15 min read
Yes..! You may have built your app with the prudence that doesn’t mean it will reach the users. You have to submit it to the App Store and your app must meet all the checklist from the App Store policy.
So, this is a guide for the IOS Apps which are ready to be submitted in the App Store. This guide will let you know the checklist, steps, guideline and moreover about the App Store Submission.
You can also read the blog “Steps to publish an Android app to the Play store” to know the steps involved while submitting an Android app to the Play store.
If you are a client of Hitasoft, I suggest you read the blog completely to understand the ins and outs of Ios App submission. I hope at this time your project is very much progressive to the ready state and as a step ahead I guess we are ready with your iOs app to be submitted in the App store.
Still, this blog is also for the ones who aren’t a client of Hitasoft and trying to submit the iOs App to the App store.
I believe this is your first time trying to launch an iOs app to the App store. This ain’t easy nor it’s hard though, but app submission to the App store needs some serious attention.
Get Ready, be prepared to submit your app to the App store. Let’s get started…
Before getting into kindly make sure that if you are enrolled in the Apple Developer program and if your app follows the guidelines of Apple’s App Review and Human Interface. This blog will provide you the recent information from Apple’s own documentation.
To Submit an App in the App Store the most basic needs are:
- A computer that runs Mac OS X
- A Valid Apple developer Program account
- A project which passed App store guidelines and ready for submission.
- Xcode Apple Software installed in your computer.
Make sure the above requirements are fulfilled. If any of the above is not found then App submission is totally not possible.
Let’s see the first thing to do…
Enrolling Developer Program – Step 1
First, to submit an app, the uttermost basic thing you need is a valid Apple developer account. This account will allow you to code & submit your app into the App store.
To enroll as an Apple Developer you need an Apple ID if you don’t have one register for a new Apple ID here.
Once you have your Apple ID go to the Apple developer site and log in using your new ID. Once you click Sign in you will be directed to a mandatory legal agreement. Kindly read the agreement completely and click submit.
You can’t submit an app until you enroll for the Developer’s paid program.
Join the Apple developer program by logging in here and click enroll. Remember to join the paid program, you will need to pay a fee of 99$ per year. You also have options as an individual or company to enroll as shown below. The request for your developer program will be processed by Apple within a day or two.
Note: It is a smart choice to enroll for the developer program as “Organization” instead of enrolling as “Individual”. If you enroll as an individual you have to provide your login credentials like Apple ID and password to your development team while submitting an app to the App store. Only, if you enroll as an organization you may assign specific roles to other people accordingly.
Now you will be prompted with another license agreement which you should check and click continue. Then you will be prompted with reviewing your information, Checking Automatic Renewal if needed, then you go to accept the terms and conditions and finally by clicking Purchase you will have an Apple’s developer account capable of publishing a new app to the App store.
Step Two with Your New Account
After Enrolling as an iOs Developer, it would take some time for Apple to process your order. Particularly, when you are in a country without an online Apple store, you have to fax your credit card information to Apple. Eventually, you have to wait and wait for the email from Apple like below:
Also, you will receive an email from Itunes Connect which I will talk about in some time.
Now you have got to install Xcode – Apple development Software in your system for further process.
While completing the installation of Xcode in your system, you would have received Welcome email from the Apple saying that you may access developer program. So now, go to the Developer Center and sign in. After providing your credentials, you’ll finally be in!
Developer center will provide you information with programming guides, downloadable code, documentation, videos, helpful developer forum, and a support center.
To submit your app to the App store you need to be well versed in areas like Certificates, IDs & Profiles and iTunes Connect.
Let’s first understand the area of Certificates, IDs & Profiles.
Certificates, IDs & Profiles
As you may know, iOs doesn’t allow any spammy or third-party apps in their App store. Every app in the store will contain a signed Apple certificate.
As you start developing the App you should be able to run the App simultaneously. To achieve this, you need to create and sign your own certificates.
This is where the Certificates, IDs & Profiles becomes effective.
This section will be used to generate “profiles” which are sometimes called “code signing identities”. These are the files generated by the Developer Center that allow Xcode to sign your apps in a way that allows iOS on your devices to identify them as valid.
Two types of profiles are available :
- Development profiles – are bound to specific devices, making the app to run only on those devices.
- Distribution profiles – are used to sign your app before you submit it to Apple for approval. These profiles contain no device-specific information, yet it can’t be installed on any device until Apple’s approval.
