SEPTEMBER 11, 2022
16 min read
The Apple team has a very specific vision for the quality of mobile applications. This is extremely beneficial to customers since the Apple team takes several steps to submit an app to the App Store and works tirelessly to make the App Store a trustworthy ecosystem. It has high standards and stringent criteria, not just for app performance but also for the application of necessary security measures. As a result, the user may be certain that iOS applications are trustworthy.
Meeting all of the requirements, on the other hand, may prove to be a real challenge for developers. In comparison, it is impossible to submit an app to the App Store from testflight since your software must be completely ready to be exhibited to customers. The construction of the program may take only a few weeks, but clearing the App Store review may take up to a month.
The apps’ complexity varies as well. During 2018, DashDevs submitted over 250 apps for assessment. Not all of them passed the first time around. However, there were moments when a positive evaluation filled us with pure delight.
Dashdevs has over 9 years of experience developing iOS applications. We’ve worked with a variety of markets, sectors, and businesses. Dashdevs would like to share the wisdom of product managers who are part of our large team in this post, so you can avoid frequent mistakes, understand how to submit new versions to the App Store, and simply pass the review stage.
How to Submit an Update to the App Store?
A brand-new iOS application has been designed, tested, and is ready to be released into the wild. The iTunes Connect panel already has a binary file. But what further steps to submit an iOS app to the Apple Store are required?
#1 Code Signing: Create an iOS distribution provisioning profile and distribution certificate
- Add Developer Program account to Xcode. Select Xcode from the top menu, then Preferences.
- Select Accounts. Press the + sign in the lower left corner of the screen, then Add Apple ID.
- Sign in with your Apple ID and password from the Apple Developer Program.
- Activate automatic signing. Choose a target and then General from the Project Editor.
- Scroll down to the “Signing” section and expand the options by clicking on the triangle icon.
- Select Automatically manage signing. Choose your team.
#2 Add an Application
- Choose My Apps from the App Store Connect panel.
- In the top left-hand corner, click the + icon, then New App.
- To create a new App Store Connect record, you’ll need some information that cannot be modified afterwards, so be careful while filling it out.
- To improve your app’s visibility, use keywords in the name of your app.
- Set user access if it’s possible at this point.
The bundle ID must exactly match the bundle identifier in your Xcode project Info.plist file (in the General > Identity section of the target).
In step 3, you can add the SKU, or stock keeping unit, which might be useful if you prefer to connect app sales with whatever unique SKU identifier your accounting system uses. It is not visible to users and is set by you. This may be something from your organization or something else significant to you.
#3 Upload the Build Using Xcode
- As the deployment target, choose Generic iOS.
- Select Product from the top menu, followed by Archive.
- The Xcode Organizer will launch, displaying any previously created archives.
- Select the current build and then, on the right, select Upload to the App Store.
- After selecting them, choose your credentials.
- In the next box that appears, select Upload in the lower right-hand corner.
- When the procedure is finished, click Done.
#4 Configure the metadata and other information of the app in the App Store Connect record
- Under the “Features” tab, configure any Project Store technologies in your app. The app is now labeled with a yellow dot and the status “Prepare for Submission.”
- Choose the build you wish to set up. This is where you will enter the information for your App Store product page.
- Upload screenshots of your app (in JPEG or PNG format). You can submit a group of images for one gadget and utilize them across all sizes.
- After you’ve completed uploading your screenshots, click Save in the top right-hand corner of the window.
Browse through and provide the description, keywords, support URL, and marketing URL for your app.
- The description and keywords for your app are crucial. Make certain that they are optimized for discovery.
- The support URL might be as basic as a contact form on a landing page.
- The marketing URL is optional and might be your app’s website.
Upload your app’s icon and provide its version number, copyright, and contact information in the “General App Information” box below.
- The size of your app’s icon should be 1024px x 1024px.
- The version number should match the one in Xcode precisely.
