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App developers who build apps for Apple’s iOS and iPadOS need to code-sign their applications before publishing them on the App Store. Code signing is the process of validating the identity of app developers or publishers to affirm that the code is coming from a genuine source.
Code signing for Apple devices is a little different than for other platforms. While apps for other platforms are validated by third-party Certificate Authorities (CA) like Sectigo or Comodo, here, Apple acts as a CA to validate the developer’s identity.
In this article, we will explore the code signing process for iOS and iPadOS applications and what things to keep in mind while code signing. But before we get into that, let’s understand why you should sign your iOS apps and what are the prerequisites for doing so.
The first and simplest reason is that Apple requires it from everyone. The Cupertino giant has made it mandatory for developers to code sign their apps before they can publish them on the Apple App Store.
Another reason for code signing your iOS apps is it makes users feel safe when using your apps. The Apple team requires each developer to go through an extensive validation and authorization process before they can publish their apps. This ensures that only trusted developers can publish their apps and no code modifications can be done after signing.
Further, code signing your apps also makes sure that nothing changes after the developers sign their apps. In a nutshell, code signing your iOS and iPadOS apps make them safe for users.
The first and foremost requirement is you need to have a macOS device and prepare it for the code signing of your applications. First, you need to install Xcode and then PowerShell on your macOS. Then enroll for the Apple Developer Program membership to generate a code signing certificate for iOS apps.
This is a paid membership and can cost you around $99/year to access the Apple developer ecosystem. This membership enables you to generate three different types of certificates: Development, Distribution, and Enterprise certificate.
Since you want to publish apps on the App Store, you’ll need a distribution certificate. If you want to distribute apps within your enterprise, you’ll need to sign up for Apple Enterprise Developer Program. In any case, let’s see how you can create an App ID for code signing:
Follow the below process to generate the App ID for code signing your iOS and iPadOS apps:
Obtaining a code signing certificate process for iOS and iPadOS devices starts with generating a new signing request. Let’s see how you can do so:
To generate a CSR, you’ll need to:
On the next page, you’ll be asked to fill out the Certificate Information as described below:
Follow the steps provided below to generate a code signing certificate for app distribution:
An iOS Provisioning Profile is required for developers when they want to publish an app to the Apple App Store. Here’s how you can create one:
Now that all the steps for code signing certificate generation are complete, let’s get to the certificate installation and app publishing process.
First step is to configure your Xcode for code signing. Here’s how you can do so:
App Profile is necessary for uploading your app from Xcode to Apple App Store.
You can upload the .ipa app file to App Store Connect using the Xcode once the above steps are complete. Here’s the process to do so:
Congrats! Your app is now successfully uploaded on the App Store Connect. Let’s see the last step of app publishing.
Here are the steps to publish your code signed app on Apple App Store:
We hope that you have found this iOS app code signing guide helpful to get started with your app publishing process. Remember that obtaining a code signing certificate to upload your app on the App Store Connect portal is mandatory.
Code signing your iOS and iPadOS apps ensure that the piece of code has not been modified since signed. Also, it makes sure that the app is coming from a specific source that is a trusted developer and determines the trustworthiness of the code.
The iOS app signing process is simple as described above. However, if you still need help, SignMyCode.com has a team of code signing experts to help you with your iOS app code signing. Contact us to consult with our code signing experts for all your iOS app code signing needs.