Choose Your App Store Name Wisely – It Cannot Be Changed!

When you develop for the App Store as a company, your company name will be listed as the developer. This is both logical and, in most cases, appropriate as well. In our case it was not!

We were already owners of a few companies and did not want the added administration and cost of another. But on the other hand, we didn’t want to use an established company name that was already associated with something else either. After some discussion we decided to develop our apps through one of our existing companies anyway BUT use a separate brand name for all our apps, in this case My Pal Apps.

If you haven’t registered as a developer with Apple before, let me tell you it is a daunting task. However, it is nothing compared to the task (and confusion) of uploading your first app to Apple for review! We might be dumb but it is our firm opinion that the questions you have to answer when you upload you first app are both ambiguous and confusing.

The best example of this is when you are asked for your “Company Name”. It does not say where this information will be used, nor does it say that it cannot be changed – ever. Like we said above, in most cases this might not be an issue but when you want to brand your apps in a different way depending on your target audience (kids apps should not be mixed with “grownapps”) understanding this question is crucial – and we didn’t!

When asked for our Company Name we entered the legal name of the company we had decided to use. As it turns out, the answer to this question will turn up everywhere on the App Store and in iTunes that your apps are displayed. It is the name on top of your App name when someone is viewing your app on the iPad and it is the name people will see in all top lists if your app makes it there.

In our case we had decided that we wanted to use our brand name, My Pal Apps in as many places as possible and ESPECIALLY together with our app names on the App Store. We had no way of realizing our mistake until our first app was live on the App Store since it nowhere says where the “Company Name” information will be used.

As soon as we saw our mistake we went on iTunes Connect (where you manage your published apps) to change the name. As you know by now, we couldn’t. We spent countless hours on-line googling for information. All we could find where conflicting guesses. We then sent a message to Apple through iTunes Connect support. After a week with no answer, we called Apple. The associate didn’t seem to understand what we were talking about and kept referring to what is labeled as “Company Name” on Apple’s website as “Artist Name”. Either way, she couldn’t help us. Instead she suggested we send another email through iTunes Connect support, and these are her words, in case the first one got lost…

The sad truth is that it seems as if we have to live with our mistake. In an effort to minimize the effects of Apple’s ambig… our ignorance we are now attaching “ – by My Pal Apps” to all our app titles. Thus our first app was named “I Read – by My Pal Apps”.

[UPDATE: We did send another email just in case our first one “had gotten lost” at Apple HQ. Now 7 weeks later, we still have not received an answer to either one of our emails.]

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  • Pappa Daniel

    Jag har hört att man kan kontakta Apples juridiska avdelning och säga “Det är ett annat företag som hotar att stämma oss för att vårt namn är för likt deras. Vi vill byta namn till xyz”. Då ändrar Apple namnet inom någon/några dagar.

    För att kontakta den juridiska avdelningen använd eller

    Hoppas det fungerar!

    / Daniel

  • Happi Papi

    Tack Daniel!

    Det låter som ett smart sätt. Vi ska prova det nästa gång (4:de gången gillt) vi kontaktar Apple i detta ärende.


  • Brent

    Hello. Thank you for posting your experience. I am developing an iPad game and have some info for this discussion.

    Regarding how all these app names are associated, here’s a great example. I spoke with Apple Dev support this morning and confirmed this, but please feel free to call them as well.

    App Name – This is your app name, needs to be unique. You can change it with a new upload of a binary.

    Artist Name – This is name of your company or brand. It is locked in once, directly tied to your Company (legal) name and CANNOT change once you enter it with an app that you upload. The only way to get another one is to get a NEW biz entity with it’s own bank acct etc. Giant pain.

    Company Name or Seller – This is your legal entity name and must be exactly written as your legal docs and bank acct shows.

    This association was first created for MP3 music artists and works well for that. But it doesn’t exactly translate to a more fluid brand changing software model. Here’s an analogy:

    Dark Side of the Moon (app name)
    Pink Floyd (artist name)
    EMI Records (biz name)

    With that, you can see why they tightly coupled the artist and biz name. Most bands or individuals wouldn’t change their name often. But in light of app stores, it needs some updating. My suggestion to Apple is that they let you have up to 5 Brands (or artist names) underneath a single Biz Name.

    Hope this helps.

  • patrick

    More than one artist name to use as brand names is an excellent idea Brent. I second that.

  • keram

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m just new in this area and just planning to enroll as a single individual developer (no company) in the iOS Developer Program. Do you know if it’s possible to use an alias or nick name to be showed on the iTunes app pages, or does my real (legal) name have to appear there?

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