Publishing an iOS app on Apple’s App Store is how you make your app readily available to anyone with an iOS device (and Apple Silicon device!) that wants to use it. Your app must pass a review by a human Apple employee, as well as a number of automated checks to ensure compliance with their policies.
Let’s jump right in!
Apple Developer Program
In order to publish your app on the App Store, you need to be a part of the Apple Developer Program which costs $99 per year (as of 2022). You can enroll here. Keep in mind before you enroll, your app needs to be ready. Apple doesn’t allow apps in “beta” status, so if you’re still testing, make sure you finish your app before doing this.
Once you’re enrolled, it’s time to head over to App Store Connect!
App Store Connect
App Store Connect is, as it’s name suggests, where developers connect their apps to the App Store. You can find it here. To upload an app, click on the “My Apps” button.
On the next page, we’ll click on the “plus” button to add an app, then click on “New App”.
That will pop a window up that asks you to fill out some basic information about your app:
If you’ve come this far with an app, you probably already know what should go here, with the exception of SKU, which you can just make up. Click create, and the app is created.
One the first page, you need to fill out a bunch of info for this version of your app. Since you can upload an unlimited number of versions in the future, each version submitted has its own information fields:
The first step is to take some screenshots on various size iPhones running your app. If your app runs on the simulator, you can just use that.
There are a number of other fields, such as “Promotional text”, “Description”, “Keywords”, “Support URL”, and some others which should all be pretty self-explanatory. There’s a little question mark button by each one to help. The most important thing on this page, though, is the build:
You should be able to find the builds you have uploaded to App Store Connect under the “TestFlight” tab up at the top. How do you upload a build? There are a couple different ways, but I did it through Xcode. From your project in Xcode, go to “Product” –> “Archive”. It will first go through an archive process then bring you to this screen:
Clicking through “Distribute App” and a couple more screens will run though some checks and upload to App Store Connect (not the App Store!). For this to work you need to have registered your valid Apple Developer Program account under Xcode –> Preferences –> Accounts. Also if this your second or more times uploading, make sure to increment the build number under Your Project –> General –> Build. The upload process looks like this:
Once this is done, you’ll need to go back to “TestFlight” and you’ll see the build status is “Missing Compliance”:
Click on “Manage” and answer some questions about encryption, and you should be good to go. Back on the “App Store” tab, go down to the build section and select your newly uploaded build.
The app information section (accessible via “App Information” on the right) requires surprisingly little information about your app. Fill it out and you’re done:
Pricing and Availability
The pricing and availability section just asks if you want to charge for your app, and in what countries it should be available. This particular app is free, and I made it available everywhere:
The rest of the tabs are just areas where you can check on your app – ratings, version history and such.
Go back the the version page, and click “Submit”, and your app will be submitted for review!
It’s quite possible that the version you submitted could be rejected for one reason or another. You can communicate with the reviewer via the “App Review” tab on the left (it shows up when there’s feedback from Apple). Be sure to come back and answer their questions, concerns or requests.