A conclusive guide for making your iOS App Store submission successful

9 mins read

The App Store is a platform where you can distribute iOS apps. It was developed by Apple and it’s the second-largest app store (after Google Play) with almost 1.96 million apps available. Whereas the exact number of apps may fluctuate as Apple regularly removes low-quality content from their stores, the number of applications has been steadily increasing over the years.

With a focus on bringing the best experience for the end-user, the store ensures every app has the highest standards that bring something new. It’s important to prepare an attractive and informative product page, complete with all important information. It’s a crucial part of the entire app development process.

Why is it important to have a good product page?

Along with the icon and the first two screenshots, the name contributes generously to the first impression as this is one of the first things your potential user learns about your app. On the product page, you provide detailed information about the app. This information will be visible to the App Store’s users. Here, you have the opportunity to encourage them to download your app by putting in well-crafted metadata.

The product page contains a few tabs — iOS App, General, and In-App Purchases. So, coming up next, we’ll cover the following topics, product name & product description, assets, pricing, privacy, review, and release, which will help you better understand how to submit your iOS product in the best way by following Apple’s App Store Guidelines.


Your discoverability chances grow once you give your app a good name. The title with the most relevant keywords included has the biggest impact on the App Store’s algorithm. According to Apple’s recommendations, the app name should:

  • Be simple, catchy, compelling, and easy-to-understand
  • Communicate the key purpose of your app
  • Be up to 30 characters long
  • Differ from competitors’ app names
  • Exclude generic terms, popular app titles, special characters (e.g. #, @), prices, as well as celebrity names, trademarked terms, and other protected words


Placed right below the title, a subtitle is a short phrase that brings additional information to your app. It complements the app name by communicating the purpose and value of your product in detail. To leverage your app name and subtitle, use relevant and descriptive keywords, and don’t include those already used in your title. The Apple App Store algorithm will only count them once. Here are the App Store requirements for the subtitle:

  • It should be compelling to encourage users to explore your product page and download your app
  • It should be limited to 30 characters
  • It shouldn’t include generic descriptions, for example, “world’s best app.” Title and subtitle together provide 60 characters for you to get through to your users. Focus on your distinctive features or typical uses
  • Subtitles have to comply with App Store’s standard metadata rules. Avoid misleading or false product claims or inappropriate content, and never exploit competitor’s apps by any means.


The first sentence (about 3 lines) of the description counts the most. So start with an attention-grabbing sentence that pitches users and sets out what the app is intended for, without having any references to another platform like Android, or Google, or that the product might be a beta, alpha, or test version, they should all be functional versions by then.

Following should be an informative, comprehensive yet engaging summary of your app’s functionality and main features. Use the allowed space — up to 4,000 characters — to explain how your app differs from competitors and why users should download it. Take into account the following Apple’s recommendations regarding the product page description:

  • Keep it concise, informative, and easy-to-understand
  • Stick to the tone of your brand
  • Avoid forbiden terms (beta, Android, test app, etc.), keep it simple
  • Avoid keyword stuffing, otherwise, your app won’t pass the review
  • Don’t mention prices: pricing is already disclosed on your product page and may also differ across the supported localizations
  • Let users know about your awards if any, but better do it at the end of the description


Images win the struggle with text for user attention. Screenshots are another visible product page element that contributes to your app’s impressions. App Store Connect requires uploading at least one app screenshot, while the upper limit is 10. Depending on the image orientation — portrait or landscape — the first 1–3 screenshots will be seen in search results. Therefore, Apple recommends using the first three image gallery visuals to convey the app’s purpose and value, while the rest of them may point out your distinctive features and complement the message.


Users see this element in App Store search results, even before they find themselves on the product page. The visibility of an icon places extra importance on how it should look like. To be eligible for the App Store, icons have to meet the following specifications:

Promotional text

The promotional text goes before the app description and is limited to 170 characters. A huge advantage of this product page element is that it can be changed without having to upload an updated app version. Consequently, it’s a good place to share messages that are limited in time, such as sales, announcements of new features, events or content, and more.


For this part of the process, you’ll have to select your pricing and the territories it will be available, from the Pricing and Availability section. For pricing, even if your app is free, you have to input a start and end date. If you don’t plan on changing the price anytime soon, then you can select no end date. You’re also able to schedule a price change.

For territories, you can select “All Territories” if you want your app to be available for download worldwide, however, some might recommend starting with a few places then expand later, so you can test how your app does on a small market, then you can expand.