- The copyright information is commonly formatted as follows: “Copyright (c) 2020, DashDevs, Inc.”
- The contact information entered here will be visible to users.
Select the appropriate parameters for your app by clicking on Edit next to “Rating.” Be truthful—if your app does not match its rating, it may be rejected during the review. Add your contact information, any remarks for the reviewer, and the version release date under the “App Review Information” area.
- The contact information provided here is for the reviewer to contact you personally if necessary.
- Notes for the reviewer might contain particular hardware details or user account credentials that they may want access to.
- You should usually keep the version release date as an automatic for first releases.
- Click Save in the upper right-hand corner. You’re nearly ready to click “Submit for Review.”
#5 Submitting for Review and Waiting for Approval
If something critical in the description is lacking, you will be notified. The application status will then be changed to “Waiting for review.” It may take a few days before the actual check is issued. When the verification team begins the evaluation, the application’s status will be updated to “In Review.”
Hint: Install the iTunes Connect application on your iPhone to receive fast updates about all status changes, letting you know when connect is ready to submit.
If you’ve recently produced a Progressive Web App, you may be curious if it’s possible to submit PWA to the App Store. The typical answer to this question would have been no.
Your PWA will be unable to be submitted to the App Store. If you need to reach an iOS audience, you should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of PWA vs. native app development. Native applications provide the greatest user experience on iOS devices. If you have a PWA, though, you may still target iOS users.
PWAs may still be accessed and stored on the iOS Safari home screen. Your PWA, like all other apps, will be accessible from the home page, but it will be limited in what it can and cannot do. One of these limitations is the inability to use Face ID, Touch ID, Bluetooth, or Siri, as well as send push notifications or interact with social apps.
Apple certainly likes native apps to give a great user experience on its phones and other devices. If you need to reach iOS users, you should seriously think that it may be way better to, for example, submit React Native app to the App Store.
How Long Does it Take to Submit to the App Store?
App Store approval is mandatory for all apps. The app verification process adheres to Apple’s guidelines, guaranteeing the greatest and safest user experience.
If you wish to submit iPhone apps to the App Store, they will also check the key information about the application. A portion of the verification is performed automatically by programs, while the remainder is performed by humans. If your application has a problem, you will be notified with a detailed description of what needs to be corrected. The initial step of evaluation takes between three and seven days. The inspection of application updates is completed in 1 to 3 days.
You can seek an accelerated review if you’re on a tight deadline and need to coordinate your release with a certain event, or if you need to release a new version with an urgent bug repair.
Advantage of Submit to App Store
Selling your application through the Apple App Store is advantageous:
- It provides far more attention and publicity than any other marketplace. There are around 2 million apps that have proceeded via Apple’s approval process in the Apple App Store alone, which is the massive Apple application market.
- After being authorized, the app will most likely be pushed over various store channels, such as highlights in popular app categories, and so on.
- After trying to submit Flutter app to the App Store or any other app, regardless of the initial registration charge, the profit is considerable, with 70% of the app’s revenues going to the organization that created it. This makes it easy for the corporation to benefit from the app’s sale.
Why didn’t the applications pass on the first try?
We’ve only had a few concerns with applications submitted for approval in the previous few years. Some were simple to fix, while others took several hours. However, there is always the chance of finding a way out and dealing with the issues. Here’s a checklist for submitting an app to the App Store and points you need to consider, which can also be found in Apple’s developer standards.
Use Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) for the design
Your designers should adhere to the HIG from the start. Apple Guidelines must be followed when it comes to button sizes and placement, the right use of fundamental UI components, and navigation. Fixing faults with HIG might be costly if discovered near the end of construction.
Hint: don’t make an application that seems suspiciously similar to an existing Apple product or any other program (no copycats). This is strictly enforced by the Apple staff.
H3 - Check the functionality list
Your application must have features, content, and a user interface that distinguishes it from a repackaged website. The Apple team is concerned with the user’s utility and advantages.
