the home screen and you’ll see the name.

Not a perfect solution, however, if you are working with a remote client who would like to experiment with a few names, this process works quite well.

  1. 15,000+ apps? How about 23,082 and climbing. This number is based on AppShopper.com’s count. Just thought you would want your number to be more accurate. ;)

  2. It’s amazing the pace at which iPhone apps are released…Thanks for the insight Dave.

  3. Thanks for an interesting post…..interestingly enough within the simulator I tried a name and it inserted the …into the middle of the name but doing it this way it works fine. Any ideas what i might be doing wrong ?

  4. Is there a way to reserve a name for an iphone Application under development?

  5. Just what I needed for work. Thanx so much!!!

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