How to Submit iPhone Apps to the iTunes App Store

Hey y’all. In this post I’ll answer a frequently asked question about the app biz: “How do you submit iphone apps to the app store?” Henceforth find ye de-mystification of the submittal process!

ios dev center

To submit iPhone apps to the iTunes store

you first must sign up to become a Registered iPhone Developer [signup link]. The standard developer license costs $99 and is an annual fee. If you plan on charging for your app, or having in-app purchasing, be prepared to provide your banking information so that Apple can provide direct deposit of your earnings.

If you’ve already set up your developer account, have created your Provisioning Profiles, Certificates, App ID’s etc, and have your binary compiled, then you’re ready to submit your app to Apple. The site you use to submit is iTunes Connect and the login should be the same as your Developer Portal login.

Step 1 – Login to iTunes Connect and Click on “Manage Your Applications”


manage your applications

Step 2 – Add New Application


itunes connect

Step 3 – Encryption selection

Select “Does your product contain encryption?” Most of us will click “no” but if you’re not sure click here for more info on export compliance.

Step 4 – Enter New Application data.

Application Name – This is where you enter the name that will appear in iTunes, next to the icon. When you’re naming your app, be sure to think about your most important keywords and embed them within the title. The example below was a test where I tried putting “coffee finder” “starbucks” and a variation of “find coffee”. Sales lifted significantly. However, Apple has been cracking down on using brand names in titles and keywords, so I’m not sure if I could get away with Starbucks in the title today the way I did before Starbucks had an app.

enter application description

Application Description – This is area where you describe to consumers what your app is all about. It is recommended to write a on sentence summary of the app, then outline additional features and functionality in a easy to skim, bulleted format. Also recommended to place in this text field are any reviews and a personal message about submitting complaints, bug fixes etc to the support email address rather than posting a negative review.

Device Requirements – There are three selections:

  • iPhone Only – select this if your application does not work on iPod Touch. For example an app which hinges on the use of the camera or video
  • iPhone/iPod Touch (2nd Generation) – select this if your app only works on 2nd Gen phones or higher
  • iPhone/iPod Touch – select this if your app will work on any iPhone/iPod Touch

Primary Category – Selecting a category can be a science unto itself, but for the purposes of this article, choose for the primary category the group that best describes where your app should live. For example if you have a coffee finder app, it could live in lifestyle or navigation. Do a little research to see what your competition is doing (or not doing) in each category and make a strategic decision based on that data.

Secondary Category – To be frank, I have not found research around how secondary categories play into find-ability in the App Store. My best advice is to use this selection as a fallback for your second best category fit.

Copyright – Typically in this area you will put the year and your name/company name. Ex: 2010 Clever Twist, Inc.

Version Number – This becomes important when you begin uploading revisions or new versions of your app. You can version in whatever format is comfortable for you. I’m sure there’s some versioning expert out there gagging that I’d say “call it what you want” so versioning expert please enlighten me :) Ex: 1.0

SKU Number – This is another identifier for your app and needs to be a “unique numerical identifier” for your app. Usually I abbreviate the name of the app and then put the year. Ex: RYF2009

Keywords – Oye. Don’t screw this up, whatever you do. They keyword gobbler will take your keywords and you won’t be able to change them again until the Apple wizards sprinkle fairy dust on your developer account. Ok rant over. So you have exactly 100 characters to get your app found. Do your homework. There’s an entire post waiting to be written about this one topic. Whatever you do, do not submit your app unless you’re certain your keywords are correct. Once you submit your app, you CANNOT change the keywords until you upload new binary.

Application URL – Exactly what it says. If you do not have a specific website set up for your app, point them to your regular website. Point them somewhere that feels like there’s a human present.

Support URL – Here’s where you send them for lots of back scratches and TLC. Unfortunately I’ve only had TWO people actually submit a support request via my Get Satisfaction link I provide for all of my apps. People usually send me an email via the app itself or bitch and complain on the review posts. :) Seriously they don’t just bitch, they bitch AND complain – over 99¢.

Support Email Address – Make sure this is right. This is the email address where Apple will contact you if there are any issues with your app.

Demo Account – Full Access – You know what, I have no idea what this is for. I always leave it blank. Anyone got some add’l info on this field? tks!

Step 5 – Ratings


choose your app ratings

This is where you tell people what a bad or good influence you will be on their children. ;)

Step 6 – Upload and submit iPhone App

  • Application – this is where you upload the zipped binary for the app
  • Large 512 x 512 Icon – this is the large, hi-res icon that will be displayed in the iTunes Store
  • Primary Screenshot – At a minimum you have to have one screenshot, this is where you upload it. These must be a .jpg or .tif file that is 320×480, 480×320, 320×460, or 480×300 pixels and at least 72 DPI
  • Additional Screenshots – Same as above, notice how it says “Choose all Screenshot files before clicking Upload File” – actually do that or your files won’t upload properly.

A note on screenshots – be sure to NOT MENTION THE PRICE OF YOUR APP in the screenshots. It will get rejected.

Step 7 – Availability Date and Pricing

Availability Date – Ok here’s another point that could be expounded upon at length, but in short be careful when selecting your availability date. Push it out to some date in the future that you think is beyond the date when Apple approves your app. For example if you set your avail date to Feb 1st and Apple approves it on March 1st, the app immediately pushes out to the App Store. Apple don’t hold NOBODY’s hand and there ain’t no crying in baseball either.

Pricing – Do your research when pricing your app based on the type of app your selling, your target market, your marketing strategy etc.

App Store Selection – If you have an app that should not be available worldwide, click on this link and choose the stores where you would like for your app to appear.

availability of your app

Step 8 – Localization

This is the area where you can customize the description of your app for each country’s App Store. In my limited experience in going multi-lingual I’ve seen is does produce a bump in worldwide sales.

Step 9  – Review

This is where you make sure you didn’t’ goof the whole thing up. If you’re like me you probably did so even though you’re probably exhausted by the whole submission process, take a minute to do a once -over.

More to it than you might

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