Over 4,000 new apps are added daily to Google Play and App Store.
Each app has to go through a delicate process of app submission and review before it reaches its target audience.
In this article, we will review the in-depth, step-by-step process of uploading an app to both Google Play and App Store.
But first, there are eight obligatory steps you need to know about before submitting your app to an app store.
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8 Steps To Take Before Submitting Your App To App Store Or Google Play
Prior to publishing your app on Google Play and/or App Store, it’s advisable to go through a checklist of items that will ensure your app is successful.
This checklist should consist of these eight steps:
- Analyze the market: Focus on understanding the industry and identifying your competition to establish the market size and its needs. Collect customer insights and other data to make sure your app will reach its target audience.
- Create enticing brand visuals: Think through your color themes, design and other visual materials. What will appeal most to your target audience? This step plays a key role in the branding strategy because it helps shape your brand persona.
- Test your app thoroughly: Test your app repeatedly to make sure all issues are resolved before the launch. For the long term success of your app - known as app stickiness - it’s vital to make sure there are robust quality assurance and testing procedures in place before the launch.
- Come up with a pricing model: Consider the pricing plan before publishing your app. Unlike most other products, apps can generate revenue in numerous ways. This flexibility allows creators to publish an app as a free, freemium or paid app, with or without in-app ads or purchase options. Explore your choices, weigh advantages against disadvantages for each option and opt for the model that works best for you.
- Optimize for store visibility: Optimizing your app for the app store means making sure it is listed near the top of its category, making it easily visible for potential users. For this, you need to use:
- App Store Optimization elements such as keywords, app description and images
- A strategy for procuring user reviews
- Elements such as an app logo to align the app with your brand and an app landing page for better recognition
- Create an app landing page: A simple, one-page website for your app - or a dedicated page on your business’s existing website - is a potentially powerful advertising tool. It should contain concise, to-the-point information about your app’s benefits, features and unique value differentiators that make it stand out on the market. Don’t forget images and videos of the app in action, user testimonials and links to app store(s) where it can be downloaded.
- Have a soft launch: Make the app available to users even before the official launch. This allows for a better promotion strategy and an opportunity to catch some last-minute bugs and other issues. A soft launch allows users to see what the app is all about without using its core features.
- Devise a shareability strategy: To make sure your app is being shared, place social share buttons on your app’s landing page and create a social media posting strategy that will advertise your app’s release and tease new features.
How To Publish An App On Google Play Store In 8 Steps
Publishing an app on Google Play store so Android users can download it is not a difficult process, but there are steps you should follow to avoid obstacles.
The following eight steps detail each stage of this process.
Step #1: Create A Developer Account
In order to upload an app to the Google Play Store, you first need to create a Developer Account. Here’s how:
- Sign-in with your Google account or create a new one
- After the sign-up process, you will need to pay a one-time $25 registration fee
- Review and accept the Developer Distribution Agreement and make the payment with your credit or debit card
- Fill in the necessary account details that will be visible to users in Google Play
Step #2: Link Your Developer Account To A Google Wallet Merchant
A Google Wallet merchant account is needed in order to receive payments by users that download the app or make in-app purchases.
To create your account follow these steps:
- Sign in with your developer account from the previous step.
- Go to the main menu and click on Reports.
- Select Financial Reports.
- Click “Set Up a Merchant Account Now.”
- Add your app business details.
- Click “Submit.”
This creates and links the merchant account to your developer account.
Step #3: Upload Your App To Google Play Store
The process of uploading your app to the Google Play Store is quite straightforward and simple.
Here is what you need to do - step by step:
- Go to the menu and select “All Applications.”
- Then, click “Add a New Application.”
- From the drop-down menu, choose the default language for the app.
- Add your app’s name. It should contain 30 characters at most
The next steps will require you to upload the Android Package Kit and prepare Store Listing.
Step #4: Upload Your Android Package Kit
The Android Package Kit (APK) is the Android file format for storing, distributing and installing apps on android devices.
You can upload your APK file by browsing your hard drive and selecting a file or dragging and dropping it into the upload box. Here’s how:
- From the menu, click “Release Management.”
- Choose “App Releases”
- Choose the release type: an internal test, closed test, open test or production release.
