Promo Codes: What are they and how do they work?

This week we explain promo codes and how they are redeemed in the iTunes App Store. After noticing how many of our Facebook fans are interested in promo codes to trial free apps, it seems necessary to explain what they are and why they are helpful. Special thanks to Suren from Mobicip, Madhavi from MazeArt, Jill from SmartyShortz, Jayne from Let’s Bead Friends, and Julie from Snow Globe Maker for providing content for this post. Readers, please let us know if you have more questions so we can keep the article relevant and useful.

What is a promo code? A promo code is a special code that can be used to download a particular app for free in iTunes. It looks something like this: WJH3KW3A9EFR. Developers receive an allotment of promo codes for every app they launch.  They send these codes to bloggers, reporters, and users who are reviewing or testing their products. Codes expire after four weeks from the time they are requested by the developer, so it is important to use them promptly. Also, each promo code is unique and can be used only once.

Why should I care? Promo codes enable you to download an app for free. Most apps are pretty inexpensive, but as your app library grows, having access to a free download can help expand your selection while getting to know new apps and developers.

How do I get them? Many of our Moms With Apps developers have been offering promo codes to our Facebook Fans as part of their app marketing efforts. If you are interested in checking out a particular app, follow the app developer on Facebook and Twitter so you’ll be informed of promo code giveaways and free app offers. You can also try writing a developer directly to request a code. Their contact information is listed within the iTunes app description.

What can I do in exchange for getting a free promo code? Developers are always looking for honest feedback for their application so that they can incorporate suggestions in their next update. If you do get a promo code from a developer, please return the favor by taking time to give them feedback and/or a review in iTunes. If you would like some improvements or see crashes, contact the developer directly with the detailed nature of the problem. Constructive interactions from customers are very much appreciated.

How do I redeem them? You can redeem a promo code directly from your iPhone or iPad, or from your computer.

From your iPhone/iPad:

1. Open the “APP Store” app.

2. Select Featured from the bottom panel, then New from the top menu.

3. Scroll all the way down to find Redeem.

4. After you select Redeem, enter your code. Once the code is approved, your app will start to download automatically.

Here is the screenshot of redeeming from your iPad:

From your computer:

1. Launch iTunes.

2. Click on the little home icon on the top bar, or click on iTunes Store.

3. From the Quick Links menu on the right, click Redeem.

4. Enter your promo code. Once the code is approved, your app will download to your app library automatically. Next time you synch with iTunes, the app will be transferred to your iPhone or iPad.

OK folks – did this help??? Please leave a comment letting us know. This post will be a work in progress until we all become experts in promo code redemption. Good luck and see you around on Facebook!

27 Replies to “Promo Codes: What are they and how do they work?”

  1. Thanks for the info! I was totally lost on this process, and happened to find how to redeem a code by “accident” – but it’s great to have the info readily available if I get the chance to get another code!!!!

  2. Thanks for explaining how to do this from the iPhone and iPad devices. I usually redeem codes through iTunes on my Mac but it’s nice to know you can redeem directly on the devices as well.

  3. Great info!!! I tried to use a code but i couldnt . It seems it only works for US app store 🙁

  4. Thanks for all that info. Just to say that as far as I know, the promo codes are only available for users in the US and unfortunately are not available to the rest of us!

  5. @Bitar @Avril, I need to investigate a solution for opening US itunes accounts if you reside outside of the US so that you can redeem promo codes. It has come up before. Once we have an idea of a solution I can update the post to apply globally. –Lorraine

  6. Yes! Thank you, that is very helpful.
    If only we could convince Apple to let the codes be valid for other iTunes stores besides the US! The solution you mention, Lorraine, is to set up a US iTunes account if you live outside of the US, but that’s a lot of steps (plus you need a payment option, I believe) to redeem a review code.

  7. I love the reviews as I’m always looking for great apps for my 2yr old son to occupy and educate him in a pinch. However I cannot use the free promo codes because I’m in Canada. Itunes really does need to change this—if I can purchase the app why can’t I also get the occasional free app? Please asks them to consider all the momma’s regardless of where they live to take advantage and try out new apps and support other momma’s (and daddy’s of course) !

  8. Thank u for the explanation and the steps, we r new parents to the ipad, it is for our son….. This a great site!!!

  9. You will be happy to know that Promo codes can now be used at other stores as well as the US app store. You can’t gift an app between stores as yet, or so I believe.

  10. I tried to claim a promo code on the computer and my redeem is not where you guys posted. Mine is on the bottom under Manage. Hope this helps others! 🙂

  11. You talk about the honor code when claiming these codes in a posting on Facebook…I have a question. Is you intention that someone grab a code and immediately post a comment that they’ve taken it? Or post after they have redeemed a code (to be certain that the code has worked for them)?

    It’s not clear and I think it’s causing some confusion, at least on my part, on your postings for the free codes. Some people grab a code, redeem it and then report; meanwhile, others are “claiming” the code in the comments and then going to try it, only to find it has been used by someone else in the very brief interim that it took them to post a comment claiming it and then try to redeem it.

    Which is the preferred method…I’ve redeemed a code and then gone back to post that I had redeemed it only to find someone else had “claimed” it at the same exact time.

  12. Hi Curious, good question. I used to encourage folks to “claim” then “redeem”, but too many codes were snatched in the interim. What I’m doing now is encouraging “just go for it” and redeem what you can. If you are successful, go back and state which code you redeemed so others know it’s taken. –Lorraine

  13. We’ve been using a great service called I’m not in any way connected with this, but as an app dev, it’s really useful, as when we send promo codes to people, they’re often unsure what to do. Redeem-now gives a one click solution to this, and it’s completely free.

  14. I won a moderately expensive assessment app that was given away in a drawing, but on my i-Pad, a message box comes on that says “Update Required–This app requires iOS 5.” How do I get the update?

  15. Hi Betty, when you synch your device with iTunes you should see the option to do a software update for your device. If you are running an older version of the iOS operating system on your device, that message is telling you that the app requires a more recent version of the operating system. –Lorraine

  16. You made promo codes much easier to understand. Now that I get it I can’t wait to see what I can select. Yay! Thanks for clearing up the confusion.

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