Gathering all the requirements needed for publishing an app can feel overwhelming. Trust me: it can feel like a lot, but we’ve got you!
We’re here for every stage of your app development journey, and of course, you’re here today to understand how to get your app into the world. After all, that’s why you were working so hard!
Today, we’ll focus on adding your app to the Google PlayStore and Apple App Store. We’ll look at what goes into the publishing process, such as how to publish an app to the App Store and how to publish app on Google Play. Finally, we’ll dive into what hurdles most developers face and how Thunkable has made the publishing process easy enough for anyone to do it!
But first, let’s lay down the foundation for what you’ll need to know to publish a downloadable app to the marketplace.
If you feel you have a good handle on what goes into publishing an app and want to get straight to the solutions, feel free to skip the next session. (You go, Glen Coco!)
How To Get An App Into the Marketplace for Android & iOS Apps
Android or iOS? How about both?
That is where most app developers start before even creating their app, and it will be another question they must answer before publishing. The Google Play Store holds apps built for Android devices, while Apple’s App Store contains apps for iOS devices. Publishing an app on Android and iOS platforms typically involves following specific requirements.
Let’s do a quick summary of what you need to do for each.
Publishing for Android Devices
For Android-based apps, developers need to go through a two-step process: prepare for the release and then release the app. Both steps require their own multi-step process that you can comb through, but here’s the short version of it.
Preparing for the release involves:
- Get a Google Play Developer Account. In order to secure a Developer account, you’ll need to pay a $25 one-time fee. This fee is required for all app developers.
- Fully configuring your app. You must create a release-ready package your audience can install and access on their Android devices. Part of this process involves determining your app’s version information so you can keep track of version releases and updates. (Publishing doesn’t mean done; you will have lots of versions in the future).
- Thoroughly testing your app. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you, as the app developer, are required to test the release version of your app on an Android tablet device and a handheld device. Nothing is worse than releasing your app to a mass audience to find out the user experience is vastly different on various devices.
- Aligning all servers and app-dependent resources. This is where you want to securely prepare anything your app depends on, like external servers, multimedia files, or graphics. Ensure you have this double-checked before going live.
Now you are ready to submit your app for review and publishing. Here is what you need to provide and what you can expect for publishing:
- Gathering marketing & branding materials. Ensure you have the app name, icon, description, screenshots, and any promotional materials to make your app stand out. Let your inner marketer shine, and if you need a little help, we’ve got you!
- Publishing your app. After configuring your app and ensure you comply with the Google Play Store’s policies, including its guidelines related to the app’s content, security, and app’s quality.
- Passing the Google Play review process. After your app gets approved by the Google Play reviewers, your app will be available to the masses. Anyone can now download and use your app. Woo!
- App Store Optimization. To rise up the charts and get the most users possible, you should focus on App Store Optimization (ASO). This is a marketing practice to ensure you are using the right keywords, tags, and branding to help potential users find your app.
We’re halfway through! (Feeling like the tired Spongebob meme? No? Good!) Let’s get into the iOS device publishing process.
Publishing to iOS Devices
The publishing process to the Apple App Store for iOS devices is a little more involved due to Apple’s strict requirements. Cross your T’s and dot your I’s on the App Store process or your app might get rejected. Let’s break it down so you get a quick glimpse of the process.
Prepare for the release by doing the following:
- Create an App Developer account. If you don’t yet have an App Developer account, you need to sign up and confirm your Apple ID. Apple guides you through the steps whether you are signing up as an individual or as an organization.
- Pay the developer fee. You will need to pay a fee of $99 per year to have your app on the App Store. While significantly more than Google Play’s one-time fee, this annual charge will not change no matter how many apps you have in the App Store. If you are a business and want to publish an app solely for your internal company, you have a couple more steps to consider.
- Test, test, and test again. Make sure to thoroughly test your app before the review process. The app store takes its submission process very seriously (we’ll get to that next) and you need to ensure you’re following the required device capabilities during the testing phase.
- Prepare for the review process. Make sure you’re following the App Store Review Guidelines for the five categories of safety, performance, business, design, and legal to ensure your app review does not get delayed. Apple states, “On average, 90% of submissions are reviewed in less than 24 hours,” but this could be delayed if your submission is incomplete or has issues.
You’ve made it to the submission phase! Now what?
Make sure to do the following:
- Create your product page. This is where you’re able to add your app’s name, icon images, screenshots (here are the exact specifications per device), and app description. You can even promote your in-app purchases in this step. (For tips on monetizing your app, check out our blog series!)
- Submit your app with Xcode via Apple machine. Unlike Android app submissions, you need to submit your app with an Apple device. According to the App Store, “Starting April 2023, all iOS and iPadOS apps submitted to the App Store must be built with Xcode 14.1 and the iOS 16.1 SDK.” A key benefit of Thunkable is that you don’t need an Apple Mac machine to publish an app. You can do it from any OS type with Thunkable.
- App Store Optimization. Yes, ASO again. Apple and Google run their rankings and searchability quite differently. You’ll want to optimize your app on the Apple AppStore for this marketplace.
Once you have all that, you’re free to submit your iOS app!
