I recently uploaded a new application to iTunes Connect for review by Apple. The new app is currently waiting for review. It makes heavy use of the so-called hi-dpi images that look great on the iPhone 4′s Retina Display. Naturally we wanted to use the screenshots from the iPhone 4 to highlight those images in the App Store description. The latest version of the documentation ( iTunes Connect Developer Guide 6.0 ) is pretty clear about which sizes you can use for an iPhone app. I should mention this is not a universal app, so there’s no confusion over iPhone/iPad screenshot sizes.

itc-image-directions.png

So naturally I uploaded a set of 920×640 images for screenshots. So far so good. All looks well on the ITC website, even though it gives fewer suggested formats for the images:

itc-image-hints.png

Yesterday I noticed a tweet and email messages from Bob Estes ( @onscrn ) stating that there was a problem with the hi-dpi screenshots. Further investigation and another tweet from David Frampton ( @majicdave ) led to the conclusion that the hi-dpi screenshots do not show up on devices not running iOS 3.2 and above. In other words, they show up on iPad and any device running iOS 4.x. What do you see on devices running iOS 3.1.x or earlier? Well, nothing. It seems the App Store application itself doesn’t know how to display the higher resolution images, and it skips the screenshots entirely (left from iOS 3.1.2, right from iOS 4.0.2):

itc-store-compare.png

That’s definitely not good. So, what are developers to do? If you can’t use the hi-dpi images in screenshots and have them work on all devices, how can you include standard images that don’t look crappy on the Retina Display? I brought this up at last night’s CocoaHeads meeting here in Colorado Springs. Most folks were unaware of the issue so I persisted a bit and Jeff Schmoyer came up a solution: Include one image at standard resolution and the others at high resolution. That way users on devices with iOS 3.1.x could see at least one image and all other users would see all the images. You could even add a caption to the one image so that it explained that the other screenshots were available on iOS 3.2 and above (I didn’t do that, though).

So I updated my images, as Jeff suggested, since my app is still waiting for review. I still don’t know exactly how everything will look once it is live on the App Store. Of course, those of you with existing apps are in the unfortunate position of being unable to modify the screenshots until you upload a new binary. Or, as David Frampton puts it: “What’s new in this version: Inferior screenshots to work around bug in App Store. 62.8MB.”

I’ve contacted Apple about this but haven’t heard back yet. I will update this post when I know more.

Update:This problem has apparently been solved. My application was approved on August 19th, and all five images did show up on both iOS 3.x and 4.x. However, Bob Estes reports that Apple corrected the issue on the App Store, and indeed I can see all the Chopper 2 screenshots now.