10 Mistakes to Avoid When Submitting your First iPhone App

by Ivan on March 13, 2011

If creating iPhone apps is part of your online business plans, or if you plan to create iPhone apps for the iPhone, iPad, or iTouch, then understanding how to submit your app will save you a lot of hassle and ensure that your app get into the marketplace as soon as possible.


10 Mistakes to Avoid When Submitting your First iPhone App

I’ve just been through the process of submitting an iPhone app to the iTunes store. It wasn’t that difficult but the next time it will be faster. Here are a few things I learnt.

  1. Release Date – understand how Apple reviews iPhone App and learn what the terminology means when you’re submitting an app. For example, when Apples you that the app is being reviewed, this usually means it will be approx 8-15 days for the review to be completed. Once this is completed, then it’s scheduled for release.
  1. Updates – when you want to update an app, for example, you’ve added new screenshots or changed the pricing structure, you need to submit an update. This process should not take very long, especially if you have a track record (i.e. are in good standing account wise with Apple) and allow you to get the revised app online. But… double-check that the app has been updated and that the new features, text or prices are updated correctly on the iTunes store.
  1. Resubmitting an App – let’s say you want to change or add a new feature. This means Apple will have to test the app again. It does this to ensure its customers are getting a quality, working product and the only way to check that it works it to test it.
  1. Quality – Apple usually tests the app for the first 5 minutes max. After all, it has 1000s of apps to test every day so it can’t test all aspects of your app. What it looks for most is whether your app will crash the iPhone or iPad. Every time your app needs to be retested it goes to the back of the waiting list. So, make sure it works the first time you submit or you will have to go through the whole process again.
  1. Tags – You can add tags (aka keywords) when submitting your app. Should you add a few or hundreds? What works best for me is to select five keywords (ie the same keywords you use in your SEO, marketing, PPC and advertising) rather than taking a ‘long tail’ approach.
  1. Description – Look at how the best-sellers write this text for their apps and adapt their copy. Don’t copy and paste what you have on your website or blog. Refine the description so that it works for the iTunes store. If necessary, hire a copywriter (see oDesk) and get them to do the text. Don’t be ‘penny wise and pound foolish’.
  1. Forms For Overseas Developers – Non-US Developers must submit a “Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding” form (W-8BEN).
  1. Forms for Australian Developers – Upload their ABN and GST certificates in iTunes Connect.
  1. Selling Apps for Japan – Developers living outside of Japan, must submit a Japanese tax treaty form if you want to sell your apps in Japan.
  1. Connecting with Marketing Plans – Until you know how the app submission process works, you need to be careful when committing to dates on your marketing plan. In other words, if you’re expecting the app to be live on March 1 – to link into a PPC or Adwords campaign – then work backwards and submit the app in early Feb.

How the iPhone App Submission Works

With this in mind, here are the steps you need to complete to develop, test, and submit your iPhone app.

  1. Learning how to program with Xcode. This is the software programming language for the iPhone, iPad, iTouch.
  2. Apply for the Standard Program $99. It takes 5 days approx to be approved. You have to pay this fee is you want to submit your app to the iTunes store.
  3. Develop your app or get it outsourced. I’d recommend to get it outsourced so you can concentrate on other marketing activities.
  4. Design the icon and write the descriptions text for the app store.
  5. Set up provisioning profile for Ad Hoc distribution and testing.
  6. Prepare files for submission. This includes screenshots, support website details etc. This took me the most time.
  7. Complete tax info, contact and bank details so you get paid.
  8. Submit the app and wait!

Next Steps

One of the mistakes most everyone makes with their first app is expecting it to be quicker or getting frustrated when Applerequest that you re-test the app. The more you understand the submission and review cycle, the more you can align with marketing activities and ensure that your campaigns kick in at the right time. It will also save you the hassle of explaining to your manager, partners, or customers why there is a delay.

One last suggestion is to note what errors or issues caused Apple to reject or query your app. Capture these points and refer to them the next time you submit your app.

Have you submitted an app to iTunes store? What happened?

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Ivan Walsh, Internet Business ExpertAbout Ivan Walsh Got a question about running an online business? Contact me on Google Plus, @IvanWalsh, and Facebook

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John Paul March 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Plan to get a IPhone and Anroid app up in few mnths,, this is very helpful Ivan.

Ivan Walsh March 14, 2011 at 9:42 am

We’ve got a great team in place in China now so let me know if you ever need any help. These guys are pretty good :)

John Paul March 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Have a new site coming out.. plan to do an app for that.. and possibly one for my blog… will see,, prices can get a lil crazy for aps haha

Ivan Walsh March 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm

They sure do!

The guys in Beijing are mentoring me at this point as we worked with them in the PRC and they’re in the inner circle re apple dev work. Some of the apps they have in dev are jaw-dropping. Need to catch up before I get left behind :)

BobSkeldon March 22, 2011 at 6:24 am

Hi Ivan

Thanks for the info, very helpful. I will be submitting a Japanese app to the Japan store soon. Where can I find a description of the process? Thanks

Ivan Walsh March 22, 2011 at 10:12 am

Thanks Bob,

Not sure if the process is different for the Japan store but when you log into developer.apple.com/iphone, there’s a link to iTunes Connect on the right. Once you’re logged into iTunes Connect, click on “Manage Your Applications”, then “Add New Application”.

Does that work?

Ivan Walsh March 22, 2011 at 10:12 am

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