It’s not enough to just develop an iOS app. You need to make it available to your target audience on Apple’s App Store. Otherwise, how will your hard work pay off if no one can download your app?
But releasing your app on the App Store is easier said than done. Apple is quite exigent toward the apps it allows on the marketplace. And some of its requirements need to be taken into account while you’re developing your product, not afterward.
So, how do you ace Apple’s strict review process? First, brace yourself for spending a lot of time preparing your app for submission. If you’re a student, it may mean prioritizing app launch over homework. (In this case, you can always turn to services like EssayPro to have the latter taken care of!) And then, follow this step-by-step guide on releasing your app on the App Store.
Before You Create a Listing on the App Store
You’ll find a detailed guide on submitting an iOS app for review below. But before you dive right into it, here are five things to keep in mind if you want your app to be approved.
Use Apple’s Xcode & iOS SDK
Apple itself has always been clear on this: it prefers the apps developed using Xcode and iOS SDK. And starting from April 2023, Apple will approve only the products built with the iOS 16.1 SDK and Xcode 14.1. So, make sure you use Xcode and iOS SDK in your development.
Consider Legal Prerequisites
Launching an app may entail plenty of legal requirements, depending on its functionality and markets. For example, think about data processing and whether you’ll need to comply with legislation like GDPR in the EU. Or, if your app includes in-app purchases, make sure it’s PCI-compliant.
Optimize for the Latest iOS Version
Your app should support the latest iOS features and capabilities. To this end, use the iOS SDK. Plus, follow Apple’s guidelines to optimize your product to work with Apple Watch, widgets, or shortcuts, for example.
Read the App Store Review Guidelines
It’s impossible to cover every requirement from the App Store Review Guidelines here, so make sure you open and read them before or at least during the development. These guidelines cover five main subjects:
Be Thorough with Testing
Your product should look excellent on all iPhone devices, so be thorough in your testing to make sure it is. You can use Xcode to run these tests with the in-built simulator – and fix any UI issues that may appear.
Of course, your application should also be bug-free and fast. So, pinpoint and address any performance and functionality issues before submission.
How to Submit an iOS App for Review
Now, let’s say you have a finished app on your hands. It’s built using Xcode, thoroughly tested and debugged, and meets all app store review guidelines applicable. Here are five steps toward submitting it for review.
Register as an Apple Developer
First, you need to join the Apple Developer Program (if you haven’t yet). While you don’t need to do it before you start developing the app, you won’t be able to submit it without an Apple Developer account, along with an Apple ID.
The Apple Developer Program also gives you access to TestFlight. This is a platform that allows you to invite up to 10,000 external users to test your app’s beta version.
Prepare the App for Release
Before you upload it, open your app in Xcode and do the following:
- Define the bundle ID (be careful: you can’t change it after you upload the app to App Store Connect!);
- Change the format of the app version and build to match the requirements (1.0.0 for new apps);
- Choose the app category (e.g., navigation, business, or lifestyle);
- Create the app icon and launch screen.
Create a Listing
Now, it’s time to upload your app to App Store Connect where you’ll be able to submit it for review. For that, you’ll need to log into App Store Connect, click on “+” button in My Apps, and:
- Provide the app’s name and select the appropriate category;
- Select the pricing for your product.
Every app page on the App Store includes screenshots to showcase its functionality. So, prepare them for your app before submitting it.
You can take screenshots right in your app or use mockup templates. Make sure to meet the specification requirements for screenshots: the resolution and source vary based on the device size.
Upload the App via Xcode & Submit It for Review
Now, it’s time for the final step – sending your app for review. Remember to triple-check that your app works as intended and looks great on all Apple devices before you send it off.
To submit your product to the App Store, you’ll first need to upload its archive to App Store Connect. To do that, open the project in Xcode and:
- Create a full app archive (Simulators -> Generic iOS device -> Product -> Archive);
- Click Distribute App in the Archives tab and choose iOS App Store from the list of methods of distribution;
- Xcode will check if the archive is complete and show you a confirmation screen when the upload is finished.
Then, open your App Store Connect account. (You may need to wait a bit until the upload shows up there.) Select the app’s archive and click Submit for Review. Now, you’ll just have to wait for the answer!
Once you’re done with submitting your app for review, all you’ll be able to do is wait for Apple’s verdict. It should come fast: according to the company itself, half of all apps’ applications get processed within 24 hours, and 90% of them get reviewed within 48 hours.
Keep in mind: while the App Store won’t allow you to submit an unfinished app for review, you should know what counts before you finish the development. Otherwise, you sabotage your chances of getting the app accepted. Good luck!