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The App Store is Now Offering App Pre-Orders

Advertising & Marketing

Tammy Slaughter wrote this article


Apple has already unveiled some pretty big software updates in 2020, but this is arguably one of the most impactful changes for appreneurs and developers when it comes to user acquisition.

Now, you can publish a dedicated product page to the App Store, and users will be able to pre-order your app before it’s launched for download!

This is incredible news for app marketers everywhere looking to drive early downloads, and create a sense of hype for what’s coming.

You Decide When Your App is Ready for Pre-Order

Ideally, this should be when you have an anticipated launch date set for your app.

When your app becomes available for pre-order, a limited version of your product page, which includes your expected release date, is published on the App Store. For iOS apps offering in-app purchases, promoted in-app purchases will not be shown during pre-order. Plan to have your promoted in-app purchases set up and approved so they are ready when your app is released for download.

That last bit is critical to get right.

Apple is notorious for imposing strict guidelines on any apps accepted into the App Store, so be careful if you release your app for pre-order anticipating a launch date before all necessary approval(s) are obtained.

Be sure to follow App Store guidelines during the construction of your app, and follow the necessary steps when it comes to setting up your developer account. Best practice here is to leave yourself plenty of buffer around submitting the app for final approval from the App Store, and your launch date.

This new pre-order option will be a great option for startups and companies alike looking to generate early user interest!

Your App Automatically Downloads To Users Who Pre-Ordered on Launch Day

This is essentially a ‘pre-order launch list’ on steroids.

App marketers used to have to rely on an app landing page with a contact form to generate any traction when it came to their app’s presence in the App Store. Using an email collection tool, they would notify interested users upon launch day using Mailchimp, One Signal, etc. They would have to rely on users following through on a strong call-to-action, and downloading the app.

With this latest update not only allowing users to stay in the know and also get immediate access upon launch — this is a really positive thing for the user experience, and driving future app downloads. Future users will also receive a push notification letting them know the app has been successfully downloaded to their device, and is ready to be fully explored.

From where we’re sitting, the user on boarding experience simply cannot get any more streamlined. And this makes app marketing a much more one-to-one experience with the App Store now as an active participant.

Thank you, Apple, for this latest update!

The Fine Print

– Customers can cancel their pre-orders in their App Store settings on iOS and macOS, or their iTunes settings on desktop for iOS, macOS, and tvOS apps.


– Pre-orders can be made on devices running iOS 11.2, iPadOS 13, tvOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and watchOS 6 or later.


– Product pages during pre-order are accessible for customers on earlier operating systems through direct links. However, the buy button is disabled and customers are prompted to update to the latest OS version to pre-order apps.


– Again, the pre-order product page for your app will display an expected launch date. For the sake of clarity, be sure you know what this time line looks like before launching your app for pre-order.

App Marketers Unite for this Latest Update

If it wasn’t completely obvious from the tone of this post, I am a marketer who happens to be really excited for this latest update.

Something as simple as an ‘app landing page’ featured in the App Store weeks ahead of launch can make all the difference for an app’s marketing efforts.

This truly is a game changing update, and Apple’s provided marketers everywhere with a new call-to-action when it comes to early app marketing efforts: Pre-Order on the App Store!

Keep in mind, any users who pre-order your app are not automatically notified by Apple of any date changes or pre-order removals from the App Store. Should you decide to let users know, you would need to send out this communication accordingly.

However, Apple themselves recommends against notifying future users of any date changes to the anticipated launch.

On launch day, update all of your marketing materials and App Store badges to communicate that your app is now available to download on the App Store. You can download App Store badges here.

How do you know which users signed up for your app’s pre-order?

A new preorder date receipt field is available to help you identify which users signed up via pre-order, and send thank you’s and extra rewards their way accordingly.

This is excellent marketing and user experience hygiene — two things that have increasingly become synonymous with one another, and interconnected in today’s social media driven world.

It’s Been A Good Year for App Marketers

This isn’t actually the first major update to benefit app marketers in 2020.

Both Google Play and the App Store have unveiled subscription offers this year.

Now, users can sign up for a subscription faciliated directly via the stores (not within the app themselves). The ability to offer free trials and limited trial periods from a more ‘trust-worthy’ source is a huge get for marketers looking to drive user acquisition.

Apple also rolled out updated push notification guidelines this year, allowing additional marketing notifications to be sent to users who ‘opt-in’ to receive them. This one felt perfectly timed for app developers and app marketers to start pushing subscription offers out to future users.

Last, but certainly not least, app clips!

These mini apps may be less than 10mb in size, but they’ll allow users to interact with small businesses and companies even without having the dedicated app downloaded to their devices. By giving users convenience ,and easy access to an app in the moment, you might even sway them to download the app permanently.

But either way, in that moment that user enjoyed a positive experience with your brand — something all businesses strive to create.

About Since 2009, we have helped create 350+ next-generation apps for startups, Fortune 500s, growing businesses, and non-profits from around the globe. Think Partner, Not Agency.


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