The App Store is available in 175 countries and regions and 40 languages to make it easy for people around the world to discover and download your app. This week, we’re showing you how localizing your app can help make it more relevant to local cultures and languages and help you grow your business — and that starts with preparing your app for a global audience.
Structure your app for localization
Internationalization, the process of structuring your app’s code and UI for localization, is a fundamental first step in building apps for a global audience. With Apple’s powerful tools and technologies, including Xcode 11, Apple APIs, Auto Layout, and Unicode support, it’s easy to prepare your apps to support multiple languages and regions, even before you know which languages you’d like to add.
In Xcode, make sure your user-visible text and images are separate from your executable code. When you translate these elements into other languages, you can integrate the content back into your app as separate localized resource files stored within the app bundle.
Images — including image sets, Apple Watch complications, Apple TV image stacks, Sprite Atlases, and symbol sets — can be localized directly in your Asset Catalog. You can also use localized SF system symbols and set the directionality for custom symbols — for example, for right-to-left languages like Arabic and Hebrew.
Use Apple APIs to correctly express user-visible or dynamically-generated values, such as dates, lengths, weights, prices, and currency symbols, across different locales. Ensure your app accepts user-generated text in any language and in multiple languages at once, independent of the user interface language. This allows app content to appear in someone’s preferred language and format.
You can also take advantage of Auto Layout to automatically adjust the dimensions and layouts of views, extensive Unicode support to work with text from any language, the powerful text handling technologies of Cocoa and Cocoa Touch to display, lay out, and edit text in many languages, and much more.
Investigate market factors
Market-specific demographics, such as population, language, and purchasing power, can help you better understand areas that might have an affinity or need for your app. Every market has its own preferences for the types of apps or categories customers most enjoy. For example, games are popular worldwide, however strategy games may be more popular in a particular region.
Consider selecting markets with similar attributes to those in which you have already established success, such as strong app downloads, sales, usage, or retention metrics, as this may make for easier growth. When selecting a market, assess how your app might fit in and how its value and functionality aligns with that market’s needs. You may even identify a need in the market that is not yet filled, allowing you to bring unique value to people with your app.
Use App Analytics to determine potential markets
If you offer your app worldwide but haven’t localized for particular regions, you can look at key performance metrics, such as Product Page Views, App Units, Sales, and Active Devices, filtered by territory. This can help you determine if your app is attracting people in a particular territory that might benefit from localization. For example, if your app is primarily in English and you see lower than average retention or Sessions per Active Device in Germany, you might consider adding German language support. Keep in mind that some markets may have greater proficiency with your app’s primary language, while others may require more significant localization work. Usage data such as active devices, sessions, and retention include only users who have agreed to share their diagnostics and usage information with you.
Consider local culture and customs
While your app and product page should each provide a consistent experience across all markets, it’s sometimes valuable to refine certain elements for cultural relevance. For example, you might try incorporating market-specific content or cultural moments, such as special holiday content or regional art styles. You may want to consider any local policies and market regulations, as well as any political or religious sensitivities, to increase the likelihood that your app is well received.