How to Send an iPhone or iPad App as a Gift

Send Your Tech Friends Apps They'Ll Love for Their iOS Devices

The screen to gift an app on the iPad.

Melanie Pinola / Lifewire

iPhone and iPad apps make great gifts. They're affordable, can be selected according to the recipient's tastes so they are much more personal than a gift card, and they're easy and quick to send. The hardest part is picking the app itself.

To send an app as a gift, you need an iOS device—iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. If you don't own one, you can send a gift certificate from iTunes on your computer. The recipient can use it to purchase apps at the App Store.

How to Give an iOS App to Someone

Here's how to send an iPhone or iPad app to someone from your iOS device:

  1. Click the App Store icon on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. 

  2. Go to the app you want to send by tapping the Search icon at the bottom of the screen and typing in the name of the app. If you don't already know which app you want to send, click one of the other icons at the bottom of the screen to shop the app collections. The icons are Today, Games, and Apps

  3. Tap an app to open its preview page. Tap the button with the three dots that appears to the right of the price for the app.

  4. Tap the Gift App option on the screen that opens.

  5. Log in to your account, if you aren't already logged in.

  6. Enter the recipient's email address, your name, and a message of 200 characters or less.

  7. Leave the default set to Today if you want the gift to be sent right away, or select a different date for a delayed delivery.

  8. Tap the Next button. Review the details of the app gift before buying it. When you click Buy Gift, your account is charged, the app is sent to your gift recipient, and you get a receipt.

How to Send a Gift When You Don't Have an iOS Device

Apple removed apps from iTunes on computers in late 2017. Apps are currently only available through the App Store on mobile iOS devices. You must have an iOS device to send a specific app as a gift. However, you can still send an iTunes gift certificate using your computer. A gift certificate can be used by the recipient to buy not just apps from the App Store but also music and other media. 

To order a gift certificate:

  1. Open iTunes on your computer. Sign in if you aren't already signed in.

  2. Click Store at the top of the screen.

  3. In the panel at the right of the screen, under Quick Links, click Send Gift to open the App Store & iTunes Gift screen.

  4. Enter your recipient's email address, your name, and a message of up to 200 characters.

  5. Select one of the amounts shown or enter a custom amount.

  6. Indicate whether you want the gift certificate sent today or on another date.

  7. Click the Next button.

  8. Review the order of the gift before finalizing the purchase. When you click Buy Gift, your account is charged, the gift certificate is sent to your gift recipient, and you get a receipt.