5 Tools for Uploading iOS Apps to iTunes Connect
5 Tools for Uploading iOS Apps to iTunes Connect
These helpful tools will help simplify the series of complex tasks that developers must complete to upload their iOS apps to iTunes Connect.
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iOS applications don't go to iTunes Connect easily. It takes the blood, sweat, and tears of engineers with them. It involves various complex tasks before an app hits iTunes Connect. Surely, every iOS engineer must have felt that pain at least once in their lifetime. There are some underlying tools and technologies that Apple uses to upload your binary to iTunes connect, and these technologies are being used in multiple tools. I want to keep this post very short, as someone said that my posts are really long, so I will try to keep it short and sweet. In this post, we will what are the ways you can upload app binary to iTunes Connect.
1] Local Xcode
In the past, everybody did it using a local Xcode machine to archive the app and upload it to iTunes Connect. If you are lazy, then you might still be doing it this way. Ideally, all this archiving and uploading should happen from a continuous integration server. Anyway, Xcode is the very simple way to upload builds to iTunes Connect.
The Apple Developer portal has a step by step guide on how to do this, literally like feeding a baby. You can read it here.
2] Application Loader
Application Loader is another tool that comes with Xcode. We can access the Application Loader from Xcode > Open Developer Tool > Application Loader. You have to log into the Application Loader tool with your Apple ID.
Again, Apple has great step by step documentation on how to use the Application Loader here.
Command Line Tools
Fastlane became a very popular tool for Continuous Delivery of iOS applications these days as it wrapped all the complex Apple Developer tools under the hood. Fastlane has subtool called Deliver, which is used to upload iOS apps to iTunes Connect. With Deliver, you can send iOS apps to iTunes Connect or even submit them to the App Store using the following configuration in the
Fastfile, which is a config file for Fastlane.
deliver( submit_for_review: true, force: true, metadata_path: "./metadata" )
Also, there are various other options that you can add, which can found here.
Note that Fastlane Deliver uses the iTMSTransporter tool (which we will look in the after this) under the hood to upload apps to iTunes Connect.
An iTMSTransporter stands for iTunes Music Store Transporter, which is Apple's weird Java-based command-line tool to upload app binaries, upload screenshots, update app metadata, manage app pricing, manage in-app purchases, etc. This utility comes with Xcode so there's no need to install it explicitly as long as you have Xcode. The binary can be found here:
$ /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Applications/Application\ Loader.app/Contents/itms/bin/iTMSTransporter
You can add above to your
$PATH so that, you can use the
ITMSTransporter directly. If you take a look at the -help them you will see different options but we will care about mode option that is -m and we can pass different things to it.
-m <arg> The -m option specifies the tool's mode. The valid values are: verify, upload, provider, diagnostic, lookupMetadata, lookupArtist, status, statusAll, createMetadataTicket, queryTickets, generateSchema, transferTest, downloadMetadataGuides, iTunesExtraQCDownload, iTunesLPQCDownload, listReports, requestReport
There will be a separate post to dive deep into this tool later, but it's a three-step process:
- Download the
.itmspfile stub package of an app using the
- Verify the contents of the app package using the
- Finally, upload the app package to iTunes Connect using the
There is a Ruby-based wrapper available on GitHub if you like Ruby.
Again, there is very detailed documentation on Transporter on the Apple website here.
altool is the command line interface for the Application Loader. We don't need to install this utility explicitly; it comes up with the latest Xcode. You can find the binary at this path:
$ /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Applications/Application\ Loader.app/Contents/Frameworks/ITunesSoftwareService.framework/Support/altool
Again, you might need to add this to your
$PATH so that you can use
altool from anywhere. This is a very simple to use tool. If you have the
IPA of your app, then you are just one command away from uploading your app to iTunes Connect.
$ altool --upload-app -f "path/to/file.ipa" -u %USERNAME% -p %PASSWORD%
You can also verify the app before uploading using the
--validate-app option. This can be used on any Continuous Integration server. There is nice little bash script to use
altool on GitHub here.
Apple has brief documentation of altool here.
iOS developers should know native GUI and Command Line tools for uploading apps' binary to iTunes Connect. This will help to script all the infrastructure as code and enable them to use the Continuous Integration server. Let me know how you are uploading your iOS apps to iTunes Connect. Share your experiences in the comments below.
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