Both Android and iOS app publishing processes involve registering as a developer, paying any necessary fees, providing app metadata and screenshots, and going through the app review process before the app becomes available to users on the respective app stores.
A lot, right? App developers must account for many factors while building an app that isn’t limited to just app design and functionality.
Some common challenges are:
- Adhering to strict app store guidelines and approval processes, which can be complex and time consuming.
- Navigating platform fragmentation, including developing and testing apps across multiple devices, iOS versions, and platforms.
- Deciding how to get your app discovered, if required to choose between publishing to the App Store or Google Play Store.
- Ensuring app performance, security, and privacy, and addressing user reviews and feedback promptly to maintain the latest app requirement updates.
Your time should be focused on getting your app into the hands of your audience. It shouldn’t be spent figuring out how to publish your app to each marketplace.
That’s where Thunkable comes in. Our platform removes the barriers that often prevent an app’s advancement. While other developers are trying to figure out how to get their app on the store, you’ll already have a published app, received feedback, and started working on making it better than version one!
Let’s look at how you can wiz through the publishing process and reach a wider audience with Thunkable.
1. Thunkable’s Publishing Wizard: Simplifying iOS and Android Development
With Thunkable's publishing wizard, you can easily publish your app to both iOS and Android platforms from a single project without needing different coding languages or device-specific machines. For iOS apps, developers need a Mac machine in order to publish their app to the Apple App Store. Our publishing wizard eliminates this requirement by allowing developers to publish their app straight from the platform regardless of the device it was built on.
Additionally, the platform takes care of screen compatibility, ensuring your app's user interface (UI) looks great on different devices. You can rest assured that your UI is responsive and adaptable, making it easy to create apps that are visually appealing on various mobile devices. This saves you time and effort in the app development process, allowing you to focus on creating an amazing app with competitive features.
By leveraging Thunkable's publishing wizard, you can confidently publish your app to both the Google Play Store and App Store, reaching a wider audience and maximizing your app's potential.
2. Solving Platform Fragmentation: Overcoming Testing Challenges with Thunkable’s Live Test
We’ve heard from several app developers about the frustrations of designing a user experience for all the possible phone features and sizes. The fragmentation between iOS and Android devices can pose challenges for app developers as well as the time it takes to test your app.
Developing and testing apps across multiple platforms, devices, and OS versions can be time consuming and resource intensive, requiring thorough testing and optimization. For example, if a simple change is made on the app like the placement of a button or the addition of a graphic, the developer has to download the code, install it on their device, then test that on TestFlight or a simulator. For every small change made, you’ll have to repeat this process and wait for the app to render with the new change, this can be very tedious.
Thunkable addresses these pain points of platform fragmentation and cumbersome testing by providing a unified app development environment for both iOS and Android platforms. Our Live Testing capabilities allow you to see your app changes instantly. Rather than waiting to see if your latest change is rendered properly, our Live Test allows you to test on any device and see updates instantly. Additionally, the Thunkable platform takes care of screen compatibility for widely used devices. Our platform offers responsive design options that automatically adapt the app's layout to different screen sizes, such as mobile devices or tablets.
Thunkable’s drag and drop app builder empowers developers to create mobile software with confidence. Developers can rest assured their apps are thoroughly tested for different platform fragmentation factors, and the platform is powerful enough to streamline the app development process from the building stage all the way to publishing.
3. Faster App Development: Removing Time Consuming Marketplace Updates and Maintenance
As we mentioned in the sections about preparing your app for submission to both Google Play Store and the App Store, as an app developer, you need to ensure your app is up to date on the latest requirements as long as your app is available on these platforms — not just when you publish.
Publishing an app is only the beginning. As an app developer, you have to be prepared to release a compliant version of your app every time requirements, or changes are needed. Google and Apple update their store requirements often.
Apple is constantly trying to ensure its App Store has the best apps on the market, so they have implemented an ongoing process of reviewing apps. Their efforts are to improve apps being discovered, ensure the privacy and security of users, and conform to releases of new mobile devices for screen compatibility.
To help developers reduce their time spent on maintenance and mangement, Thunkable takes care of the Google and Apple update requirements. Once your app is published through Thunkable’s drag and drop app builder, all you have to do is republish it everytime requirements change, or updates are required. Your app will be compliant with the marketplace store requirements. We take care of everything on the backend so you can focus on making the best app for your users.
Thunkable empowers developers to create apps that require minimal ongoing maintenance, allowing them to focus on improving the user experience and adding new features to their apps.
Alleviate Publishing Pains with Thunkable
App publishing can be a complex and challenging process, involving various pain points such as platform fragmentation, ongoing updates, maintenance, and testing. However, Thunkable, the best no code app builder, offers a game-changing solution that simplifies the app publishing process. With its user-friendly drag and drop app builder interface, real-time editing capabilities, and robust testing environment, the Thunkable platform streamlines no code mobile app publishing for both iOS and Android platforms.
Unlike other no code mobile app development platforms, Thunkable makes mobile app development and publishing a breeze.
Are you ready to release your mobile app to the world with ease and efficiency? Get started with Thunkable today!
Ready to take your first steps towards developing that amazing idea? Get started on your app for free.