- If you are planning to test your app with certain users, then select from an “internal test,” “closed test,” or “open test.” If you are ready to introduce your app publicly, then choose “production release.”(Please note that it is recommended to thoroughly test the app with a smaller audience before a massive launch).
- Click “Create Release”.
- Upload the APK files by following the on-screen instructions.
Step #5: Prepare Your App’s Store Listing
After uploading the APK file, you will need to fill in information about the Android app to upload it to Google Play Store.
Before you do this, consult with your branding and marketing teams to create the ideal app profile that fits your business’s needs.
The app information you need to prepare at this stage includes:
- An app title of up to 50 characters, a brief description of up to 80 characters and a full description of up to 4,000 characters will summarize your app’s benefits, purpose and features.
- App screenshots, images, videos and other visual content that shows your app in action, while placing the best screenshots and videos at the beginning of the showreel. You can also add a link to a YouTube video of your app.
- A high-res icon will be shown next to your app’s name in Google Play Store and on your users’ devices when they download it.
- Translated versions of your app in other languages.
- A relevant category and type you would like your app to be placed in.
- Your contact details such as email, phone number and a website so that users can contact you.
All this information y will help create a clear picture of the app in potential users’ minds, to ultimately help them decide whether or not to download the app.
Step #6: Add An App Content Rating
If you don’t give an appropriate rating to your app, there is a possibility it will be removed from the Google Play Store.
To do this, select the app in the Play Console and click “Store Presence” from the menu.
Then, choose among the app ratings available.
An accurate app content rating will help attract a relevant audience to your app.
On the other hand, a false rating will misguide users and, as a result, your app may get suspended or even removed entirely from the store.
Step #7: Choose A Pricing And Distribution Model
At this step, you get to choose whether your app will be paid or free.
You can switch from a paid app to a free app at any point down the road, but you can’t switch in the other direction, which is why it is important to have your pricing model ready before you reach this point.
This stage will also allow you to choose the countries in which you want your app to be available.
Step #8: Review, Release And Publish Your App
Before hitting the “Publish Your App” button, you can go back to each previous step to review and make sure you’ve completed them all correctly.
The store listing, content rating, pricing and distribution sections all need to have a green checkmark next to them.
After filling out those details, select the app and go to Release management - app releases. Click “edit release” next to the desired app and review it.
After that, you can click “Review” to go to the Review and rollout release screen. Here you will be able to see if there are any warnings that you may have missed.
Clicking “Confirm rollout” will publish the app to all users in target countries on Google Play Store.
How To Publish An App On App Store In 7 Steps
Submitting an app for iOS users to download is a different process compared to the Google Play procedure above.
Here is a full seven-step outline that covers all aspects of publishing an app on App Store:
Step #1: Create An iOS Distribution Provisioning Profile And Certificate
To distribute your app to beta testers or users through the App Store, you need a distribution provisioning profile and distribution certificate.
You can get these through Xcode, which will create and manage certificates, sign identities and register devices if automatic signing is enabled.
To do this:
- Add Developer Program account for Xcode, then, from the top menu, choose “Xcode” and then “Preferences.”
- After that, click on “Accounts” and press the “+” sign in the bottom left corner of the window and click “Add Apple ID.”
- On the next screen, enter the Apple ID and App Developer Program password you use, then click “Sign in.”
- Enable automatic signing from the Project Editor by choosing a target and selecting “General.”
- Locate the “Signing” section and click on the triangle icon to expand the settings.
- Click on the box to manage signings automatically.
- Xcode will automatically detect the new device and register it to the team’s provisioning profile. The device needs to be registered on the team’s provisioning profile in order to launch the app on the device.
Step #2: Make The App Store Connect Record
You can get your App Store Connect record in two ways:
- By creating your own App Store Connect organization and assuming the team agent role. You can sign in with the Apple ID you used to enroll in the Apple Developer Program.
- By being invited by an existing organization as a user with an Admin, Technical or App Manager role.
If you are submitting a paid app to the App Store, you will need to sign a contract covering the terms of payment first. Here’s how:
- Click “Agreements, Tax and Banking” on the App Store Connect dashboard.
- Click “Request” under “Request Contracts.”
- When the agreement appears, review it, check the box to agree to the terms and click “Submit.”
