Submitting the new app to the Apple App Store is not particularly easy when you do it for the first time. There are many requirements you need to remember about.
Hopefully, this guide will help you with this task. Do you want to upload the iOS app without wasting precious minutes? Get to know how to prepare yourself and what this process looks like.
Stage 1. Create the Apple Developer Program account and sign in to App Store Connect
First step: Join the Apple Developer Program
As a member of this program, you get to use many tools that come in handy while developing iOS apps, adding builds, or testing your products. You can even prepare beta OS releases or add analytics. But above all, this account allows you to access App Store Connect and distribute the app.
- There are two options. Either you register yourself as a company or create a personal Apple Developer account. But as a company, you can add new members to this account. Another benefit is that the App Store will then display the company’s name as a seller instead of your own name and surname.
- When creating a company account on the Apple Developer Program, you need to type in your D-U-N-S number for verification purposes. If you don’t have this number yet, keep in mind that it can take up to 5 days after sending your request to receive the number.
- The enrollment fee is $99 and it has to be paid once a year.
- There are different program roles and the person who created the account gets to be the Account Holder. It is the most important role that allows you to give other team members (e.g., testers and developers) access to the platform.
- To add new members, provide their names and email addresses. Start with adding our developer(s), so we could take over some of the tasks related to app development, testing, and product launch.
Types of users in the Apple Developer Program
To read more about the program roles and permissions, check out the table on the Apple Developer platform.
Second step: log in to the App Store Connect
It’s a hub with tools that allow you to manage and distribute your iPhone, iPad, desktop, tvOS, or Apple Watch apps. This is the place where you add testers to your team, check the reports, and enter the info needed for payments, taxes, etc.
- As a login, use the same Apple ID that you have in the Apple Developer Program.
- In order to start the submitting procedure, you need to accept all the agreements in the Agreements, Tax, and Banking section. You must also provide the banking and tax data.
- As the Account Holder, you create the app record. How? Go to the My apps section, click the plus button, and fill out the short form. Then, add the required app information.
Stage 2. Prepare the visual materials
Before the app uploading process begins, take some time to prepare the required visual assets. They must show the app in a good light and meet the store’s requirements.
App Store icon
It’s the very first graphic element people see when your app shows up on the store. The icon is displayed in numerous other places, such as a home screen, spotlight, settings section, and notifications. You don’t add it separately to the App Store Connect – developers upload this file to the folder within the app itself. Then, it’s automatically extracted from the build. It’s an important graphic element and you can prepare it earlier than the rest of the visual assets.
- The icon needs to be simple and preferably textless.
- Its corners shouldn’t be rounded (in the case of iOS and iPadOS apps).
- The required file resolution is 1024×1024 px and it must be in PNG format.
- Save the image in one of these color spaces: display P3, sRGB, or gray Gamma 2.2.
- The system creates new files in different sizes, so you don’t have to add multiple versions of the logo.
Our graphic designer can prepare the app icon for your product to save you some time. If you insist on doing it on your own, use the template available on the Apple Design Resources.
App screenshots and app previews
They say that people buy (or download, in this case) with their eyes. This means you need to make sure your app presents itself well and makes users want to try it out. Impeccable UI design is the way to reach this goal. So, what do you need to upload to your app listing?
- It’s obligatory to send from 1 to 10 screenshots for 6.5-inch iPhone Xs Max and 5.5-inch iPhones (in portrait or landscape mode).
- If you offer an iPad app, prepare from 1 to 10 screenshots for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (separate images for the 2nd generation and 3rd generation).
- Both screenshots for iPhone and iPad must be provided in JPG or PNG format.
- Additional screenshots are needed when the app uses the Messages framework or WatchKit.
- Submit no more than 3 app previews (max. 30 sec long videos) in M4V, MP4, or MOV formats. Their size cannot exceed 500 MB. Although it is not required to upload these assets, we strongly recommend it. It’s a great way to show how interesting your app is.
- To make the message of the video clearer, you can add copy, graphic elements, or audio overlay. You must provide one poster frame per video, according to the store’s specifications.
- Optionally, you can add localized versions of these materials.
- If you want to add an app clip, remember to prepare the header image in PNG or JPG with 1800×1200 px resolution. The store will also ask you to enter the subtitle text (explaining the app’s goal in up to 56 characters) and CTA that will be displayed on the action button (e.g. Open).
Does it look like a challenging task for you? Our designer can prepare these app previews and screenshots if you like. We are experienced in submitting such assets to the store, so it takes us less time.
Stage 3. Prepare the texts and collect legal info
While the graphic designer takes care of the visuals, others can focus on textual content. Below, you can see what the Apple App Store asks you to provide. Keep in mind that you can add translated versions of all these texts.
- It should be easy to remember and give people an idea of what the app offers.
- Length: from 2 to 30 characters.
