If you’re reading through this article, then the chances are that you’ve either gone through the process of developing your own unique mobile application or worked closely with a professional developer who helped you bring the app into creation. Either way, now you have an app, and it’s time to send it out into the world for other people to download and use. But the process isn’t as simple as one may think, and a developer can’t just publish their app for people to access without the help of third-party providers. Several requirements and steps need to be carefully followed for your app to become available on the App Store. The following includes the six essential steps that app creators need to understand and follow to submit their apps to the App Store successfully. Please continue on to learn about each of these steps, their requirements, and how they will help you successfully launch your app into the world for eager users to find on the market.
However, suppose you are not currently at the App Store submission stage of the process. In that case, it may be best to take a pause and consider reading through some other top-quality resources provided by Strides about every part of the app development and launch process. For example, if you have yet to determine how you’ll construct your app or who you want to help you, you can learn about the dos and don’ts of selecting your app-building team. You can also find out plenty of helpful information regarding the app-building process, the app funding process, and much more.
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To submit your completed mobile application to the App Store, you must first enroll yourself in the Apple Developer Program. Enrollment costs $99 per year, but it is required to submit your apps and provides you with access to a wide range of tools and benefits. These benefits include app analytics and advanced app capabilities, beta versions of newly developed Apple software, beta testing tools like TestFlight, and the ability to create Safari extensions for your apps and have them listed in the App Store extensions gallery. Enrollment in the Apple Developer Program also ensures that your submitted application will become available to Apple users across all Apple platforms, including iPhones, iPads, iPods, Apple Watches, Apple TVs, and Mac computers. Your custom app will be distributed on a worldwide basis to over a billion different customers through this program.
Also, please keep in mind that while there are no additional hosting fees for submitting your app to the App Store, your app will be removed if you do not renew your App Developer Program membership each year.
Once you have completed your registration and fully paid for your Apple Developer Program membership, you will be granted access to the App Store Connect website. This will serve as your control portal to manage everything having to do with your app and its connection to the App Store. The image above indicates what your App Store Connect dashboard should look like once you have logged in.
Once you have created your accounts with the Apple Developer Program and App Store Connect, there are a few more steps that you’ll carefully need to follow before submitting your application for review.
Before submitting your app, you’re going to need to make sure that it is as functional and bug-free as possible and won’t suddenly crash when being accessed by users. One of the following steps involves submitting your application for the app certification process with the Apple Store (more on this later on). If the reviewer finds any bugs, they will not allow the app to pass the review process. This means it’s best to get final testing and bug fixes out of the way before submitting your app.
A good idea is to look at your app from a hacker’s perspective as you test it and actively try to break it. Don’t stick to normal testing conditions either; try using low network connectivity and storage conditions, and even try testing the app out on older devices to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible. You can choose to test the app on your own, or you can also enlist the help of friends and family as beta testers. Once you’ve gone through all of that, make use of the Apple Developer Program’s specialty TestFlight tool.
After testing your app to ensure that it works without crashes or bugs, you should also ensure that it fully adheres to the App Store guidelines. Keep in mind that the app reviewer will be working off of these guidelines and will either accept or reject your app based on how well they adhere to said guidelines. Take the time to go through this document to ensure your app meets all of the qualifications to help your app get approved for placement onto the App Store without any hangups.
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Now it’s time to develop the Apple Store listing for your application. Start by looking into Apple Store Connect. You can publish your app by selecting the My Apps icon followed by the “+” option. You can also update any existing apps already published onto the App Store by selecting them from the list that will appear in the My Apps section. From there, you will be asked to fill in a range of information, such as the app’s name, description, category, platform, primary language, and user access options. Each of these fields will contain a “?” button that you can select if you are unsure what information Apple wants you to input in any particular section.
Finally, you will need to input the price of your app, along with instructions on how the app will be released onto the App Store after it has gone through (and passed) the Apple certification process. There are three release options you can select:
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To publish your application, you will need to include specific app screenshots to be used by the App Store. This can be done through a few distinct methods, including:
The easiest and fastest way to gather the screenshots you need is to manually launch your app using an online iOS simulator on your computer and select the settings that correspond to the screen size you want to use. From there, you can easily navigate to the pages you want to screenshot and use the command CMD+S. This will capture the screenshot and download it as a PNG image file onto your computer, which can then be uploaded directly to App Store Connect.
This route is a bit more involved than the raw screenshot process, and it will require the use of a few tools, such as Adobe Photoshop, Figma, or Sketch. Figma is strongly recommended because it provides some of the most comprehensive free services out of the three platforms. From there, you will then need to develop some device mockups through Mockuphone, Angle, or Rotato. Mockuphone is recommended, much like Figma, due to its comprehensive free services.
If you don’t happen to have the time or the patience for graphics software and mockup creation, you can also use some specialized tools to make the process fast and easy, such as ShopBot or DaVinci Apps.
Once you have selected and used your preferred method to capture all of the required screenshots, you can upload them onto your App Store listing.
One of the final elements you need to have in place before you can properly upload, certify, and run your app is to have your Signing and Team information appropriately set up in Xcode. For this to work, you will also need to ensure that you are working with your app set to version 1.0.0. You will need to provide your specific Apple ID, and then you should be able to begin publishing the needed information to create a full app archive for your application.
First, select the option for Generic iOS Device from the provided list of simulators. You can then choose Product >> Archive and allow Xcode to bundle your app. Please note that this may take a considerable amount of time, based on the complexity and size of your app. When completed, the Archive window should open and display the area where you can manage all of your archives that Xcode has generated. From there, select the archive you wish to use and click on the Distribute App option, which will prompt you to choose a distribution method, where you can select the iOS App Store option. The program will then run through a few checks to ensure your app is working correctly.
Should the process stop, Xcode will likely require you to go back to your app’s coding and add any missing elements, such as asset icons. If Xcode finds nothing wrong with your app, the upload process will continue until you see a screen stating that the app has been successfully uploaded. Your app is then halfway through the process of being added to the iOS Apple Store.
Related: How Long Does it Take to Build an App?
This final step is quick, easy, and requires very little from your end. Your exported app build from Xcode should have been automatically sent to App Store Connect, though it will likely need a bit of time to be processed. Once it is complete, your app should appear on App Store Connect, where you can then select it and choose the “Submit for Review” option on the top right-hand corner of your screen. You will have to answer some questions about your app, and you will then be added to Apple’s certification waiting list. The app itself should have a yellow tag applied to it along with the note “Waiting for Review.”
Once that is done, you will just have to wait for the review process to be complete. This will take time depending on several factors and can range anywhere from thirteen hours to a few days. Once your app has been certified, you will receive an approval email indicating that it is now available on the App Store.
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