App Store Submission Process: A Guide for iOS App Owners
At last, after developing and designing your iOS app, you’re ready to share it with the world. When it comes to submitting your app to the App Store, it’s not as easy as just pressing a button, but the App Store submission process isn’t that complicated, either.
Apple wants users to feel confident the apps they download are safe and error-free. To ensure you’ll meet Apple’s expectations, you can prepare yourself ahead of time, during development, by learning the process. This guide for app owners walks you through each step.
App Store Submission: Checklist
Before you begin, first check to ensure you have prepared and will meet the prerequisites:
- Showcase materials.
- Technical prerequisites.
- Legal prerequisites.
- Formal guidelines.
Steps in the App Store submission process will include the following:
- Use App Store Connect to create a new app.
- Create a product page.
- Submit your app for review.
- Check the status of your iOS app.
App Store Submission: Preparation
Preparing the needed resources to showcase your app in advance is key to making the App Store submission process efficient. Ensure your app’s name, icon, description, screenshots, previews, keywords, subtitle, and promotional text are ready.
Before you submit your app to the App Store, you’ll need:
- To enroll in the Apple Developer Program.
- An app build assigned to your developer account. Your development team can create the proper certificate required by Apple on your developer account and sign the app build with it.
- To verify that all applicable infrastructure components—such as backend servers, etc.—are running in production mode.
Also, remember that, as of April 2022, you must build all iOS apps you submit to the App Store with Xcode 13 and the SDK for iOS 15.
Your app must comply with all legal requirements in any location where you make it available; for example, in the EU, that means GDPR.
Furthermore, Apple pays particular attention to how apps handle user data and if the app meets the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. Your app should only include the content you created and have a license to use.
Apple is famously strict when reviewing new apps. Even a tiny hitch in the App Store submission process can cause your iOS app to be rejected. Before approaching the App Store, app owners must study and understand all of Apple’s requirements and guidelines.
Apple designed the App Store to provide users with apps that work seamlessly with their devices‘ capabilities—without bugs. If your app crashes while the reviewer tests it, it will not get a pass.
Before you submit your iOS app to the App Store, ensure you undergo rigorous testing using quality assurance best practices. Test with the latest devices or the simulator in Xcode 13. Use TestFlight to invite other testers. Find and address UI issues to make sure your app looks and works great on every supported device.
App Store Submission: Step by Step
1. Use App Store Connect To Create a New App
The process starts in App Store Connect. Open My Apps and hit the plus button to create a new app. You’ll be asked to provide the following:
- Platforms—which Apple platforms your app supports.
- Name—the primary app name users will see in the App Store.
- Primary Language—the primary language for your app.
- Bundle ID—unique for every app on the App Store; if the app build is ready, choose the same ID used in the Xcode during app archiving.
- Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)—an optional value that can be helpful if your accounting needs to tie app sales with an internal SKU number.
- User Access—define whether your app will be accessible to all members, specific groups, or users in App Store Connect.
Completing the required fields and clicking Create will direct you to the product page.
2. Create a Product Page
The product page is very important, as it contains metadata that is visible to the end user and could be the decision point in whether to download the app. As we referred to earlier, you can prepare the details you’ll need for your product page before you begin the App Store submission process.
In our article, How To Create a Great App Store Landing Page, you can find details on building a product page to encourage users to download your app. And in this resource, you can find definitions for the technical requirements for your product page.
Below, you can find where the App Store will display specific metadata from a product page. As an example, we used our empath app:
3. Submit for Review
When all the metadata is ready, click Submit for Review from iOS App/Prepare for Submission. Next, you’ll answer questions regarding export compliance, content rights, and the advertising identifier. Finally, your app status should show as Waiting for Review.
4. Check the Status of Your iOS App
According to Apple, it reviews 90% of submissions to the App Store in less than 24 hours. Apple will notify you by email of status changes. But you can check the status anytime in the My Apps section of App Store Connect or on the App Store Connect app on your iPhone.
You’ll need to make the necessary fixes before you can submit your app again. Review the notes and communicate with Apple about any questions you may have about the App Store submission process through the Resolution Center in App Store Connect.
Congratulations! Now, you can view your app’s downloads, sales, ratings, and reviews directly in App Store Connect. Search for your iOS app on the App Store…and celebrate!