App Store Connect

How to deploy a Flutter app to App Store and TestFlight using the Flutter workflow editor

Codemagic enables you to automatically publish your app to App Store Connect for beta testing with TestFlight or distributing the app to users via App Store. To do so, you must first set up iOS code signing using a distribution code signing certificate and then configure publishing to App Store Connect.

This guide only applies to workflows configured with the Flutter workflow editor. If your workflow is configured with codemagic.yaml please go to Publishing to App Store Connect using codemagic.yaml.

Requirements

Codemagic needs your App Store Connect API key to perform publishing to App Store Connect on your behalf. Publishing to App Store Connect requires that the app is code signed with a distribution certificate.

In addition, the application must be App Store ready for build distribution, meaning that it must have all the correct icons and icon sizes. Otherwise, App Store Connect will tag the binary as invalid, and you will not be able to distribute it at all.

It is also worth pointing out the necessity for each uploaded binary to have a different version; otherwise, it will be refused by App Store Connect. See the Build versioning article for instructions on incrementing app version with Codemagic.

Please note that you will need to create an app record in App Store Connect before you can automate publishing with Codemagic. It is recommended to upload the very first version of the app manually.

Setting up publishing to App Store Connect on Codemagic

This section gives step-by-step instructions on how to configure publishing to App Store Connect using Flutter workflow editor.

Step 1. Creating an App Store API key for Codemagic

You may also reuse any of the keys you’ve already set up for automatic iOS or macOS code signing.

It is recommended to create a dedicated App Store Connect API key for Codemagic in App Store Connect. To do so:

  1. Log in to App Store Connect and navigate to Users and Access > Keys.
  2. Click on the + sign to generate a new API key.
  3. Enter the name for the key and select an access level. For App Store Connect publishing, the key needs to have App Manager permissions. Read more about Apple Developer Program role permissions here.
  4. Click Generate.
  5. As soon as the key is generated, you can see it added to the active keys list. Click Download API Key to save the private key for later. Note that the key can only be downloaded once.
Take note of the Issuer ID above the table of active keys and the Key ID of the generated key as these will be required when setting up the Apple Developer Portal integration in Codemagic UI.

Step 2. Connecting the Apple Developer Portal integration for your team/account

The Apple Developer Portal integration can be enabled in User settings > Integrations for personal projects and in Team settings > Team integrations for projects shared in the team (if you’re the team owner). This allows you to conveniently use the same access credentials for publishing across different apps and workflows.

  1. In the list of available integrations, click the Connect button for Developer Portal.
  2. In the App Store Connect API key name, provide a name for the key you are going to set up the integration with. This is for identifying the key in Codemagic.
  3. Enter the Issuer ID related to your Apple Developer account. You can find it above the table of active keys on the Keys tab of the Users and Access page.
  4. Enter the Key ID of the key to be used for code signing.
  5. In the API key field, upload the private API key downloaded from App Store Connect.
  6. Click Save to finish the setup.

If you work with multiple Apple Developer teams, you can add additional keys by clicking Add another key right after adding the first key and repeating the steps described above. You can delete existing keys or add new ones when you click Manage keys next to the Developer Portal integration in user or team settings.

3. Enabling App Store Connect publishing for workflow

Once the Apple Developer Portal has been enabled for the account or team the app belongs to, you can easily enable App Store Connect publishing per workflow.

  1. Navigate to App settings > Distribution.
  2. Click App Store Connect.
  3. If you have several keys available, select the right key in the App Store Connect API key field.
  4. Mark the Publish even if tests fail checkbox to continue uploading the app artifact even when the tests failed.
  5. Mark the Submit to TestFlight beta review checkbox to submit the build for beta review and prepare it for distributing to beta testers. Note: This action is performed during post-processing.
  6. Mark the Distribute to beta groups checkbox and enter the names of the beta groups to automatically distribute the build to the testers in those groups once the build has passed beta review. Note: This action is performed during post-processing.
  7. Select Enable App Store Connect publishing at the top of the section to enable publishing.

Once you have successfully set up publishing to App Store Connect, Codemagic will automatically distribute the app to App Store Connect every time you build the workflow. Note that you must manually submit the app to App Store in App Store Connect.

Submitting an app to App Store

To make your iOS app available to the public, it must be submitted for review in App Store Connect.

  1. Log in to App Store Connect.
  2. Navigate to My Apps and identify the app you would like to publish to App Store.
  3. To start the submission process, click Prepare for Submission.
  4. Check that your app metadata is up to date, and once everything is ready, click the Submit for Review button.

Submitting release notes

To add localized release notes that will appear in the Test Details (What to test?) section, include a release_notes.json with the following content:

[
    {
        "language": "en-GB",
        "text": "British English release notes text"
    },
    {
        "language": "en-US",
        "text": "The US English release notes text"
    }
]

Supported languages could be found here.

Note: Uploading release notes takes place in the post-processing step.

Post-processing of App Store Connect distribution

Some App Store Connect actions, like submitting the build to TestFlight beta review, disrtributing the build to beta groups and uploading release notes take place asynchronously in the post-processing step after the app artifact has been successfully published to App Store Connect and the main workflow has completed running in Codemagic. This avoids using the macOS build machine while we are waiting for Apple to complete processing the build and it becomes available for further actions.

Post-processing has a two-step timeout. If the uploaded build cannot be found in App Store Connect in 15 minutes, the step times out. This may happen if there are issues with the uploaded artifact, in which case the build does not become available in App Store Connect at all and you’ll receive an email from App Store Connect. The overall timeout for post-processing is 120 minutes. If the uploaded build has not exited the processing status by then, post-processing in cancelled. You will be still able to manually submit the build to beta review, upload release notes and distribute the app to beta groups once the build becomes available in App Store Connect.

Note that Codemagic does not send status updates on the post-processing step. You can check the build log for the status of post-processing or check your email for updates from App Store Connect.

Post-processing does not consume any build minutes.