Tips for nailing an iPhone app demo during a presentation

Don’t let Murphy Kick You in The Rear.

I have done my fair share of iPhone app demos. Having botched many of them (Murphy’s Law seems to be ever present whenever I take the floor), I wanted to share some tips on how to nail the demo when you’re showing off an app.

Pre-Requisites

  1. Get an iPhone that supports your app. Preferrably the best model so everything is buttery smooth.
  2. Get an AppleTV so that you can project your screen on TV
  3. Get access to the remote control that controls the TV

Setting up for the Demo

  1. Make sure that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi and you can present your screen on the AppleTV. Do this for a few minutes to make sure everything is ok. AppleTV is a great medium for presentations because you can demo your app live. It’s the real deal.
  2. Go into Airplane Mode so that a phone call won’t interrupt your demo. You’ll be surprised who will call you when it’s crunch time. I would also send a text to loved ones and VIP’s to let them know you won’t be available.
  3. Enable Do Not Disturb Mode on your iPhone as a pre-cautionary measure so nobody can e-mail or call you. This will also disable notifications, so banner alerts won’t appear during your demo. I can’t stress this enough.
  4. Turn on any settings necessary for your app, like Location Services or Bluetooth. Switching out of your app during a demo is the ultimate buzzkill.
  5. Disable the iPhone locking behavior in Settings so that your iPhone won’t lock after a period of inactivity. This will ensure that attention is always on your app.
  6. Set your Home Screen or Wallpaper to something you won’t be embarassed to share to an audience. Even though your iPhone won’t lock by itself, you may accidentally turn your phone off, and your audience will see it when you turn your phone back on.
  7. Control the remote for the TV. Make sure the volume is set to your liking and that nobody else will have access to it.

Performing the Demo

  1. Demonstrate the key features of your app. Not every detail. Know the user experience flows in advance so you’re not fumbling.
  2. Be natural. Demonstrate the app as if you are using it, not selling it.
  3. If you’re demo’ing a half baked app, stay away from areas that are unfinished. I don’t suggest demo’ing half done apps, but it happens.
  4. Unleash your inner-Steve Jobs.