I'm seeking thoughts or examples from existing iOS mobile applications where users invite contacts to download the app. A unique identifier is required to establish a relationship between the inviter and the invitee to support the intended functionality. One thought was use a short code in the invitation but that requires the invitee to write down or remember that code because I believe the Apple App Store strips that invite code when the user is arriving through a deep link in the invite.

The other option I'm considering is having the inviter enter their contact's email address and have the invite sent through email with a link to the App Store, which works well but we run the risk of the invitee sign up using a different email address meaning that relationship between inviter and invitee wouldn't be established.

Any thoughts?

1 Answer 1


I would go the email route.

  1. User enters email address of friend.
  2. Your server generates an email with a Unique ID to temporarily identify the person being invites.
  3. The email contains a link that the user has to click to accept the invitation.
  4. When the user clicks that links, they are redirected to YOUR site before being redirected to download the app. Since the user went through your site, you can record their mac address and ip address. You can also try to use a deep link for your app to see if they already have it installed and launch the app directly.
  5. If a user with that mac address and optionally ip address registers, you know the connection is made.

I'm sure there are scenarios that will probably break this approach as well, such as the user switching from WiFi to 4G or something (will break the IP check), or from WIFI to LAN (I know incredibly unlikely but it will break the MAC check). I would probably not lose too much sleep over making sure that no user is missed with the above approach. There will always be scenarios that will be outliers.

  • Nice idea, except that in general, you CANNOT get the user's MAC address, so your idea won't work. Mar 25, 2016 at 14:13

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