Titanium Tips

Status Bars Begone!

Ugly status bar that should be removed
When submitting an iPhone or iPad app to the App Store, you have the option of including up to 5 screenshots of your app in action. These screenshots are one of the primary pieces of information people have to decide whether or not to download your app, so you should try to get them right.

A simple thing Apple suggests is to remove the status bar from your screenshots before uploading them. (For the uninitiated: the status bar is the tiny (typically gray or black) bar along the top of your iDevice that has the battery, signal strength, clock etc.)

This is a simple thing to do, but it always amazes me how so many developers just fail to do it. Even big budget developers often still have the status bar showing in their app screenshots. I don’t know if they just forget to do this, aren’t aware or just can’t be bothered, but leaving in the status bar can make your screenshots look a tad amateurish, in my opinion. I don’t want to know that you took your app screenshots on two-bars of AT&T 3G service at 3:04am with a 22% full battery - I just want to see the pics of your app.

Here’s how to get rid of the status bar THE HARD WAY...

1. Take a screenshot of your app using your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad by holding down the Home button and Sleep button at the same time. The screen should flash, a camera noise should be made and your screenshot should be saved to your Camera Roll.
2. Plug in your iDevice and sync your photo to iPhoto.
3. Open your screenshot in a photo editor like Photoshop or Pixelmator.
4. Make sure your screenshot is in the correct orientation. Rotate it so that the status bar is at the top of the screenshot (if it isn’t already).
5. Go to the ‘Canvas Size’ function. (In Photoshop or Pixelmator, you’ll find it under the ‘Image’ menu.)
6. Select the center bottom square.
7. Reduce the height of your image by 20 pixels (this is the height of the status bar).
8. Click OK and save.

Pixelmator's Canvas Size option with bottom center anchor selected

9. That’s it, your status bar has been successfully removed.

Here’s how to do it AN EASIER WAY...

1. Take a screenshot of your app using your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad by holding down the Home button and Sleep button at the same time. The screen should flash, a camera noise should be made and your screenshot should be saved to your Camera Roll.
2. Plug in your iDevice and sync your photo to iPhoto.
3. Open the Mac App Store, search for “Status Barred” and buy the cheap Status Barred Mac application.
4. Drag and drop your screenshot from iPhoto onto the Status Barred application.
5. It will ask you if you want to overwrite your original or save the altered image separately. Take your pick.
6. That’s it! Done!

Status Barred Application Icon
Status Barred is a great app created by Craig Walton of Vivex Software - a very talented young developer. The great thing about this application is that it makes a tedious task completely painless and as an added bonus, it also works seamlessly with screenshots from the iPhone Simulator. Apple doesn’t normally recommend taking screenshots from the iPhone Simulator (presumably because it is very difficult to get them the correct size), but using Status Barred totally fixes that problem.

So here’s THE QUICKEST AND BEST WAY to do it...

1. Open your app in the iPhone Simulator on your Mac.
2. Hold down CMD + SHIFT + 4 to bring up the screenshot crosshair.
3. Press the SPACEBAR to turn that crosshair into a camera.
4. Click on the iPhone Simulator window to take a screenshot of your app. This will be saved on the desktop. Notice that the screenshot includes the actual iPhone/iPad bezel, camera, shadow, home button, etc., which you don’t want.
5. Open the Mac App Store, search for “Status Barred” and buy the cheap Status Barred Mac application (if you haven’t already done so).
6. Drag and drop your screenshot onto the Status Barred application.
7. It will ask you if you want to overwrite your original or save the altered image separately. Take your pick.
8. That’s it! Done!

Now I know that this final method involved more steps that the second method, but that’s just the way I’ve written it. In my opinion using Status Barred to automatically remove the extraneous details from iPhone Simulator screenshots is the simplest and quickest way to get rid of that pesky status bar. Thanks to this application, there’s now no excuse for people not getting rid of the status bar from their app screenshots.