- Click “Set Up” in the Contact Info column under “Contracts in Process.”
- Click “Add New Contact” in the window that appears next and enter your info.
- In the “Bank Info” column under “Contracts in Process,” click “Set Up” and then click “Add Bank Account” to follow the directions to save your account info.
- In the “Tax Info” column, click “Set Up.” A U.S. Tax Form is mandatory, so fill out the required information. Set up any other country tax forms that may be necessary.
After you’ve completed the above, the contract’s status will now say “Processing.” After Apple has verified the info you provided, the contract will now appear under “Contracts In Effect.”
Step #3: Add Your New App
To add a new app to App Store, select “My Apps” under “App Store Connect” dashboard.
Click on the plus sign in the upper left corner. After that, click “New App.”
You will be asked to enter these details to create a new App Store Connect record:
- App name: use keywords to optimize for discovery
- Default language
- Bundle ID: must be an exact match of the Xcode project info.plist file’s bundle identifier
- SKU: an identifier to use internally that is not visible to users
Make sure you are entering these correctly because you can’t change them later.
Step #4: Upload Your App With Xcode
- Select “Generic iOS Device” in Xcode, as the deployment target.
- From the top menu, choose “Product” and click on “Archive.”
- This will launch the Xcode Organizer that displays any archives you have made earlier.
- You will need to make sure that the current build is selected. Click on “Upload to App Store” in the panel on the right-hand side.
- Select your credentials and click “Choose.”
- In the next window that appears, click on Upload in the bottom right-hand corner.
- A success message will appear when the upload has completed. Click Done.
Step #5: Configure The App’s Metadata
- On the “Pricing and Availability” page, set your app’s price tier or set it as free.
- Add configurations to any App Store technologies in your app under the “Features” tab.
- You will notice that your app has the status “Prepare for Submission” and has a yellow dot next to it.
- Select the building you want to configure and add the information for your App Store’s product page.
- Upload JPEG or PNG screenshots of your app. Click on “Save” in the upper right-hand corner once they’re done uploading.
- Scroll down and enter your app’s description, keywords, support URL and marketing URL. Don’t forget to optimize your description for discovery using keywords.
- Upload your app’s icon in the “General App Information”, enter its version number and copyright. The app’s icon dimensions should be 1024px x 1024px.
- Click on “Edit” next to “Rating” and select the applicable options for your app.
- Enter your contact info and any notes you may have for the reviewer under the “App Review Information.
- Click “Save” in the top right-hand corner.
Step #6: Submit Your App For Review
In the “Build” section of your app’s App Store Connect record, click “Select a build before you submit your app.”
Select the build you uploaded through Xcode and click “Done” in the bottom right-hand corner. Then click “Save” in the top-right corner, followed by “Submit for Review.”You will see that your app’s status is “Waiting for Review”.
Step #7: Check Your App’s Review Status
You can check your app’s review status in App Store Connect by selecting “Activity” in the top menu and then “App Store Versions” in the left-hand panel.
It usually takes about one to three working days to get the App Store’s approval. It can take up to 24 hours for the app to appear in the App Store after approval. At each stage, you will receive email notifications.
If your app gets rejected, you will need to make the necessary fixes before submitting it again for review.
You can communicate with Apple’s team through App Store Connect’s Resolution Center to escalate the issue or submit an appeal if you think your app was rejected without basis.
How Much Does It Cost To Publish An App In App Store?
When you enroll in the Apple Developer Program in order to submit an app, you need to pay the annual membership fee of $99 that will give you access to:
- Submit apps to the App Stores on all Apple platforms
- Create Safari extensions and list them in the extensions gallery
- Beta versions of Apple software
- Testing tools like TestFlight
- App analytics and advanced app capabilities
To keep your iOS apps in the App Store, you’ll need to renew your membership every year.
Takeaways On How To Submit Your App To App Store And Google Play
Submitting your app to Google Play has certain similarities to publishing it on App Store, but the processes also have a few distinct differences.
The one-time fee for publishing an app on Google Play is $25, while on App Store it’s $99 per year, and you need to renew your membership annually.
Your app also needs to adhere to specific Android and iOS guidelines and go through a review process that will either approve or decline the app, which is why it’s important to adhere to the step-by-step process.