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Submitting an iOS App to the App Store

You can publish your iOS app to the App Store from the source code you download from the Dropsource editor when you are finished developing and testing it. Before you begin the deployment process, please ensure you carry out the following preparation steps:

Make sure you have carried out sufficient testing of your app, including on physical mobile devices, before you attempt to deploy it. In Dropsource, add your app icons in Settings > Application before creating your deployment build.

Once you have a build you are happy to deploy, download the source code for it and import it into Xcode.

Connect your Apple ID to Xcode

With your project imported into Xcode, select Xcode > Preferences.

xcode preferences

In Accounts, click the + button, choose Apple ID, and enter your details.

add apple id

This will sync your developer account with Xcode so that it can locate required certificates and other files.

Update your Bundle ID

With your app settings open in Xcode, you will see the default Bundle ID for your project.

update bundle

Update your Bundle ID – the convention is to use reverse website domain style naming, so if you have a domain named “mydomain.com” and your app is named “helper” you might use “com.mydomain.helper” and so on.

Setup Signing

In the Signing section, check Automatically Manage Signing and click Enable Automatic.

automatic signing

Use the Team dropdown list to select your development team.

development team

Xcode should create your provisioning profiles in the background.

Setup your App ID

In your Apple Developer account, navigate to Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles. In the Identifiers section, select App IDs and click the + button to add one.

register app id

Enter your app name, and copy/paste the Bundle ID from Xcode as the Explicit App ID.

Create your App ID, selecting the services your app uses, and click Register > Done. Your new App ID should now appear in your account.

Setup App Store Connect

In your App Store Connect account, click the + button to create a new iOS app.

connect app

Enter the name as it should appear in the App Store entry – the name must be unique (you’ll receive an error if it’s already in use). Note that the Name will display an ellipsis (…) after around 11 characters.

Enter the Bundle ID you used in your Apple Developer setup for both the Bundle ID and SKU fields.

connect info

Your app environment should now be setup in App Store Connect – you will see a section named 1.0 Prepare for Submission. This is where you will enter all of your app listing details, including descriptions and screenshots.

connect details

You will also attach a build of your app to submit for Apple approval here – first you need to archive a build to submit.

Archive your App

In Xcode with your project open, select the simulator (button near the top of the window next to your project name, typically named as a specific type of iPhone) – change it to Generic iOS Device.

simulator generic

Open the Product menu and choose Archive.

product archive

You will see the archive information. Click Validate App. This will test that your setup is ready.

xcode archives

Select Automatically Manage Signing and click Next.

archive signing

In the next screen check Generate an iOS Distribution Certificate – this functions as a digital signature that gives you the rights to distribute your app. Xcode will generate a private key for your certificate – you can keep this in your keychain to access it when you need it, but should also store it somewhere else that you will be able to access it in a safe external location. Click Next.

xcode ipa

If you don’t encounter any errors you will see the app review screen, which means you’re ready to validate before uploading the app to App Store Connect – click Validate.

Possible Errors

You may encounter a variety of errors at this stage. If you see an error regarding your Bundle identifier, verify that you have included the correct ID in your App Store Connect account. There are many other possible errors including several related to Xcode and iOS versions – you may need to do some troubleshooting to identify the source (i.e. Google the error message).

Upload your App

Once your app has successfully validated, you are ready to upload it to the App Store Connect environment.

Click Done, then Distribute App.

app validated

This will upload your app to App Store Connect so that you can submit it for App Store approval from there.

Choose iOS App Store and click Next.

app store submit xcode

Choose Upload and click Next.

xcode app upload

Some of the screens will look the same as those you navigated through earlier during the validation phase – just keep clicking through them.

distribution options

When you reach the review screen, click Upload.

app upload xcode

If there are no errors your app will be uploaded.

app uploaded

Again, you may receive errors that you need to troubleshoot at this stage – there are lots of helpful resources online, as these errors are a very common part of the App Store submission process.

Complete your App Submission

Back in your App Store Connect account, navigate to My Apps, choose your app, and select the Activity tab. You should see your build listed as Processing.

appstore connect processing

Apple will process your app in the background – this can typically take up to an hour. When it’s complete you’ll see the status change when you reload the page. In the meantime you can complete your submission details.

In the App Store tab, select 1.0 Prepare for Submission. Enter as much detail as you can, including text and screenshots – this will make your app more likely to be approved.

submission icons

Once your app is finished processing you can attach it to your submission. Click Select a build before you submit your app.

submission build

Select your build and click Done.

select build

When your submission details are complete, click Save and Submit for Review.

submit for review

You may encounter errors here related to missed information such as categories, pricing tier, and so on – you should see links to help you fill out the missing info.

submission errors

Once you’ve addressed any errors click Save and Submit for Review again.

When your submission is complete you will see its status change to Waiting for Review.

submission waiting

If your app is approved, you can go ahead and set it live in the App Store from App Store Connect.

If your app is declined, Apple will send you details of the reason – once you’ve made the necessary adjustments you can resubmit.

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