iTunes Connect goes App Store Connect
Apple just introduced a new name for the App Store’s developer interface. App Store Connect is from now on replacing the existing iTunes Connect.
What is App Store Connect?
In case you are unsure what App Store Connect is about, here’s a quick explanation. iTunes Connect (now App Store Connect) helps app developers manage their apps to be available in the iOS App Store.
At the beginning, iTunes Connect was actually meant to allow music labels to submit music on iTunes. When the App Store was introduced, Apple then used the same system for app developers.
What has changed?
It seems like Apple now wants to better concentrate on developing platform features for app developers. Many app developers and marketers have faced bad performance and bugs on a daily agenda. That’s why they split up the systems and renamed iTunes Connect to App Store Connect.
Unfortunately only the name has changed so far. We couldn’t determine new features or a performance improvement as for now. What has changed, however, are the icons on the platform’s start screen.
How to get your App Published on App Store Connect (former iTunes Connect) for the first time
Enroll into Apple’s iOS Developer Program
The first step when publishing an app for the first time is enrolling in Apple’s iOS Developer Program. You need to pay 99 dollars a year to have your app released in the Apple App Store. If your app is going to fee-based, now it is the time to provide bank and tax information. Before creating your app, take some time to read the app store guidelines. If your product does not follow them, it might get rejected by App Store Connect (iTunes Connect).
The guidelines take into consideration: design principles, interaction, features, graphics, UI bars, UI views, UI controls, extensions, and technologies.
The second step is downloading and installing XCode on your computer. This is the Apple’s development environment to create apps. If you choose not to download it, you will need to download the Application Loader Utility and WWDR intermediate certificate separately.
Apple requests you to create certificates. The DPS App Builders creates two apps, one for testing and one for distribution. You need a valid certificate for each one of them. You can create the certificates using the process between the Apple Developers site and the keychain access utility on your computer. After they are ready, test them to check if they are valid.
Create an Apple App ID
The next step is creating an App ID, which can be done straight from the Apple’s Developer site. You should also register your test devices by providing a list of UDIDS (like a serial number) of the devices. You must also create mobileprovision files to determine which devices can install and launch your app. The developer version needs a list of UDIDS, and the distribution one is open to everyone.
Design your App Store Page
You are almost ready. Now, you need to create required assets. Follow the bullet points:
- App Name
- Support e-mail
- Support URL
- SKU number
- App Icon
- Splash screen images
- Additional images and information.
Testing your App
Before distributing your app, you have to create an App Store Connect record of it. This must provide
- the information that appears in the store of the app,
- the languages you want to have it and
- the information required to manage the app.
After that, you will be able to create in-app purchases and submit your app to be published in the Apple App Store.
For apps on the Apple App Store, it is not possible to release Beta versions to test an app. However, testers can download your app via TestFlight after receiving an invitation email.
Submit your App to Apple App Store
After testing and submitting the final version of your app in App Store Connect (iTunes Connect), you must wait for Apple’s approval.
Some years ago, publishing an app was a tedious step in the App Marketing process. Since there’s a dedicated Review Team to check every app that was submitted for review, it could have happened that you waited for 2-3 weeks to see your app on the App Store.
By now, the review process takes a few hours to a few days for the majority of apps.