Apple’s App store takes some time to decipher.
When I created my apple developer account I thought it was going to be a breeze to use – just like all of Apple’s products. I was mistaken and it took an embarrassingly long time to demystify Apple’s ‘iTunes Connect’ portal, learn what the hell a provisioning profile was and how to use it and to get a handle on Xcode. In the next several posts I am going to try to outline what I’ve learned from going through the process. But, please, remember that I am NOT a programmer – I’m just a guy with some ideas for Apps that I would like to have. So, I welcome comments and corrections to anything that I say here, just keep it simple for stupid here. After all, Apple does have help if you can find the right document and understand what it says – and I can’t always say that’s easy.
So, here’s my big-picture view of Apple’s process:
1. Most importantly, always remember that Apple is not trying to make things hard, they just want to maintain control over something that can get chaotic very easily.
2. You need to be a registered developer. Go to
to join the development program (this one is for iOS devices, there’s a separate one for mac). At $99 / year this is not a horrible expense. You can join as either a single developer or as a company. Since you have to be a legit company to submit apps, you might as well join as a company so you can have several people access the account and use it together (assuming things go your way and this ever becomes a possibility)
3. Download XCode. Whatever the newest version is. Be sure you have good bandwidth and can hang out in one place for a while – I don’t have internet as home because I apparently live in 1986 – I mean, Kansas. I think it took three hours in a cafe to get the whole thing downloaded. Download Xcode even if you’re not the programmer. I’m not one, but you’ll soon realize that you have to be at least somewhat engaged in the programming aspect just to launch things even if you never code a bit.
4. Have a basic understanding of provisioning. This is what took me the longest. I didn’t understand it or know what it was for or anything. Here’s the basics:
Remember what I said about Apple controlling everything? This is one way they do that.
iPhone apps can’t just be loaded onto your device directly. Everything goes through iTunes (Apple’s UberProgram). If you’re buying an app you go through the Apple App Store and the new app shows up in iTunes where you can just checkmark it if it is to go on your phone or uncheck it if it doesn’t – you know that already.
So, if you write an app yourself (Hello World, whatever) and want it on your device, you need Apple’s permission to circumvent their system. This permission comes in the form of a Provisioning Profile. You apply for one of these through the developer portal (apple walks you through the process pretty well here: https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#recipes/ProvisioningPortal_Recipes/_index.html).
But what is it? How do you use it? Basically, this is a ‘permission slip’ that you integrate into your app (Xcode calls this ‘Code Signing’) and install the same ‘permission slip’ into iTunes. Any iTunes account that has this permission slip can install apps that have the same permission integrated in them. The nice thing is that you just need to drag and drop this file twice. First, into Xcode – then you can select it from within a drop down menu in your XCode file and it gets built in when you ‘build’ your code. On the other side, you drag and drop the file into iTunes and it will now allow any app containing this permission to be installed onto your device without going through the whole App Store Process.
It takes a bit to do all this, but once you understand that it’s just a way to match apps you make to your device and remember that it’s just Apple making sure that it remains in control, then it’s not so difficult.