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You’ve arrived at the last chapter of this book. It’s finally the time you’ve been working for: sending your app to the App Store. This will be the sum of all your hard work. After your time creating, developing, improving and debugging your code, your job will finally pay off.
In this chapter, you’ll learn how to submit your app to the App Store and all the steps required to release your app. You’ll also learn how to distribute your app to Beta Testers and get feedback from them.
More specifically, you’ll learn how to:
Create an Apple ID and enroll in Apple’s Developer Program.
Archive and upload a build of your app to Apple.
Create your app’s Product page in the App Store.
Use TestFlight to beta test your app and get feedback from testers.
Additionally, you’ll learn about the App Store Review Guidelines and how to submit your app for review.
Apple has high criteria for apps it allows in the App Store. You’re not allowed to have an app in the App Store unless you follow many guidelines Apple created to ensure the quality of software in the App Store. Not only that, but Apple also requires you to be a part of their developer program.
Before you start uploading your apps to the App Store, there are a couple of things you’ll need to do and have to continue. The first one is an Apple ID.
Note: If you want to follow along with this chapter, you’ll have to have these requirements. Otherwise, you may not be able to generate the necessary certificates and profiles or even access App Store Connect. Make sure you have all the requirements to follow along with this chapter.
Understanding the Apple ID
The Apple ID is your main account in Apple’s ecosystem. It’s how Apple identifies developers and customers. You use it to access the App Store, Apples Services and every other Apple portal. Developers also use an Apple ID to access Apple’s developer portal, App Store Connect.
Creating an Apple ID
You can create a new Apple ID using an iOS, iPadOS or macOS device by opening the Settings app or when you set up your device. Here, you’ll use Apple’s Apple ID portal to create a new Apple ID.
Activating Two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security on top of your account’s password. It provides a secure way to have trusted devices that allow you to sign in to your account through a verification code.
Apple’s Developer Program
Just having an Apple ID isn’t enough. Apple is very strict about who and what goes into the App Store. It tries to create the most secure place for its customers. To that end, Apple requires that every developer that wants to publish their app in the App Store enrolls in the Apple Developer Program.
Setting up Xcode
When creating a new project in Xcode, you have to choose a few options, including the Organization identifier. With it, Xcode also generates the Bundle Identifier. Apple uses these to identify the team and app in their system.
Changing the Bundle Identifier
A Bundle Identifier is an app’s unique identifier inside Apple’s system. You can’t change it later, so think carefully about the identifier you want to use.
In the same target, open Signing and Capabilities. Make sure to check the box for Automatically manage signing.
Understanding the App Store app page
It’s not enough to just upload your app to Apple. You also have to create your app’s page so that Apple can display it in the App Store. Your App page is the face of your app when people browse or search the App Store for apps related to pets.
In the page, you’ll find the app’s name, icon, subtitle, app reviews, screenshots, description and much more.
Creating a new App ID
Before creating your app inside Apple’s portal, you must create a new App ID. Apple uses the App ID to identify your app in its system.
App Store Connect
Still in Safari, open Apple’s developer portal again. Next, select App Store Connect and click Go to App Store Connect.
Uploading a build
Now that you have your app record set up in App Store Connect, it’s time to archive and upload a build of your app.
Build Numbers and semantic versioning
Before you archive your app, it’s essential to understand how Apple and developers track software versions.
Archiving your App
In Xcode, set the build destination to Any iOS Device (arm 64).
Submitting your app for review
Now you’re in the last phase of getting your app to the App Store: submitting it for Apple’s review.
App Store Review
When you submit your app for review, an Apple employee beta tests your app to make sure it follows the App Store Review Guidelines and Apple Developer Program License Agreement. They also look for any crashes or issues with your app.
Setting up Metadata
On App Store Connect, select PetSave and click 1.0 Prepare for Submission. Here, you’ll set up information to build your app page in the App Store. You can update this information every time you upload a new version to App Store Connect.
Find the folder named App Store Screenshots inside the materials folder. Open it and drag and drop the screenshots in the screenshot field.
Submitting your app for review
Next, you must select the correct build to submit for review.
Before you move on, fill out the Copyright field. This field should be the name of a person or organization that owns the app. If you’re releasing an app yourself, you can use your name here. However, if you’re releasing an app on behalf of a company, you must use their legal name. For example, the Ray Wenderlich app uses Razeware 2022.
Using TestFlight to beta test your app
Before you finish this chapter, there’s one last thing you should learn about App Store Connect: TestFlight.
Why beta test?
All software has flaws. No matter how much you code, test and safeguard your code, software is so complex that there’s bound to be a problem somewhere. But that doesn’t mean you can’t track problems and fix them.
Using beta testing to find problems and bugs
TestFlight is a powerful tool for beta testing your app and getting valuable feedback before releasing it to the general public. Beta testers can use your app before everyone else and find problems or suggest improvements.
Signing testers to beta test
Before you release PetSave for testers, you must invite them for beta testing. Back inside App Store Connect, click Users and Access.
Adding test Information
Now that beta testers can download your app, you have to let them know what they should focus on when testing the app. TestFlight has a Test Details field that lets you write what’s new for beta testers to test.
After adding a description to Test Details, you’ll find the same description in TestFlight under What to Test.
Where to go from here?
This is the last chapter of this book, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to learn about sending your app to the App Store.