- The user interface’s usefulness and quality;
- A one-of-a-kind user experience;
- The app’s efficiency and usefulness;
- Individuality and inventiveness;
- The way an application addresses a user problem;
- The product page has eye-catching images, software samples, and descriptions;
- If the app’s landing page is visually appealing;
- Marketing asset variation;
- Consider your app to make use of Apple’s most recent software and hardware updates (Apple Watch, for example).
- One of DashDevs apps was denied because the Apple review team felt that the program did not require the Sign up/Sign in feature. As a result, the DashDevs team issued an appeal notice with proof of the relevance of this functionality to update an app after submitting to the App Store.
- Another situation was slightly different: the software was too easy for the AppStore (just a funny calendar). Additional functionality was required for the program. We enhanced it by including a sharing function, and it was approved.
- Another important criterion to remember is that your program should not require the installation of any additional apps.
Provide a demo account with full functionality to the Apple team
The Software Store reviewing staff will undoubtedly attempt to register your app, but they will also need to validate the remaining features. To examine the functionality of a bank application, for example, users must have an account with an active card and some transactions on it. You must ensure that the account has full functioning and that all back-end functions are enabled.
Hint: don’t give this account to your QA team for routine testing, especially during the review period. We once submitted an application for evaluation while our Quality Assurance engineer tested the blocking feature and occasionally blocked a new user.
No “test”, “coming soon”, “beta”, “trial”, “Testflight” in the app.
All future, incomplete, or demo functionality must be avoided in the app. Do not use these phrases in your application’s content, including screenshots and descriptions. You may use Testflight services to test your application.
We once made an embarrassing error with one of the applications. As you may know, in order to prepare a submission for review, developers may occasionally snap pictures of the application directly from TestFlight. These images are used as screenshots of the actual app for the App Store. If you do this, double-check the status bar for the “Testflight” label. Your application will be denied if this occurs. This little item may block your application from being submitted.
App Store programs are not permitted to fail, operate slowly, or have memory leaks. Incomplete app bundles and binaries that crash or perform poorly in apps are rejected immediately.
Describe only the existing functionality
No advertisement for future features should be in the description of the app.
Terms and Conditions / Privacy Policies
These papers, or links to them, must be included in the app. You must explain to the user how their sensitive data is processed, as well as what data the app shares with third parties and for what purposes (e.g., analytics tools, advertising networks, third-party SDKs, etc.). For submit to be featured in the App Store, a user must be aware of your application’s deletion and retention rules.
All items in the app require permission to use (copyright issue). If you have not received the relevant authorization, do not utilize third-party trademarks, copyrighted works, or patented concepts in your program. Remember to avoid utilizing sexual or pornographic content, marijuana, cigarettes, restricted drugs, deceptive religious text quotes, and violence in mobile applications.
If your industry requires a license to provide your services, such as FinTech, Medicine, or Healthcare, you must attach a copy of those documents to the application for review. If a program requires certain hardware, you must supply a certificate or license for that hardware.
Another example from our experience: an application that made use of a specialized sticker printer. Initially, the application was denied, and we needed to obtain a certificate in order to utilize those printers. It took us a month to gain official certification from the hardware manufacturer.
A digital bank application is another example of DashDevs’ experience. The E-money License has to be provided by our team to the App Store review team. This is also relevant to the bitcoin business.
“Apps facilitating Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”), cryptocurrency futures trading, and other crypto-securities or quasi-securities trading must come from established banks, securities firms, futures commission merchants (“FCM”), or other approved financial institutions and must comply with all applicable law”.
Ask user for permissions
Your app must request permission to utilize the camera, microphone, location, contacts, camera roll, and user locations. The permission must be relevant to the functioning of the program. The App Store team is concerned that the information gathered in the application is stored correctly and that illegal use, disclosure, or access by third parties is avoided.
