An App Owner’s Guide to Getting Your App Published on the iOS App Store:

By Sara Mehdi on 16th June, 2021
When you’re looking to submit an application to the iOS App store, there are certain requirements you have to take care of, beforehand. It’s a long, yet necessary process that needs to be dealt with carefully, and involves creation of assets that are absolutely necessary for a successful submission.
These assets can range up to different legal and technical requirements, getting the submission assets ready, like screenshots, and promo videos; and creating documents of content, like privacy policy, etc.
The number of apps keeps fluctuating as the App store focuses on bringing the best experience to the end user. In order to ensure that, the iOS app store makes sure that all apps hosted on the platform meet a certain standard. Apple wants to ensure that their users are able to download any app from their App store and have the confidence that the app is safe to use and will not break down or cause problems.
  • Users can choose to share their sensitive and private data
  • Over 100k apps are tested and reviewed every week
  • All apps in violation of privacy policy guidelines and other content concerns are rejected
  • Every app on the platform has an information page that all app owners are required to fill while submitting their applications
It’s safe to say that coming up with a good product with an informative product page with all complete assets is a crucial part of the app development process.
Technical Prerequisites
When submitting your application to the app store, there are certain technical prerequisites that you have to take care of.
1. Developer Account Creation
When submitting an application to the App store, you will be required to have a developer account. You will be required to enrol in the App Development Program and there is going to be an annual fee involved. Having a developer account will give you access to the beta version of the Apple software which comes in handy for testing purposes.
2. Uploading the App Build to the App Store Connect
Before submitting your application to the App store, your app will have to be assigned to your developer account. This process can be carried out by your developer team who can create the proper certificate required by Apple on your Developer Account and sign the build with it.
Legal Prerequisites
For any app to be submitted to the App store, it is required to be compliant with all legal requirements of any of the locations/regions you make it available in. Apple is very particular about how user data is handled and whether or not all apps are meeting the Apple Developer Program License Agreement.
The above-mentioned license covers in detail the agreements for data collection, data usage, sharing of data, and data collection from kids.
According to the Apple Legal requirements, your app should only have content that you have created solely on your own. Any violations and copyright claims can cause your app to be removed from the platform permanently.
As we have mentioned before, Apple is very particular about the quality of the app hosted on the App store and the detailed information that has been provided on their respective product pages. To make things easier for anybody looking to have their application published, they have provided the guidelines which contains all the information that you may need about the app publishing process.
The Process of Publishing an App on the App Store
Step #1 - Create a New App in App Store Connect
When you are getting ready to publish an application, the whole process starts with the App Store Connect. You will have to start the process by creating a new app here. But this is not going to be a one click away process. When creating a new app, you will be asked to fill in your basic information. Here are some pieces of information you will have to provide:
  • Platform – which apple platform your app supports
  • Name – You will have up to 30 characters to specify the name of your application which the users will see in the app store
  • Primary Language – You will be asked to specify the primary language of your application
  • Bundle ID – You can specify this from the app identifiers that are registered in the App Developer Account
  • User Access – You will have to specify the availability of your app between only the members of your app store connect or to a specific group of people
Once you have filled out all the necessary information, only then will you be able to move on to creating a product page.
Step #2 – Creating a Product Page
The information you decide to put into the product page will be your first contact with the end user. The product page is going to be directly responsible for enticing the user to download your application. While creating the content and assets for this page, you have to think carefully and be very opportunistic about your approach towards the information you put here.
There are several tabs on the product page, let’s go through them one by one.
Version Information iOS
In this section, you will be required to fill out information regarding the current version of the app irrespective of which version it is. Information included in this section are as follows.
  • App Previews – You are also allowed to upload a short 30 second video which can be used to demonstrate the core features of the application. You have the liberty to upload as many as 3 app previews.
  • App Screenshots – You are allowed to upload as many as 10 screenshots. These are very important, especially if you do not have any app previews as you can use several screenshots to highlight certain features and provide the end user with an idea of how the app works.
  • Promotional Text – This is an optional field which can be used to display any information that you may have forgotten to include in the description.
  • Description – As the name suggests, in this field you will have to list out all detailed information about the application.
  • Keywords – As all apps are searched via keywords in the App store, you will have to list down all the possible variations of keywords that you think can help the users find your app.
