Like, Wow! is now in the App Store

Apr 28 2022 likewow xcode

“Like, Wow!” has passed review and is now available on the App Store! This has been a really fun experience and it feels great to finally ship it. There were only a couple of minor issues raised during the beta testing, but as it was tested by a pretty small group, I imagine some issues will arise once it is used by a larger audience.

Once an application is complete, submitting it on the App Store is pretty straightforward but does involve a number of steps, some of which aren’t obvious for first-timers like me. Like TestFlight, you use the Archive tool in Xcode to build a bundle and upload it to App Store Connect. You need to use a release scheme for this build and you need to select a phsyical device in Xcode for the Archive tool to work (e.g. plug in your iPhone and select it in Xcode).

Then you complete the application profile in App Store Connect. There are a number of tabs that describe the application including the App Store assets (screenshots, description), content rights, age rating, pricing, availability, privacy and in-app purchases, if applicable. Most of this is straightforward, albeit a little tedious, but there were a few steps I found confusing along the way.

iOS App tab - Screenshots

Initially, I had created screenshots from the iPhone 13 Pro simulator. But when I tried to add them to the Media Manager, it rejected them because they weren’t the right dimensions. After a little digging I realized that there are (currently) four required screenshot sizes and a bunch of other optional ones. The required ones are:

  • 6.5” Display - from the more recent “Pro Max” size phones, such as the iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • 5.5” Display - for the “mini” sized phones, like the iPhone 13 Mini
  • iPad 12.9” Display (iPad Pro, 3rd Gen)
  • iPad 12.9” Display (iPad Pro, 2nd Gen) - actually the same pixel dimensions as the 3rd generation but it has a different bezel. You can use the same screenshots for both of the iPad sets.

So I had to generate new sets of screenshots, which requires a little bit of work because I have to stage the simulator with saved recordings to get a couple of the screenshots setup properly.

Also, later when I was trying to submit the app for review, I got this error:

There are still screenshot uploads in progress

I went back to the Media Manager in App Store Connect and a couple of the screenshots had a gray placeholder image. I waited a bit but they never completed so I deleted them, re-uploaded the missing screenshots, and then reordered them and then it worked.

App Information

In addition to the errors about screenshots waiting to upload when I first tried to submit the app, I also got errors about the content rights and age rating. I had to click “Edit” in these sections and specify that they don’t apply (select “none” for all cases).

Pricing and Availability

By default, the app profile will be enabled for Apple Silicon Mac Availability. I didn’t want this because I had not tested my app on the Mac so I disabled it (for now).

App Privacy

I got this cryptic error when I first tried to submit for review:

Before you can submit your app for review, an Admin must provide information about the app’s privacy practice in the App privacy section.

Even though I’d filled out the privacy section, I didn’t realize that it doesn’t apply until you click the “Publish” button. Furthermore, this needs to be done by a user with admin privileges for the Apple Developer Account, which is what the error message is referencing.

In-App Purchase

If the app includes in-app purchases, these also need to be reviewed. They can be reviewed separately and made available after the fact, but I wanted to ship the app with my one-and-only IAP. This should already be filled out and completed, since you had to include code for it and test it (you tested it, right?). Then you can select the IAP along with the app build from the main iOS App tab.

Submit for Review

Overall, this only took about 15 minutes to get it all completed and correct before I hovered over the “Submit for Review” button and then paused nervously for a little bit before I gathered up the courage to click the button. In just a couple of minutes, I received an email confirmation that my app was “Waiting for Review” and by the time I woke up the next morning, “Like, Wow!” had passed review and was available in the app store. In all, it took less than 24 hours to be approved. I like that!

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