The Apple iOS mobile platform is the most scrutinized operating system that helps develop high end applications. Although, the learning curve for iOS app development is quite steep, but by following the noteworthy guidelines, one can efficiently create a desired application. Once an app has been developed, the biggest stumbling block is releasing the app in the market. Here I’m not talking about the basic rules of iOS Human Interface or about the Apple App Store review process. But, it is the code signing process for distributing the app that acts as the major hurdle.
Code Signing: A Foreword
Once an app is code signed, it is assured that the app has been developed by an authentic developer and hasn’t been updated, since it was last signed. It basically adds to an app security. This signing over an Apple certificate is imperative, and if you want to reap the benefits of the services, you will need to install the app on a real iOS device to augment the development and testing process and submit the app to the App Store.
There are several benefits of getting your app code signed. Let’s have a look into them.
1. One of the major advantage of code signing an app is that it allows the system to identify if any change has been made to the app. Moreover, it also determines whether it has occurred due to some malicious code or it is caused accidentally. It, thus, boost the app security.
2. Since, it restricts the spreading of malware, the tech giants Google and Apple reap its benefits to maintain the credibility of their quality applications in the market. They can accomplish this by only allowing their users to install apps that are code signed.
3. Users admire the code signing process, as once the latest code signed app has been installed, they can ignore all the alerts associated to the app. If the latest version of the app will possess the same digital signature, the system will treat it in the same way as it used to be with the previous version.
Getting an iOS app into iOS devices
There is no doubt that Apple is quite serious about its application’s quality and for this reason, it reviews every app before releasing it publicly in the App Store. This is why, it embraces a few ground rules that every iOS developer has to follow in order to release their apps in the Apple App Store.
The iOS developers can use the Xcode for free. However, in order to deploy the code and reap the benefits of other proficient development tools, one has to pay a minimal amount of $99 and create an Apple Developer Account. Once, this account will get activated and enrollment in the Apple Developers Program is done, developers can deploy their code on real iOS devices and test its functionalities.
There are numerous ways to leverage iOS app development with the utile services offered by Apple.
- Improvised Approach: With this method, you will be able to register yourself for as many as 100 devices. This membership needs an Apple Developer Account and will sustain for a year only (however, it is renewable). It demands a unique device identifier (UDID) for each device. You can connect each device with your Mac and deploy the source code straight from the Xcode.
- TestFlight Service: This service is only available for a few days now, Apple will soon shut down this feature. It basically allows developers to share their apps with the registered devices via an email. The new improved version of TestFlight is nowadays promoted by Apple as TestFlight Beta Testing. This service will allow developers to handle their app testing process and beta testing with a greater precision. With this forthcoming service, the developers won’t need to maintain the UDID for each device. Moreover, they will be able to conveniently share the early releases of their apps with up to 1000 registered devices.
- Releasing on Apple App Store: Indubitably, every iOS developer strives to deliver their app on the authentic Apple store, that is, Apple App Store. Since, it allows developers to conveniently reach their audiences, it is a worthy step. However, it demands developers to go through several intricacies of generating an Apple ID, Distribution Certificate, Team ID and a lot more via the Apple Developer Account. Furthermore, they will also have to create an account with iTunes Connect and get themselves registered for an available app record. After doing all these, developers can successfully submit their apps for review and if Apple reverts with positive review, only then developers can submit app to the App Store.
This guide offers a resourceful insight into Code Signing an iOS app and releasing it on the App Store. It is advisable to go through the aforementioned guidelines and accomplish your app distribution process while ensuring its security and optimal usability.