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How Do Promotional Codes for iPhone and iPad Apps Work?

I'm looking for ways to promote my iPhone app, is there a way that I can let bloggers and reviewers test out the app without having to pay for it?

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Promo Codes Are the Way To Go

With iTunes you are given 50 promo codes for each update of your app, whether for iPhone or iPad. These codes can be used to give out to the press, bloggers, reviewers, or your friends and family to receive feedback.

A couple of important details:
  • Codes are Limited - You only receive 50 codes each time that your app is submitted and approved by Apple, it's a best practice to offer the codes out to bloggers and reviewers, and then have them request the codes from you instead of just sending them out directly
  • Codes Expire - Your codes will expire after 4 weeks, so don't download them all at once, but rather download them as needed
  • App Users Can't Review Your App on iTunes - Users that receive a promo code and download your app cannot rate or review your app on iTunes. They would need to download your app on a different account and pay for it in order to rate and/or review it
  • Codes are Only Available for Apps "Ready for Sale" - You can't obtain apps which are in beta or not published on the store
  • Codes Don't Work For In-App Purchases - Codes cannot be generated to pay for In-App purchases such as subscriptions or buying items. You can offer iTunes gift cards which can be redeemed (keep in mind that Apple keeps a 30% cut of revenue)

Promo codes are a very valuable tool when you are promoting your mobile app, make sure to use them wisely.

You can access the promotional codes from your app's Version Details Page. Enter the number of codes you want to receive and then click continue.

It is a good idea to put these codes in an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of them, know which codes when to which media outlets so that you don't send the same code out to two separate people. That would look bad.

What about Android Apps?
For Android Apps, while there is no feature like this on Google Play, because Android Apps can be download outside of Google Play, you can simply upload your app to a server and then send a link out for users to download it for free. Again, it would be good practice to keep tabs on who you send the link out to, even using links that expire after a certain amount of time.