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Beginner’s Guide to Publishing on the Apple App Store

Photo by Yura Fresh on Unsplash

Here’s a step-by-step guide to publishing your apps on the Apple App Store. But before we get into it we must first discuss what you need before following this guide. Here is the checklist:

With that out of the way, we can begin.

Overview:

  1. Assembling App Store Information
  2. Create a Bundle Identifier
  3. Create a Certificate Signing Request
  4. Create An App Store Production Certificate
  5. Create A Production Provisioning Profile
  6. Create App Store Listing
  7. Create a Release Build
  8. Fill in the Version Information
  9. Submit Version for Review
  10. Release

1. Assembling App Store Information

We will need to gather the following information about the iOS app before we upload it.

  • Screenshots: Screenshots of the app in different screen sizes, transparency is not allowed (use emulator iPhone 8 plus and iPhone 11 Pro Max)
  • App Name: The Name of the App the users will see
  • App Store Description: A description that explains the App features and functionality
  • Keywords: Separated Keywords for the App, this will be used to facilitate the search of the app on the store
  • Support URL: A URL containing Support information about the app
  • Privacy Policy URL: A URL with the App’s privacy policy
  • App Icon: This icon will be used on the App Store and must be in the JPG or PNG format, with a minimum resolution of at least 72 DPI, and in the RGB color space. It must not contain layers or rounded corners.
  • Categories: The category of the app, the secondary category is optional
  • Rating: Generate a rating for the app based on a questionnaire
  • Copyright: Use the format; YYYY Company Name
  • Demo Accounts: The username and password for a full-access account for your app. Include details for additional accounts in the Notes field, and also mention an overview of the purpose and features of the app.

Optional Information:

  • Marketing URL: A URL with Marketing information about the app
  • User Privacy Choices URL: A URL where users can modify and delete the data collected from the app, or decide how their data is used and shared
  • Trade Representative Contact Information: Only appears on the Korean App Store

2. Create a Bundle Identifier

The bundle identifier is the name of your app, as seen by both the App Store and iOS devices.

  1. Navigate to Apple’s Developer Portal
  2. Log in
  3. Click Identifiers
  4. Click the “+” in the top right of the screen
  5. Name the App ID the same as your app
  6. Make sure the Bundle ID follows the standard naming convention: com.yourcompanyname.yourappname
  7. Check any App Services the app needs, click Continue
  8. Verify the services are correct, then click Submit

Please note: if you are using third-party logins like login with Facebook/Google make sure you have implemented Sign in with Apple

3. Create a Certificate Signing Request

Certificate Signing Requests are used to link your computer to your Apple developer account.

  1. Open a program called Keychain Access
  2. From the menu bar, click Certificate Assistant
  3. Click Request a Certificate From a Certificate Authority…
    User email: Enter your email address
    Common Name: We recommend using the name of the app
    CA email is not actually required
  4. Check Saved to Disk, click Continue
  5. Save the Certificate Signing Request for later

4. Create An App Store Production Certificate

Code Signing Certificates are used to link iOS apps to your Apple developer account.

  1. In your browser, navigate to Apple’s Developer Portal
  2. Click Certificates
  3. Click the “+” in the top right of the screen
  4. Click the App Store Production
    Currently named “iOS Distribution (App Store and Ad Hoc)” under Software
  5. Click Continue
  6. Upload the Certificate Signing Request created earlier
  7. Download the Certificate
  8. Install the certificate on your computer by double-clicking
  9. Keep this file somewhere safe

5. Create A Production Provisioning Profile

Provisioning Profiles are packaged with iOS apps so users’ devices can install them.

  1. In your browser, navigate to Apple’s Developer Portal
  2. Log in
  3. Click Provisioning Profiles
  4. Click the “+” in the top right of the screen
  5. Click the App Store Distribution option, click Continue
  6. Select the Bundle ID created earlier, click Continue
  7. Select the Certificate created earlier, click Continue
  8. Make sure the Profile Name follows the standard naming convention: App Name App Store Distribution
  9. Click Generate
  10. Download it
  11. Install the provisioning profile on your computer by double-clicking
  12. Keep this file somewhere safe

6. Create App Store Listing

Reserve a slot in the App Store for your app for users to see.

  1. Start in your browser, navigate to App Store Connect
  2. Log in
  3. Click My Apps
  4. Click the “+” in the top left of the screen
  5. Click “New iOS App”
  6. Bundle ID: choose the one created on the Developer Portal
  7. For convenience, make the SKU match the Bundle ID created earlier
  8. Click Create to create the first version listing

7. Create a Release Build

Package the actual binary that users will be uploading to the store.

  1. Start Xcode
  2. Open the project or workspace
  3. Update the version and build numbers
  4. Open Build Settings
  5. Make sure All settings are selected
  6. Scroll to Code Signing
  7. Use the provisioning profile created earlier
  8. Use the code signing identity created earlier
  9. In the top menu, select Generic iOS Device as the build destination if no actual device is connected
  10. Build your App (⌘+ B)
  11. In the menu bar select Product then Archive
  12. Once done, Click Distribute
  13. Sign in as your apple developer account
  14. Submit to the app store
  15. Wait for the confirmation

8. Fill-In Version Information

Complete your store listing.

  1. Enter all of the information assembled in Step 1
  2. Select the build you wish to tie to the version (Note: This usually appears 10–15 minutes after sending from Xcode)
  3. Fill in pricing information
  4. Click Save
  5. Fix any errors based on the messages that appear and save changes

9. Submit App for Review

Every app that is submitted to the store has to be reviewed by the Apple team before release.

  1. Select the release type
    Manual release: after the app is accepted, a Release button will appear
    Automatic release: as soon as the app is accepted, it will be released
  2. Wait for approval
    This process usually takes 2 — 3 weeks for a new submission
  3. If your app was not approved, review the notes in the Resolution Center and make any necessary changes to the app or version information then resubmit

10. Release

Enjoy the final, most satisfying step.

  1. If you selected Manual release, click Release your app when ready
  2. Wait for the green “Ready for Sale” version status (This might take from 1 hour to 1 day after release)
  3. Search for your app on the App Store
  4. Celebrate!

Please note: When submitting a new version of your app, you will only have to repeat Steps 7 through 10.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

References

How To Submit An App To The App Store

Apple App Store Connect Help

Apple Developer Support