App Store Screenshots Of The Rich And Famous

Stuart Hall
by Stuart Hall
April 30, 2015

Whenever I release an app and get to the screenshots I wonder:

  • Should I make the screenshots portrait or landscape?
  • Should I use iPhone frames? Black or white?
  • Should I annotate the screenshots?

And if I do any of these will it have any influence on Apple giving me a feature?

So we dug into both the top 100 iPhone free and paid charts and the apps that Apple had featured in the USA to find out. Obviously this was taking a snapshot at a particular time, the App Store is continually changing.


Annotating your screenshots is a great way to help tell your story and show off your features.




How popular is it? Extremely popular.


Annotations - FeaturedAnnotations - Top Charts


The majority of successful apps do annotate in some way, either by insetting the screenshot and using the space around it, or using an overlay. Apple seem to be quite happy for you to do this as well.




Designers love to use iPhones in their screenshots.




It wasn’t long ago that Apple didn’t want you to use white phones at all in marketing material. So how many apps use phones, what colors do they use and do Apple penalize you when they look for apps to feature on the App Store?


Phone - FeaturedPhone - Top Charts


White phones are slightly more popular than black phones and about 1/3 of apps use phones in their screenshots. The good news is Apple seems totally fine with you doing this.



Interestingly the featured apps tended to have more landscape screenshots than that which appear in the top charts.

Games only make up 30-40% of the top free and paid charts, but make up a higher percentage of the featured apps. Games tend to use landscape screenshots more often than other apps, which explains why we see a bias towards landscape in the featured apps.

Orientation FeaturedOrientation Top Charts


So it appears there’s no strong preference on screenshot orientation, pick which your app suits the best, but don’t mix portrait and landscape.

Number of Screenshots

Amazingly 3% of the top apps (like Snapchat) only have 3 screenshots.

Number of Screenshots - FeaturedNumber of Screenshots - Top Charts


Definitely look to use 5, or at the very least 4, of your available screenshots to showcase your app.

What Apple Do

Apple stick with plain screenshots, not sure how to read that. I guess that’s what they’d prefer everyone did 🙂



Apple have become much more flexible on what they allow, and feature, in regards to App Store screenshots. Annotate and use iPhone frames without worrying if it’s affecting your chance of getting some Apple love.

But most importantly experiment with your screenshot and see what works for you.

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