This week we launched our Letterboxd iPhone app as a free download through Apple’s App Store. We’re ecstatic to put this app in your pocket (18,000 of you have grabbed it already!), and tremendously excited about how it will evolve the way we use Letterboxd. This was a monumental achievement for the team at HQ (particular hat tips to Grant, Ryan and Karl); the scope of the API + app development turned out to be comparable to the amount of work we did in 2011 while preparing our initial public beta.

Download from the App Store

The launch was covered by TechCrunch, IndieWire, The Next Web and many others, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Today I’d like to share a little insight into the process and tell you about what we’ve built.


After committing to build an iPhone app for Letterboxd, we first needed to add an API layer to our server infrastructure, to handle the transfer of data between external clients and the site. We’d piloted a small portion of the required work for Film Fest Buzz, and over the course of the past year we’ve built out the remainder of the API, which today comprises 40 individual endpoints.

The app’s interface represents an iOS-friendly take on the site’s aesthetic, and some parts of it may influence the future direction of the site. The majority of the app’s screens were designed in late 2014—our prototype extended to 63 individual layouts, a large proportion of which have made it into the app we shipped this week.

API and iOS development was done concurrently for much of last year, and in November we invited Patron members to install and test an alpha version of the app. As always, we’re indebted to everyone who helped us to test the various builds over the past four months. (If you’ve been testing the app, please install the App Store version and we’ll get in touch when there are future betas to look at.)

What can it do?

Version 1.0 of the iPhone app supports:

  • Sign in and account creation (with 1Password support)
  • Browsing of popular, highly rated and most anticipated films
  • Film info including poster, trailer, cast, crew, studio and genre data, plus popular lists and reviews
  • Film actions: rate, like, mark as watched, add to watchlist, add/remove from a list
  • Logging of films with date, rating, review and tags (plus flags for spoilers and rewatches, and Facebook sharing if your account is connected via the site)
  • Viewing (and filtering) of your activity feed
  • Viewing and commenting on lists and reviews
  • Viewing of member profiles
  • Following and blocking of members
  • Searching for films, reviews, lists and people
  • Profile editing (including favorite films)
  • Reporting of content and members

What can’t it do (yet)?

Some items from our wishlist didn’t make it into the first version but will be added in future updates. These include:

  • More browsing options, including decade/year and genre
  • Sorting and visibility filters
  • List creation/deletion, editing and re-ordering
  • Availability on streaming services
  • Detail views for more screens (such as watched films and liked content)
  • Completion percentages for lists and cast/crew

And there’s some OS-level integrations we plan to add as well:

  • Notifications for follows, likes, comments, etc.
  • A URL scheme so the app is able to open relevant web links natively
  • Support for 3D Touch
  • Optimized layouts for iPad


We asked on Twitter and Facebook for your reactions to the app news, and boy did you come through with flying colors. The three recipients of a year’s Pro subscription are Jennifer MacDougall for this delightful depiction of app love, Pedro Strazza for Jonah Hill’s delayed fist pump, and poor Niall Murphy who expressed his disappointment on behalf of the entire Android community in a single word. (“[We]’ve never seen such devotion in a droid before.”)


The API requires all communication with our servers to be made over an SSL connection. Prior to the launch of the first alpha version last year, we also enabled SSL as an option for site traffic (try it). We intend this to become the only way to access the website as well.

What’s next

As alluded to above, we weren’t able to make this a dual release with an accompanying Android version. We’ll be putting some focus on the public API and Android next (we’ll let you know as soon as we have something to announce), along with more site and app improvements. And if you have any app feedback, we’d love to hear it through the usual channels.


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