Hint: кemember to provide an explanation of these permissions in the.plist file. Another typical cause for rejection is this.
No mock-up data in the app
If your application lacks content for some forms you require, hide this element or offer a placeholder for it with instructions on how the user may obtain the required data.
Developers will sometimes hardcode to display the most user functionality possible. For example, suppose your app offers a section with charts reporting the user’s app activity information. In this situation, there must be a placeholder with prompt text indicating that the chart will be visible after the user begins using the program on a regular basis.
The same is true for ads—you cannot submit the app with empty ad banners or test advertisements.
Ability to moderate user’s content
“Block a user/content,” “report a user/content,” and “blacklist for users” are essential app features if it supports multi-user communication (e.g., feeds, chats, groups). As a product owner, you must be aware that different people may use your application, and some of them may cause disruption to others. You must provide your users the power to govern the material and community with which they interact.
How Many Apps can I Submit to the App Store?
According to Apple regulations, anybody with a Developer License may publish an unlimited number of apps.
Only if you try to submit too many comparable apps to the Apple store will the issues surface. In other words, there is no limit to the number of apps that may be published. For further information, see Apple’s App Approval Guidelines. If a developer or organization submits too many similar apps, the developer or company may be dismissed or banned from the Developer program.
Options for release
The team obtains fresh experience with each submission for review. Our major piece of advice is to submit your software for App Store review as soon as you have completed the MVP. Keep in mind that just because you pass the review does not mean your software will be launched.
Following a successful evaluation, you can take one of three actions:
- Manually release this version: go to the iTunes Connect panel as a developer or application manager and hit the button to release the app.
- Automatically release this version: that means that the application will be published as soon as it passes the review.
- Automatically release this version after App Review, no earlier than…: you can select the time/date for the release. If your application passes the review, it will be published at that time.
These options can help developers and product owners/managers pass the evaluation and prepare for the start of the marketing campaign. Because the initial app evaluation is the most crucial, the App Store team thoroughly evaluates the application for a much longer period of time. Every successive update is similarly reviewed, albeit the process takes less time. In certain circumstances, it may just take a few hours.
Why can’t i Submit a Review on the App Store?
Your application may be rejected by the App Store. That’s OK. Don’t freak out. If you understand why, there is a simple solution to address the problem and resubmit the application for evaluation.
Performance is one of the most prevalent grounds for rejection from the Apple App Store. Ascertain that your software is complete, that you have properly tested it, and that all bugs have been resolved. Using a bug reporting tool during beta testing will help minimize the likelihood of your app being disapproved due to performance concerns.
Ensure the application is ready for public release and that your product page is optimized before submitting it for review
- Explain why you believe your software conforms to the App Store Review Guidelines.
- Only one appeal should be submitted for each submission that does not pass review.
- Before filing an appeal, reply to any requests for further information.
If you encounter exceptional circumstances, such as resolving a serious problem in your app or launching your app to correspond with an event you’re directly affiliated with, you can request that your app’s review be accelerated. The App Review team can only provide expedited evaluations on a limited basis, and they do not promise that every request will be expedited.
- Important bug fix. Include the steps to replicate the problem in the latest revision of your app on the App Store when submitting an expedited review to remedy a critical bug.
- App for events. For apps related to an event, we recommend you prepare and plan the launch of the app in App Store Connect. Yet, if your application is still being reviewed and your event’s launch date is nearing, you can request that your app review be accelerated. Make sure your request contains the event, the date of the event, and the connection of your app with the event.
If you have any issues or would like to give further information, please utilize the Resolution Center to contact the App Review staff. They are encouraging and eager to assist you with your application. DashDevs have fixed a lot of issues with their help.
We hope that the examples in this article are useful to you and that all of your iOS applications pass App Store verification on the first try. However, if you believe you may require assistance in this case, please do not hesitate to contact us. DashDevs are always delighted to assist and are confident that all challenges are simpler to conquer when working together!
P.S. Useful links: