How to upload IPA file to the Apple App Store?

You need to submit the IPA file of your app to the Apple Store to publish it via your Apple developer account.
This process involves 3 parts.

  • Filling an App Store listing
  • Creating a test flight
  • Submitting app information
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create a developer account by signing up for the Apple Developer Program.
Click here for a guide on how to create an Apple developer account?

Apple App Submission

For the Apple app submission, you are required to do the following:

  1. Create App Store listing
  2. Submit app information

Create App Store listing

Follow these steps to fill an app listing in App Store Connect.

  • Log in to your App Store Connect account.
  • Click on the My Apps button and navigate to the overview of your apps.

Open your App Store Connect account and Click on + symbol on the top left and then click on New App.

  • This will open a form for creating a New App listing. Enter the relevant details discussed below.
    • Select the iOS checkbox under Platforms.
    • Enter the name of your app under the Name field.
Make sure that the name is unique and has not been used before in the App Store. This field will turn red if the name is not unique.
  • Select the language for your app from the drop-down list under Primary Language.
  • Select the Bundle ID created earlier for your app from the drop-down list under Bundle ID.
  • Now enter the SKU in the text field available next.
  • SKU here refers to a unique code identifier. However, it is not a very important requirement for app submission, therefore, simply entering the App Name in all caps, followed by a unique number will be enough.
  • Finally, click on the Create button to complete the first step of creating your app listing.

You have now initiated the process of uploading the test flight of your app. This process may take up to a few minutes.

Submit app information

Submitting app information

Once your app listing is created and the test flight has been uploaded. In your App Store Connect account, navigate to the App Information section. This process is further segmented into the following sections.

  1. App Information
  2. Pricing and Availability
  3. Prepare for Submission

Let us go through them one by one:

App Information

Here we will submit the basic information for the mobile app.

Localizable Information

Name

Enter the name of your mobile app as it will appear on the App Store.

The maximum character limit of this field is 30.

Privacy Policy URL

Enter the URL of your website’s privacy policy.

This is required for all apps.

Subtitle

Enter a subtitle for your app that will appear below your app name.

A short summary that describes your mobile app and its functionalities.

This is an optional field.

General Information

Bundle ID

Select the Bundle ID for your app listing.

This cannot be changed later.

Primary Language

This will be auto-populated based on your country selection.

SKU

The SKU of your mobile app listing will be auto-populated here.

This is a unique ID for your app.

This will not be visible on the App Store.

Category

Select the Primary Category of your mobile app from the dropdown list.

You can also select a Secondary Category for your mobile app. This selection is optional.

Apple ID

This is a unique identifier for your mobile app.

This field is automatically generated.

Age Rating

This app’s age rating will appear on the App Store across all your platforms.

It is based on the app’s platform with the most mature rating.

License Agreement

Apple’s standard end user license agreement (EULA) for all countries or regions is automatically selected for you.

You can click on Edit for a custom agreement as per your geographical selection.

Additional Information

Edit User Access

  • By default, Full Access is selected for your app listing, which means all users will have access to the app.
  • You can limit which users see the app in App Store Connect.
  • Note that users with the Admin, Finance, and Reports roles cannot have their app access limited.

Remove App

  • Avoid this option unless you want to remove your app listing and start all over again.

Finally, click on the Save button in the top-right of the window to save your work. Now proceed to the next section.

Pricing and Availability

In this section, we will define the pricing and demographic availability for your mobile application.

  • Click on the Pricing and Availability button on the left menu.

This section is divided into the following segments.

  1. Price Schedule
  2. Pre-Orders
  3. Availability
  4. Distribution of Business and Education

Price Schedule

  • By default, your app is USD 0 (Free) and is available in all countries.
  • If you wish to publish your app as a paid app then you can select the appropriate price rate from the dropdown given under the Price field.
  • Click on All Prices and Currencies for a list of all currencies and their rates. This will give you an idea of how your app will be priced in different currencies.

Pre Orders

  • You can make your app available for pre-order here.
  • This allows customers to order your app before its release date.
  • Once your app is released for download, customers will be notified and your app will automatically be downloaded to their device.
  • For paid apps, customers will be charged before download. Any app that hasn’t been published to the App Store can be made available for pre-order.

Availability

  • Your app is available in all countries by default.
  • Click on Edit to select the countries that you’d like your app to be available in.
  • You’ll have to select a price for your app to be able to edit availability.

Distribution for Business and Education

Select the distribution model for your app on the App Store. The available options are.

  • Available on the App Store, for volume purchasing on Apple Business Manager, and for volume purchasing at a reduced price on Apple School Manager
    • This is selected by default.
    • You can offer a 50% discount to educational institutions when they purchase 20 or more copies of your iOS or macOS app through Apple School Manager.
  • Available on the App Store and for volume purchasing on Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager
  • Available for private distribution to specific organizations on Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager
    • If you’ve created an app for a business or educational institution, including a proprietary app for internal use, you can specify which organizations can see and download the app on Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager.

Finally, click on the Save button on the top right and save your settings.

Prepare for Submission

Now click on the Prepare for Submission button on the left menu. Here we will submit the information that is required for app submission and review by the App Store Connect reviewers.
This is segmented into the following sections.