  • Support URL – All apps uploaded on the App store are required to have a support URL. It’s better to have a website set up which can be counted as a proper link where the users can reach you. However, if you do not have a website, you can link down a Facebook group that the users can reach out to.
iOS EcoSystem Support
As we all know, Apple has been pushing for an ecosystem which can cater to anything their user needs. In order to do that, the next step for you would be to fill out sections about App Clip, iMessage and the Apple Watch).
To submit an app to the store, you will be required to first submit an app build to the Apple platform. The process of uploading the app build is divided into three stages. First, you will be asked to select the right build, specify if your app uses encryption or not and then move to the third stage where you will see the information about the app build.
This General information will include the following details.
  • The app icon will be picked up from the build version you have uploaded. The same icon will appear next to your app when searching for it in the App Store.
  • App Version – You will have to specify the version of the application. This is important especially when new updates are made to the application.
  • Age Rating – In this section, you are required to answer questions about the frequency of certain types of content. These will mostly cover adult content (violence or nudity). An age rating will be assigned to your app based on the answers you will provide.
  • Copyright – You will be asked to specify the individual name who owns the right to your application.
  • Routing App Coverage File – In this section you will have to specify the regions and locations your app supports.
App Review Information
So, in this section, you can even include login information for the tester who can use this information to go through the various use cases of your application. You can also include contact information which can be used for any questions during the testing phase.
Aside from these, you have the additional option to include notes/video guides for the reviewer to see and understand how the application works.
Version Release
When submitting the application, you are asked to choose how the app will be released. You have several choices to choose from.
  • Manually – Once approved you will the option to click on a “Release” button
  • Automatically – Once the app is approved, Apple releases it automatically
  • Automatic with Date Restriction – You also have the option to choose the date when the app should be released automatically after it has been approved
General App Information
When submitting the application, the second tab that you will be required to fill out will be the General Information tab. This section will contain all the general information as well as the subtitle of the application, and the app category section.
When submitting the application, the second tab that you will be required to fill out will be the General Information tab. This section will contain all the general information as well as the subtitle of the application, and the app category section.
Additional information in this section that you will provide, includes information about content rights, whether your app contains shows or contains any type of content that needs to be accessed from any third-party sources.
Pricing and Availability
  • Price Schedule In this section, you will be asked to specify a price if your intention is to have a paid application. You will also be asked to price your app which will include Apple’s commission and taxes. In addition, you have the option to specify an app price for a certain period of time which can be changed at a later stage.
  • Availability In this section, you will be asked to specify the countries and regions your app is going to be made available in. By default, all countries are selected and it would be better if you manually choose the countries in order to avoid any problems. There is no harm in having your app available to all countries, however, some general categories of app are not permitted in such countries and it would be better to avoid any legal ramifications.
Privacy Policy
This is going to be the fourth tab in the app setup process. In this section you will be asked to provide a URL to the privacy policy. In addition, you can also link a page where the users are given a choice to choose the data the app is allowed to collect from them.
This is useful for the users and helps them understand what data is being collected and how it's being used. As an app developer, you will be asked to specify all this information, however, there is no need to worry as this is pretty much standard operating procedure for all apps these days.
In-App Purchases
In this section, you will be asked to write down all information related to any kind of in-app purchase that may take place within your application. These purchases could include app purchases for points, tokens, specific game items, features or anything else.
To help you understand, let me list down the type of in-app purchases that are possible.
  • Consumables
  • Non-consumable
  • Subscription based – Auto
  • Subscription Based – Non-Auto
Step #3 – Submitting for Review
Hurray! You’re almost done.
Once you have all the information filled out and meta-data is ready, you have the option to submit the app for review. At this step you can also be asked questions related to export compliance, content rights, and advertising identifiers. Once done, your application will be submitted and the status will show “in review”
There is no specific time period for how long the app will be reviewed. It can vary from case to case.
Step #4 Going Live
The final step of the process is to take your app live. However, this depends on the review which can sometimes take up to 2 weeks. If your app is approved, you can instantly take it live.
But if for some reason, your app is rejected, you will be notified and asked to take care of the problems and submit your app again for a second review. These problems can be in your privacy policy or a feature may be buggy. There can be a variety of reasons, however, it is nothing you cannot fix so there is no need to worry.
Summing it Up
The app submission process may seem daunting and complicated in the beginning. But as you see, it may be a long process but there is nothing to worry about.
Hopefully, with the help of this article, you at least have an overview of all the requirements and are able to get your application on the App Store.