- It is displayed right under the app’s name.
- This piece of text is a short explanation of what the product is for (max. 30 characters long).
- Subtitles usually tell people about the apps’ main features.
Promotional text (optional)
- Length: maximum of 170 characters.
- It is the first text concerning the app that users see. It plays a crucial role in grabbing their attention.
- The promotional text should focus on what’s new in the app that can interest users and encourage them to install it (for example, unique features or promos only for app users).
You can edit this text anytime you like in your Apple Developer account. So, if you forget to mention something, you can always add this information later, after submitting the app to the store.
- It can have up to 4000 characters.
- The description informs users what features the app has and explains to them why it’s worth trying out. Write down the benefits it gives to people. Make sure they know how your app is different from other similar products.
- Include the most important info at the beginning. Most people don’t read the entire description. This way, it’s more likely that people will get to know the main message.
- You can edit this description when submitting a new version.
To increase your chances that the app will show up on top positions in the store’s search results, use special keywords related to your product and its features. For example, if you offer an e-commerce app selling dog accessories, you can enter dog accessories, dog collars, pet accessories, etc.
If you want to know other techniques that optimize the app store listing, find out what improves the ASO and learn how to choose the best keywords.
Users need to know what kind of data you collect, how, and what for. It’s also necessary to inform them about the third parties – what data they access and how they protect it. So, before submitting the iOS app, you should ask your legal team about these matters. You must also find out what users need to do if they want to take back the consent for collecting the data and ask you to delete it.
You need this information to fill out the sections dedicated to app privacy in the App Store Connect. The system is going to ask you some questions divided into two sections: Product Page Preview (Data Used to Track You, Data Linked to You, Data Not Linked to You) and Types of Data.
2. Content Rights
When filling out the App Information, you also have to take care of some legal issues. In the case of the apps that contain, show, or access third-party content, the store needs to make sure that you have proper rights to use them. Such permissions must be valid in every region where the app is going to be accessible. You need to specify if the app actually contains this type of content and that you have proper permissions.
3. License Agreement
Later in the App Information section, there’s a field that allows you to edit the License Agreement. This means that even though you are free to use a standard, available in all regions, the End-User License Agreement that Apple offers you – it’s not obligatory. Instead, you can add your own customized license agreement. Depending on your needs, it can apply to many regions or just one.
Stage 4. Choose the categories
What are they for? Their main purpose is to make it easier for users to find your iOS app. Categories also tell them what type of product you offer. You need to choose a primary category but a secondary one is optional.
The primary category should be closely related to your app’s functionalities. How does it work in practice? When people search the categories that they’re interested in, your app shows up.
For example, users want to find an educational app and your product was created to make learning baking techniques easier. So, if you add the Education category, users would probably see your app in there.
If you’re not sure which category is best in your case, do the research and check what your competitors choose.
- In the case of apps added to the Games category, you can also choose one or two subcategories.
- Apps for children will be added to the Kids category and also to two other categories related to their features.
- You can see the entire list of categories along with their descriptions beforehand and ask your team their opinion regarding the choice.
Stage 5. Submit the build of the app
The only way to publish the app on the Apple App Store is to pass its review. But first, you must add the build to the platform. Then you’ll be able to start the review or tests.
This part is conducted by our software developer during the first uploading process. All you have to do is to assign them a Developer role in the App Store Connect. They will submit the builds, add specific App Review Information, upload App Store screenshots, etc.
Stage 6. Test the app via TestFlight
We test the apps during the entire development process. They allow us to collect feedback and make necessary changes to your product. First, the beta tests take place, before the app review. Then, you can move on to testing with external users and sharing the app with a bigger audience.
To learn more about app testing via TestFlight and adding roles, read this step-by-step guide.
Stage 7. Publish the app
What happens after the tests? First, you need to let the App Store know that you want to submit the app for review. Then, you can decide to publish the product automatically after the review or set a date and hour when you want the app to be released. Alternatively, you can do it manually. The two latter options give you more control over the release time. Think about it and let us know which one is best for you. Our developer will select the right option when submitting your app.
When the App Store successfully completes the review process, you will get a message sent to your inbox.
- You need to provide the account details (password, login, or social media account credentials) that allow Apple Store to access your app and check its features.
- The App Store requires you to add a URL with the app’s support information.
- Optionally, you can enter the URL to the marketing information concerning your app.
- Choose a person that will receive messages from the Apple Team. The store is going to need their contact information. Such messages most likely won’t be related to technical issues. So, it’s best to designate a team member with versatile knowledge about the project (e.g., a product owner).
Releasing your brand-new app for the first time raises a lot of questions. Am I following the App Store guidelines? Is everything according to plan? What else should be done? Good news – it gets easier with time. Nevertheless, we always support our clients in the app publishing process.
Now that you know how to upload apps to App Store, find out how to submit the Android app to Google Play Store.