It might be common knowledge to developers that Apple only permits developers to sell apps at certain price points.Apple permits developers to choose from 94 price tiers, which range from US$0.99 to US$999.99. Developers pick one price tier, which applies to every country that their app is distributed in. So, before you submit your app for review, you must set a price for your app, which will be used for all App Store territories. If you don’t have a Paid Applications agreement, you can only choose a free price.

What currency is used for a given App Store territory? You can refer to Exhibit C of your Paid Applications agreement to see the currency used by a specific App Store territory. You can select the territories where you want your app to be available on the App Store. By default, all countries or regions are selected, but you can deselect territories where you don’t want your app for sale. Your app will appear on the App Store in the updated or changed countries or regions within 24 hours. Now talking about Apple’s fees on your product. Apple's cut is between 15–30% (15%, for software developers with less than $1 million in annual net sales on their platform).


Apples guiding principle of the App Store is very simple, they want to provide a safe experience for users to get apps and offer a great opportunity for developers to have success. They do this by offering a highly curated App Store where every app is reviewed by experts and editors to help users discover new apps daily.

The App Store now helps users better understand an app’s privacy practices before they download the app on any Apple platform. On each app’s page, users can learn about some of the data types the app may collect, and whether that data is linked to them or used to track them. You need to provide information about your app’s privacy practices, including the practices of third-party partners whose code you integrate into your app, in App Store Connect.

They also strongly support all points of view being represented on the App Store, as long as they respect the guidelines. Any attempt to cheat the system, for example by trying to trick the review process, steal user data, copy another developer’s work, manipulate ratings, or App Store discovery, your app will be removed from the store, and you as a developer will be expelled from the Apple Developer Program.

You are responsible for making sure everything in your app complies with their guidelines, including ad networks, analytics services, and third-party SDKs. Apps should implement appropriate security measures to ensure proper handling of user information collected according to the Apple Developer Program License Agreement and their Guidelines, and prevent its unauthorized use, disclosure, or access by third parties.

Apple wants their user to feel confident that the app they download is safe and will not break their phones. That is why:

  • Users can choose whether or not to share data
  • Every week, Apple's experts review around 100k apps
  • There were over 150k app rejections last year for violating privacy guidelines and over 1M rejections for inadequate content
  • Every app has a page with detailed information, which an app owner must fill during the publishing process


For your app approval to go as smoothly as possible, you should review the most common missteps listed below, missteps that can slow down the review process or trigger a rejection. So make sure that you:

  • Test your app for crashes and bugs
  • Ensure that all app information and metadata is complete and accurate
  • Update your contact information in case App Review needs to reach you
  • Provide an active demo account and login information, plus any other hardware or resources that might be needed to review your app (e.g. login credentials or a sample QR code)
  • Enable backend services so that they’re live and accessible during the review
  • Include detailed explanations of non-obvious features and in-app purchases in the App Review notes, including supporting documentation where appropriate
  • Check whether your app follows the guidance in other documentation.

After submitting, your app will be on the waiting list for Apple’s certification and review team. You’ll just have to wait now. In the past, the review process took between 1 to 2 weeks, and then a couple of years ago, they said they would be working on improving the speed, so the review process was cut down to a few days, usually between 24 – 48 hours, but certainly not weeks. The process isn’t artificial, but human. They have real persons playing with your app so they can give subjective feedback.


Once the review process has finished successfully, you'll be able to publish the app (it takes between 24 - 48 hours to be available in the App Store). After the review process, the app can go directly to the store, or you can decide on what date you want it to be released. For existing apps that release a new update, phased releases allow you to distribute the update to the users over a period of 7 days. Phased releases don’t quite have the same flexibility as the Android staged rollouts but it is certainly much better than releases to potentially millions of users simultaneously.

If you opt for phased releases, App Store Connect will gradually release your new version to users who have opted into automatic updates over the period of 7 days. All users can still bypass this and go directly to the app store to download the new version if they chose. It ramps up as follows:

  • Day 1 - 1%
  • Day 2 - 2%
  • Day 3 - 5%
  • Day 4 - 10%
  • Day 5 - 20%
  • Day 6 - 50%
  • Day 7 - 100%

You can pause a release at any time for a total maximum paused time of 30 days. This is a cumulative number and doesn’t reset if you unpause and pause again. You can pull the app version from sale if there’s a critical problem you can’t fix, this will remove the app from the store though so it’s a last resort. You’re free to cancel the phased release at any time and release it to all users.

Even though the process may seem long and complicated at the beginning, with this article we hope we’ve shown you it’s not as hard as it seems. And if you still feel insecure about the whole process, don’t worry and contact us, because at Appssemble we’ve got it covered. We’ll ease the process because there’s already plenty of experience with apps launching in our background, so you don’t have to worry about it anymore.


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