What are the languages iPhone supports for localization?

Languages iphone supports in iOS

UPDATED: June 4, 2013: We’ve got a full table of iOS languages and language codes to remove all the guess work!

UPDATED: May 3, 2012: Apple added 10 new languages! This post has been brought up to date.

Apple has already increased the languages iPhone supports to over 30 as of iOS 5.x:

English, British English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Catalan, German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian (Bokmål), Russian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Croatian, Romanian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Arabic, Thai, Greek, Hebrew, Indonesian, and Malay.

Developers often ask which languages iPhone supports, but more critically, which languages should they support in their own iPhone apps? Obviously supporting all of Apple’s language choices above is costly and time-consuming, so you want to begin with the largest markets. An even more important consideration is that you’ll only be able to market your app effectively in the languages supported by App Store.

Yep, the iTunes App Store supports a different set of languages than the iPhone itself.

The App Store speaks a different language

Through iTunes Connect you’ll be able to localize your app description, keywords, screenshots and other meta data for the App Store. I’ve previously discussed how to write an insanely great app description. Once you choose to localize, those critical texts are equally necessary for users to search and find your app in Apple’s App Store. It goes without saying, Google Translate won’t cut it!

The latest addition of the iTunes Developer guide lists these supported iOS languages for localization:

iTunes App Store languages iPhone supports

These are the languages iPhone supports in the App Store

iTunes App Store languages iPhone supports

Note that the languages iPhone supports include variants of English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese.

UPDATE 3-May-2012: Apple has now added support for: Traditional Chinese, Norwegian, Turkish, Finnish, Danish, Indonesian, Malay, Thai, Vietnamese, and Greek.

Apple currently supports just 21 languages (plus 7 additional variants of English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese) for the App Store, compared with 30+ languages on the iPhone itself. This may narrow down the list of languages you want to support in your app.

Which languages should I support and localize my iPhone app into?

I’ve answered this question in a separate post, but it bears repeating that Apple is clearly focusing its App Store on specific markets—and so should you. Unless you have reason to do otherwise, the most popular languages supported by the App Store are: Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, and Simplified Chinese.

Ready to localize your iPhone app? Contact Babble-on for a free quote.

8 thoughts on “What are the languages iPhone supports for localization?

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    1. Copywriter in San Francisco Post author

      This is unlikely that Apple will do that, unfortunately. I checked in the latest iOS Settings app General >Language & Region. Scroll down and choose “Add Language…” and you can choose practically any language, not just those localized by Apple, but even there Sindhi does not appear. 🙁

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