Certificates, IDs & Profiles can also be used to generate push certificates in case if the app needs to send push notifications.
There are also two ways to sign your app, they are manually and by enabling the Automatic Device Provisioning. Since the manual process would take you huge steps to understand, I prefer you to go with Automatic Device provisioning method. This is the simplest method which the Xcode will create and manage certificates, signing identities, and handle device registration for you.
Here, let’s find how to enable Automatic Signing? If this is already enabled or you don’t need help with enabling it you may skip to the next section.
Remember, the Xcode you installed while waiting for the Welcome mail from Apple program? That might have been installed right now, so open the Xcode and
1) First, add your Developer Program account to Xcode if you haven’t already. From the top menu, select “Xcode”, then choose “Preferences”.
2) Click on “Accounts”. In the bottom left corner of the window, press the “+” sign, then “Add Apple ID…”.
3) Enter the Apple ID and password you use for the Apple Developer Program, then click “Sign In”.
4) Next, enable automatic signing. From the Project Editor, choose a target and select “General”.
5) Scroll down to the “Signing” section and click on the triangle icon to expand the settings.
6) Click on the box to “Automatically manage signing”. Select your team.
Now, Xcode will detect and register it to your team provisioning profile automatically, when a device is connected to your Mac.
Note: In order to launch your app on a device, the device needs to be registered on your team provisioning profile.
Create iTunes Connect record – Step 3
To acquire an iTunes connect account you have two options:
- Create yourselves by signing into iTunes connect with Apple ID which you used for your Developer program.
- Or being invited by an existing organization as a user with an Admin, Technical, or App Manager role.
Remember when you opt an outsourcing company to submit your apps in the app store, it is you who needs to provide admin role to manage your app. Read more details about iTunes Connect user accounts here.
You don’t have to sign any contract for submitting a free app. But if you are submitting a paid app, you have got to sign a contract with terms of payment. If your app is free, you can skip ahead.
Click on “Agreements, Tax, and Banking” on the iTunes Connect dashboard.
Click on “Request” under “Request Contracts”.
Review the agreement that appears, check the box to agree to the terms, and click on “Submit”.
Under “Contracts In Process” click “Set Up” in the “Contact Info” column.
In the window that appears, click on “Add New Contact” and enter your information.
Back under “Contracts In Process” in the “Bank Info” column, click “Setup” then “Add Bank Account” and follow the directions to save your account info.
In the “Tax Info” column, click “Set Up”. A U.S. Tax Form is mandatory, so click “Set Up” and fill out the required information. Set up any other country tax forms necessary.
After you’ve completed the above, the contract’s status will now say “Processing”. After Apple has verified the info you provided, which will take about an hour, the contract will now appear under “Contracts In Effect”.
Adding your App via iTunes Connect
Select “My Apps“ in the iTunes Connect dashboard.
Click on the “+” sign in the upper left-hand corner, then “New App”.
To create a new App, you’ll need the below details:
- App name
- Default language
- Bundle ID
These details can’t be edited in the future, so make sure everything is right while you enter.
- Use keywords in your app name to optimize for discovery.
- The bundle ID must be an exact match of the bundle identifier in your Xcode project Info.plist file (in the target’s General > Identity section).
- The SKU is not visible to users and is up to you to set. It can be an identifier you use in your company or something else that is meaningful for you. Acceptable characters include letters, numbers, hyphens, periods, and underscores, and it must begin with a letter or number.
If applicable, you can also set user access at this step.
Preparing For Submission – Step 4
Below is the App Submission checklist you have to be prepared with while submitting your app to the App store.
- Your App’s name.
- Your App’s icon.
- Your App’s description.
- Screenshots for 5.5 inches supported devices.
- Support URL
- SKU Number.
This is the name of your product on the App Store. It must be within 50 characters. Remember, few devices may not display a long name due to its screen resolution size. So, Apple suggests everyone have their App name within 23 characters or less to display on every device.
It is said to the App owners to submit the correct icon size for Apple’s various devices. This includes the app icon on the App Store and the icons in Spotlight and Settings.
Here’s is the list for your verification.
This is where you have to explain to users about your app. Remember.only the first and second sentences of your description would be visible to the users unless they click the more button.
Since most people use the app without understanding the actual purpose of the app. It’s the App owner who could explain what was the app is about within the first two lines of the description.
Make your sentences simple, short, and focused on the immediate value of your app to a user.
