While most of our customers prefer to have their branded app submission managed by Guidebook (full-service app submission), a common question is whether our clients can manage their own submissions. While we do enable a self-service option, it’s generally easier to add Guidebook to your developer account team—that way we’re able to manage all of the necessary credentials and app updates. Regardless of whether you choose to proceed with a self-service or full-service app submission, you must have a current, active Apple Developer membership.
Full-Service App Submission
If you would like to add Guidebook to your developer account so that we can manage the app submission process on your behalf, please reach out to our support team. We will require either Admin or App Manager (with developer resources) access to process a submission on your behalf.
Allowing us the ability to submit the application under your account allows us to update your application and create the necessary credentials to build and submit the app, in addition, to push notifications. You can add this user to your account as an Admin or by following the Setting Up an App Store Connect User section.
Please read through our article on Developer Accounts before getting started: Creating an Apple Developer Account.
Self Service Considerations
Should your organisation wish to submit your app to stores directly, please ensure that your IT department is familiar and comfortable with this process. We provide directions they will need to follow to re-sign your app before submitting to stores.
If another department in your organization is responsible for submitting your app to your organization’s developer account we recommend making sure that they have the relevant content to complete the submission process to avoid making unnecessary re-submissions.
Your team will be asked to enter the following information via your Developer Account when you submit your app for the first time if Guidebook is not managing this process on your behalf.
If your app is being re-submitted to implement changes to any of these aspects, you will need to make your colleagues aware as any alterations made to these in your App Dashboard in Builder will not reflect in your app automatically.
- App Name - This information will have been entered in Builder under App Management > App full name.
- Primary Language - If localized app information isn’t available in an App Store territory, the information from your primary language will be used instead.
- Category - The category that best describes this app.
App Previews and Screenshots - Screenshots must be in the JPG or PNG format, and in the RGB color space. You can create screenshots using the dimensions below or let the Guidebook team member know if you would like new screenshots shared with you and of which guide.
- 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. This field is optional.
- Keywords - One or more keywords that describe your app. Keywords make App Store search results more accurate. This information will have been entered in Builder under App Management > Keywords.
- Description - A description of your app, detailing features and functionality. It will also be used for your Apple Watch app.
This information will have been entered in Builder under App Management > Description
- Version info - What's New in this version? Let the Guidebook team member know if you would like further details to provide here if the difference is not content-related.
- Support URL - https://www.support.guidebook.com/
- Marketing URL - https://www.guidebook.com/
- App Store Icon - This icon will be used on the App Store. For apps built with Xcode 9 or later, add this icon in the build. For apps built with earlier versions of Xcode, add the icon here. This image should be 512 x 512 px.
This information will have been entered in Builder under App Management > App Images > App Icon
- Rating - Age 4+, Age 18+ , etc
- App Review Information - If your guide is public, this field is not required. If your guide is passphrase protected, provide this information. If your guide is invite-only, the Guidebook team will provide you with this information.
We would also recommend including the following: Please be sure to check out from the guide and delete any testing notes/comments in the guide.
- Notes - 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 and log-ins.
Please note, it can take up to two weeks for an app (or app update) to appear in stores after you submit your app, however, they will often go live within 3/4 business days.
Self Service App Submission
If you are submitting your branded application under your own developer account or through your own distribution system, you will need to sign the application files with your distribution certificates and create the certificates needed to allow us to send push notifications to your application. The iOS and Android applications have separate re-signing processes which are outlined below.
While there are typically developer resources available to handle the process of re-signing an application, this is not something that a mobile app developer will frequently run into and the information needed to accomplish this task is sparse throughout the web. The purpose of this document is to condense this information and walk a developer through the process of re-signing their Guidebook-built application file. It will walk you through how to re-sign the application for both Android and iOS including both the resources needed and steps you need to take from when you receive your branded application built by Guidebook to end up with the re-signed application file.
This document assumes that you are familiar with both the Apple Developer Portal and App Store Connect (formerly known as “iTunes Connect”), and are comfortable using the command line.
Re-signing an iOS App
- A macOS computer running Xcode 11.4.1 or above. This is a requirement from Apple in order to be able to work with iOS apps (including re-signing and uploading them via App Store Connect).