  1. Version Information
  2. iMessage App
  3. Apple Watch
  4. Build
  5. General App Information
  6. Game Center
  7. App Review Information
  8. Version Release

Version Information

Submit the version information for your app here.

Language
  • The pre-selected language will appear here by default.
  • To change the language for your app version, click on the down arrow, and select the preferred language from the drop-down.
App Previews and Screenshots
  • You can upload the splash screen images and screenshots of your app into the screenshot area.
  • You can drag and drop the images into the field.
  • Screenshots must be in the JPG or PNG format, and in the RGB color space.
  • Ahe app previews must be in the M4V, MP4, or MOV format and not exceed 500 MB.
  • There are four tabs where you can add your images for preview.
    • iPhone 6.5″ Display
    • iPhone 5.5″ Display
    • iPad Pro (3rd Gen) 12.9″Display
    • iPad Pro (2nd Gen) 12.9″ Display
You are required to submit 2 sets of 4 screenshots in their respective dimensions. Which makes it a total of 8 screenshots.
Details below.
4 Screenshots of 1080 x 1920 px
4 Screenshots of 1242 x 2208 px
Promotional Text
  • Promotional text lets you inform your App Store visitors of any current app features without requiring an updated submission.
  • This text will appear above your description on the App Store for customers with devices running iOS 11 or later, and macOS 10.13 or later.
  • This is a required field with a maximum character limit of 170.
Description
  • Add a description of your app, detailing features and functionality.
  • It will also be used for your Apple Watch app.
  • This is a required field with a maximum character limit of 4,000.
Keywords
  • Include one or more keywords that describe your app.
  • Keywords make App Store search results more accurate.
  • Separate keywords with an English comma, Chinese comma, or a mix of both.
  • The maximum character limit is 100.
Support URL
  • Add the URL with support information for your app.
  • This URL will be visible on the App Store.
  • This is a required field.
Marketing URL
  • Add the URL with marketing information about your app.
  • This URL will be visible on the App Store.

iMessage App

  • Only applicable for apps using the Messages framework.

Apple Watch

  • Only required for apps supporting Apple Watch.

Build

  • Here you can select the app build to attach to this app listing. This is the IPA you created and downloaded.
  • Click on the + sign next to the heading, under “Build”, and select your build in the window that pops up.
  • You can monitor the status of the upload within the “Activity” tab.
It can take up to 15 minutes for the "+" sign to appear after uploading your app build.

General App Information

Enter the general information about your mobile app.

App Store Icon
  • This icon will be used on the App Store.
Copyright
  • The name of the person or entity that owns the exclusive rights to your app, preceded by the year the rights were obtained (for example, “2008 Acme Inc.”).
  • Do not provide a URL.
Version
  • The version number of the app you are adding.
  • Numbering should follow software versioning conventions.
Routing App Coverage File
  • Specify the geographic regions supported by your app.
  • The file must be in the .geojson format and can only contain one MultiPolygon element.
Age Rating
  • Select the appropriate Age Rating for your mobile app.

Game Center

  • Enable this toggle for your app to be available in the App Store Game Center and to enable multiplayer.
  • This will not be required for eCommerce, blog, and CMS mobile apps.

App Review Information

Here you’ll submit information for the app review team regarding your mobile application.

Sign-in information

If it is mandatory for your app users to sign-in to their account to access the app, then you must check the “Sign-in required” checkbox and provide the following details.

  • Provide a username and password so we at AppMySite can sign in to your app.
This is a crucial step as it is verified by the App Store review team and incorrect entries often lead to app rejection.
Contact information
  • Provide the contact information of the person in your organization who should be contacted if the App Review team has any questions or needs additional information.
This is a mandatory requirement.
Notes
  • You can provide some additional information about your app that can help during the review process.
  • Include information that may be needed to test your app, such as app-specific settings.
Attachment
  • You can attach specific app documentation, demo videos, and other items to help prevent delays during the app review process.
  • Make sure you use files with the following extensions: .pdf, .doc, .docx, .rtf, .pages, .xls, .xlsx, .numbers, .zip, .rar, .plist, .crash, .jpg, .png, .mp4, or .avi.

Version Release

  • After your app has been approved, App Store Connect can release it for you immediately.
  • If you want to release the app yourself, select a date or manually release it at any point after the approval.
  • You get the following options to schedule your app release.
    • Manually release this version
    • Automatically release this version
    • Automatically release this version after App Review, no earlier than

Creating a test flight

This section will explain how a test flight for an app is created.
We will create the test flight via the Transporter app. It is the easiest way to transfer content to Apple. This includes apps, music, movies, TV shows, or books for distribution on Apple platforms such as the App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV app, Apple Books, or iTunes Store.
The steps below explain how to create a test flight.

  • Launch the Transporter app. You can search “transporter” in the Spotlight and this app will be on the top.
  • Log in to the app with your App Store Connect credentials.
  • Apple may ask you to create an app-specific password during this step.
  • Drag and drop to upload the .ipa file you downloaded from your AppMySite account to the Add App screen of Transporter.
  • Now you will see the overview of your mobile app. Click on DELIVER to initiate app upload.

Finally, click on Submit for Review on the top right corner. You will be taken back to your app listing now and the status should have changed to Waiting for Review.