Convincing section of users to download an app. App Store suggests the screenshots should exactly communicate the app’s value and functionality. To highlight the App’s user experience, use text and overlay images. The screenshots could be in JPEG or PNG format. At least one screenshot is required for each device your app supports.
To help users find an app of their interest, the Categories section is available. There are also two levels available in which Primary is required and the secondary is optional. Focus on selecting the appropriate primary category. This could be changed in the feature, yet the ranking for the category will go down each time you make a change in category.
The most crucial part which makes reach your app to the users when they search through search engines. When filling this section, add the keywords one by one separated with a comma. The Keyword limit is up to 100 characters. Keyword research is most important before you start filling out this section. Keyword Research can be easily referred to your competitors.
Keywords are can be changed while you update your app. So be wise and brainstorm words that potential users might try to find your app.
iTunes users will have queries regarding your app, so you are requested to enter an URL which contains the contact information. This URL acts as a support URL to help your app users find a solution to their queries. You need to submit the entire link (including protocol). An example is http://support.example.com
A unique ID for your app which is recognized by Apple only and not seen by users is what called as SKU number. Unfortunately, the SKU number can’t be edited after saving. Letters, numbers, hyphens, periods, and underscores are totally accepted as SKU number. Apple suggests using a value that is meaningful to your organization.
Along with the above sections, you will also find a section named “Build” which you will be learning at once when you upload your app using Xcode. So, these are the * required fields which must be taken care before submitting your app to the app store. Taking care of all these fields will help provide your app more visibility to more users.
Now let’s look on how to Archive/Upload your app for submission.
Step 5 – Archive/Upload your app using Xcode
To submit your app for review through iTunes Connect, you have to upload the build through Xcode. This is where you actually start working on Xcode.
- In Xcode, choose “Generic iOS Device” as the deployment target.
- Select “Product” from the top menu and tap on “Archive”.
Now the Xcode Organizer will display any archives you’ve created in the past.
- Make sure the current build is selected and click on “Upload to App Store” in the right-hand panel.
- Select your credentials and tap “Choose”.
- In the next window that appears, click on “Upload” in the bottom right-hand corner.
An “Upload Successful” message will appear when the upload has completed. Click “Done”.
Okay now, let us get back to the iTunes connect and head to the Build section. You may find a + icon near to the “Build” which will only be visible after the build has been pushed. It would roughly take 15 mins until then the build status can be checked in the Activity tab. While it is visible click on it or click “Select a build before you submit your app”.
Select the build Xcode just uploaded and click Done.
Got to the Top Right & Click Save.
Finally, click Submit for Review.
You’ll be asked with several questions such as Export Compliance, Content Rights, and Advertising Identifier. Answer them and click Submit.
BAM…! Everything is done and you will be receiving a couple of emails from iTunes connect saying that your app is uploaded successfully and waiting for review.
How Long Until Approval? – Step 6
After the successful submission of the App. The next step you have to take is to stay put and wait for Apple to approve your app! Apple will send you emails about changes in your app’s status.
Quite after a few days, the status of your App from “In Review” will be changed to “Approved”.
In a few cases, it would take up to three days to the approval. Click on Activity bar in iTunes connect to know the status of your App. Whatever happens, you will be notified from Apple through an email. So, look for your mailbox to know more of your App’s status.
What to do When the App gets Rejected?
Unfortunately, not every app submitted passes the gate of App store. App rejection is not a new thing. According to Apple, 88% of Apps get rejected due to a few common errors.
The most common thing which App development companies face is White Labeling. Yes, White labeling is one of the few reasons your App sometimes gets rejected. This is because of the recent changes in the App store’s Policy, as to maintain legal and avoid spammy apps. Apple started cleaning up the App store and won’t let apps with a commercialized template.
So, it is requested to the clients of Hitasoft to reach us with a unique idea for your App as to avoid these kinds of White labeled app rejecting situation.
If your App is rejected, don’t worry. You may fix all the issues and may re-submit it to the App store for review. Make use of Resolution Center in iTunes Connect to communicate and sort out the questions you have with Apple. You also have an option of escalation of an issue which helps to submit an appeal if you believe it was wrongly rejected.
For the clients of Hitasoft, we resolve all the issues ourselves and re-submit your app until it gets published.
Finally, The Conclusion
If you’ve followed the above guide keenly: you may have understood how to submit your app to the App store.
If you have successfully submitted your app using this guide, congratulations! Now you may know the ins and outs of submitting the app to the App store.
To know more information about the various aspects of iTunes Connect, go to iTunes Connect Developer Guide.
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