- Credentials to a registered Apple Developer Account (this account needs to be associated to the team that you will be submitting the app with). The account will also need to have access to your team’s Apple Developer Portal
- Your team’s Application Signing Certificate in your keychain: https://developer.apple.com/library/content/documentation/IDEs/Conceptual/AppDistributionGuide/MaintainingCertificates/MaintainingCertificates.html
- An Apple Certificate Signing Request File to create your app’s push certificate: https://developer.apple.com/library/content/documentation/IDEs/Conceptual/AppDistributionGuide/MaintainingCertificates/MaintainingCertificates.html
Create Your App ID
Each app that you submit has to be signed with a provisioning profile that originates from your account to verify the authenticity of the application being submitted. Because our apps utilize push notifications, you will need to create an explicit app ID. Instructions on how to do this can be found on this page. This application identifier also needs to be configured with push messages enabled for the production environment. You can input whatever name you would like for the application ID. However, please be sure to share your application ID with Guidebook so we can ensure all features function properly (i.e. push notifications).
Create Your Provisioning Profile
Once your app ID has been created, you’ll need to create a provisioning profile for that app ID (which is used to verify that you are uploading the application file to App Store Connect). Distributing on App Store Connect: If you’re going to distribute the app on App Store Connect, refer to the documentation for how to “Create an App Store provisioning profile”.
Distributing on your private app store / MDM system:
If you will be uploading your app to your own private app store or Mobile Device Management solution, please check the requirements for your system to create the provisioning profile needed for that solution.
Create Push Certificate
Our applications utilize push messaging. In order for our system to send push messages through the app, you will need to create a push certificate for the app and send it to the Guidebook team.
Navigate to the app ID that you created in the Apple Developer Portal. Click edit, and under Push Notifications select Create Certificate under Production SSL Certificate. Upload your Apple Certificate Signing Request File (CSRF) and download your certificate once it’s been created. Once you have this certificate, install it into Keychain Access by double-clicking the .cer file that you just downloaded from the Apple Developer Portal. Then, locate the certificate file in Keychain Access, right-click the file, select Export, enter in a password to use, select the .p12 file format, and click Save. Please send this .p12 file (and the password that you saved it with) to your point of contact at Guidebook so that we can register it in our system and enable push notifications for your app.
Re-Sign Your App
If you have a resigning tool that you are comfortable with, please feel free to use that to resign your app with the provisioning profile that you created previously for your app.
If you do not, we recommend using the re-signing command available through Fastlane. Once you install Fastlane, follow their documentation steps to re-sign your application.
Upload Your App
If you’re going to submit the application to App Store Connect, do the following:
- Follow the steps in this article to create your app listing in App Store Connect (if you have not already).
- Once that listing is created, use the “Application Loader” tool (which comes bundled with Xcode) to upload your app.
The information that you will need to complete your app submission or re-submission is outlined in the following article.
If you’re using a private store or MDM solution, follow the steps to distribute your app as recommended by your solution provider.
Once the app has been signed, you’ll find many helpful resources provided by Apple on their Developer site. If you would like to complete the app submission process on your end, the following articles are a good starting point:
You will need to share new certificates with us when they expire to continue to use push notifications on your app. You will be required to renew your membership to Apple's Developer Program annually.
Re-signing an Android App
- A keystore to sign your app with. If you do not already have a keystore file for signing your android applications, see the section “Build and sign your app from command line” in the Android Developers documentation.
- Android SDK build tools revision 24.0.3 or higher.
Re-Sign Your App
Run the following command to re-sign your application file:
apksigner sign --ks release.jks com.myguidebookapp.android.apk
where “release.jks” is your keystore file and “com.myguidebookapp.android.apk” is your Guidebook application file. This will re-sign your application that you can then upload to the Google Play store or the distribution source of your choice.
Enable Google Services
In order to enable access to Google Services (such as Google Maps), we will need the public SHA-1 fingerprint of your signing key. To obtain the SHA-1 fingerprint of your signing key, run the following command:
apksigner verify --print-certs /absolute/path/to/your/android/app.apk
where “/absolute/path/to/your/android/app.apk” is the absolute path to your re-signed application file. Once you have obtained the SHA-1 fingerprint for your app’s certificate, send this to your point of contact at Guidebook so that we can enable access to the Google Cloud Services that the app needs.