What is a Distribution Provisioning Profile for iOS and how to Create it?

If you have done iPhone App Development then you must have came across the bit of the Developer Console called ‘Certificates, Identifiers and Profiles’. Now let’ discuss what these means so that you get some relief when you see the error, “No code signing identities” so many times and feel annoyed.

Why Distribution Provisioning Profile?

The important thing to remember is that unlike Android, you can’t install any old app on an iOS device. It has to be signed by Apple first. Also when you are developing an app, you must want to test it before sending it to Apple for Approval. Provisioning profiles are just a simple way for you to accomplish this. These are like a temporary visa or permission which lets you run and test your app on a physical device. It has some complexities which can be handled easily.

If you are an iOS Development Company then also you should get the distribution provisioning profile first as you will need to submit your app in the App Store after development for distribution and downloading by users.

The Components of Provisioning Profile.

Provisioning profiles always require the following components:-

A Certificate

A Unique app identifier or an App ID

Sometimes they also require a list of devices the app can run on.

The Certificate

This is a public/private key-pair, which identifies who developed the app. When you try to create a new certificate, you will be given several options. For provisioning profiles, the main are:-

iOS App Development – A Development Certificate.

These are for developers who want to test the app on a physical device while writing the code.

App Store and Ad-Hoc – A distribution certificate.

These are needed when you are ready to give the app to other people – first for testing and then for general distribution via App Store.

If you are working in any iOS Apps Development Services and you join an iOS development team then you are either a member or an Admin. Any developer or user can create development certificates but only those developers or people which have Admin privileges can create distribution certificates.

The App ID

This is a unique identifier for your app. Apple recommends using a ‘reverse-domain name style string’ of the form: com.yourcompanyname.yourappname.

The List of Devices

This is a list of devices. Although this is a little bit annoying process but you have to do it as you want to distribute your app to testers. These testers need to send you their device’s Unique Device Identifier or UDID for which they will need to connect their device to a computer.

Step by Step Process to get Provisioning Profile:-

Now lets discuss how to do these step by step. As we know if you want to distribute your app from the App Store then you need to create a Provisioning Profile in order to get it approved by Apple. But when you are in the development stages of building your app then it is best to first test it before sending it to Apple. These Provisioning profiles enable developers to do this by allowing them to run and test an app on a physical device. These provisioning profiles are downloaded first from your Apple Developer account and embedded within the app itself. Only some of the specified devices within the provisioning profile can be used for testing only by people whose iPhone Development Certificates are included in the profile. Let’s discuss how to create an iOS provisioning profile with Apple’s Developer program so that you can prepare your app for public release.

 Step 1:

Visit the https://developer.apple.com and click on Account. You should have an Apple Developer account to start it.

1.Now Click Log in, Then choose Select Certificates, Identifiers and Profiles.

Step 2:

In this step, first see on the left tab under Provisioning Profiles and Select Distribution.

1.Now select add button “+” at the top right to create a new profile.

2.Then Select “App Store” and press continue button.

3.Now Select App ID and press continue button.

4.Now you have to select the Certificate which you wish to include in this provisioning profile means the certificate the app was signed with and then click Continue. Next, select the devices you want to include in the provisioning profile. This certificate is basically a public-private key pair whose job is to identify who has developed the app.

5.Now create a name for your profile and click Generate button. You can include Distribution in the name so that you can differentiate this one from testing one.

You need to have a matching provisioning profile name when you will distribute to the App store. This will verify that your developer account has created the app.

Step 3

Now Download the provisioning profile to your desktop/laptop by clicking the Download button.

Hence after completing all of the above steps, now you are ready to submit your app to the App Store.

Conclusion

We have just discussed the step by step process of how to create your distribution provisioning profile for iOS. This is a must if you want to create and distribute the iOS app you are developing from the Apple’s App Store.

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