App Store Connect is constantly evolving to improve the experience of managing and deploying your app on App Store. Learn about the new App Store Connect API for managing frequently modified data such as users and groups, see the latest updates to Sales Trends and Analytics reporting, and TestFlight features enhanced to help you test and deploy your next masterpiece.
Welcome to our session on what's new in App Store Connect? My name is Daniel Miao. And I'm an engineering manager on the App Store Connect team. So what's new? Well, first off, you may have noticed we changed our name.
This is really just a small part of our ongoing commitment to building the best tools and services focused on you, our developers building apps for the App Store. Now along these lines, we've also been undergoing a few renovations on our App Store.
So last year, we went back and we redesigned the iOS App Store. And following the success of that redesign, this year we also redesigned the Mac App Store.
Now with this Mac App Store redesign, we've added support for a few new features including app subtitles and app previews. You can take advantage of these features by signing into App Store Connect or by using the XML feed if you use that for automation today. Now for today's session, we're going to focus on enhancements we've made to App Store Connect. And we're going to talk about it within the context of your app lifecycle. This lifecycle typically begins with the design phase.
This phase can be both visual or in code. And as you make your way around this lifecycle, you eventually end up with your app on the App Store followed with an analysis of how your app is doing on the App Store. Now more specifically, we're going to focus on a few key areas of this lifecycle. We're going to talk about changes to provisioning, user management, delivering your app into our system, beta testing the builds, and analyzing your biggest business drivers.
Now looking at all these different areas, you can imagine how something like automation could bring all these together quite nicely. And we tend to agree which is why we're very excited because this summer we'll be releasing an all-new product focused around automation and we call it the App Store Connect API.
Now the App Store Connect API is simply a RESTful interface into your app management experience.
To authenticate with the API, you'll be using industry-standard JSON web token authentication. Some of you may already be familiar with this with other APIs you've worked with.
In designing the API, we've designed it around strict convention. This means whether you're looking at something like naming or error formats, no matter what corner of the API you're in, everything should feel familiar. And finally, we've been writing extensive documentation for this API.
You might be looking for references around resources and their attributes or maybe you're simply looking for a guide around how to best use this API for your use cases. Well, either way and for many other scenarios, this documentation will be the place to go. We'll be launching the API this summer. And we will be launching with support for the areas of the lifecycle we highlighted earlier. Now as we add more features and support for other areas, we will be delivering those features to you.
So going back to our lifecycle, let's talk through some enhancements and some API integrations. We'll begin by talking about provisioning.
Now today, many of you rely on Xcode to manage your provisioning automatically. But for some of you who are looking for a little more control, today you sign into the Apple Developer website to generate the resources you need to sign your apps. Well, with the API this summer, you'll be able to do a lot of these things directly. The API will support generating provisioning profiles, creating and revoking signing certificates as well as managing your devices and your app bundle IDs. This should make it a little bit easier for you to integrate your provisioning activities into your automation process.
So early on in the lifecycle while you're thinking about provisioning, you're probably also thinking about managing your users. Now the API is going to support inviting new users to App Store Connect, modifying which apps your users can see, managing your user's roles as well as updating profile details.
Now we didn't want to stop at simplifying your management experience with just the API.
We also wanted to take a look at how we could simplify where you go to manage your users in the first place.
Today, you go to both App Store Connect and the Apple Developer website. But starting this summer, you'll be able to go to just one place.
And that's App Store Connect.
Coming to App Store Connect, you'll be able to think about all of your users within the context of just one set of roles. And you can manage just one account for each of your Apple IDs.
Now we know that App Store Connect and the Apple Developer website, they're very different systems. So you might be wondering how is all this going to come together? Well, that's why we've built a way for you to see how your user's permissions will be changing once this process is complete. Once we have this preview available, we'll let you know via Developer News and on the App Store Connect home page.
From here, you can click into a page that looks sort of like this. Here you'll see a list of all of your users as well as a summary of how their roles will be changing.
Of course, some of your users won't be changing at all. Now if you click into a single one of these users, you'll be able to pull up a modal giving you much more information about that user including what their permissions will look like going forward.
We encourage you to come in to App Store Connect and take a look at each and every one of your users and make any necessary changes before we began this process. And once this process completes, we encourage you to come back one last time to make sure your users are in a state that makes sense to you and after that you simply come back to App Store Connect for any future changes.
All right. So while some of you were thinking about provisioning and user management, others were working on your apps. Now a natural part of the app development process is, of course, spinning up builds.
At some point, you reach a build that you're ready to deliver, that way you can distribute it to your customers. Now many of you today are using our tool called Transporter. For those of you who aren't familiar, Transporter is our command line tool that does many things and one of those is delivering your builds into our system. For those of you who use Transporter today, you know that macOS is a supported platform.
Well, we also know that many of you use Linux for things like continuous integration, which is why this summer we'll be adding Linux as a supported platform for Transporter. Now you'll continue using Transporter the same way you do today. And Transporter will continue allowing you to validate your builds before you deliver them. This will save you a lot of time because you'll know whether your builds are in a good state before you push us all of the bits.
And once we launch the API this summer, in addition to the username and password authentication that you can do today, you'll also be able to use the same API tokens that you use with the rest of the App Store Connect API. Okay. So now that we have a few builds in the system, it's time to beta test them. And, of course, beta testing means TestFlight. We've got a few enhancements to TestFlight. And I'd like to invite Tommy McGlynn up to the stage to tell you all about them. Thanks, Daniel.
I'm really excited to be here again talking to you about TestFlight. We've got a new feature to tell you about, and it deals with tester acquisition.
Today, all you need to invite someone to TestFlight is their e-mail address. You simply enter their e-mail and they'll be sent an invitation.
Tapping on the invitation will launch TestFlight where they can install your beta app. It's pretty awesome, but if you're dealing with a lot of testers, it can be cumbersome. And if you're working with testers who don't have an e-mail address, there isn't an easy way to invite them.
We think we can do even better, and we call it TestFlight public link.
This is really exciting.
Public link is a unique URL that represents an open invitation to your beta app.
You can share it anywhere you'd like.
And it can be used by anyone to become a new tester. So public links can be shared anywhere that a regular link can be shared. This means you can send a public link directly to someone, or you could share it on social media to reach a wider audience.
If someone wants to become a tester, they simply tap on a link. This would launch TestFlight where they can install your beta app and instantly become one of your testers. It's really easy. You don't have to collect any information. You simply make the link available and testers can join.
So let me show how we can create a public link.
In TestFlight, groups allow you to organize your testers and decide which builds each group of testers should have access to.
We'll need to create a group before we can generate a public link. And we can do that by clicking new group in the left nav and then giving the group a name. Now before we create a public link and start bringing testers in, we want to make sure there is a build that they can test. So first we'll add a build to this group. We do that by going to the builds tab and clicking the plus button next to build.
This will show all the builds we've uploaded. And we can choose one that we want to distribute. Now that this group has a build, we can create a public link for this group. We'll go back to the testers tab and click enable public link.
This generates a unique URL that we can share anywhere to reach new testers.
And testers who join through that link are automatically added to the group. So when you're ready to deliver a new build, you simply add the build to the group.
You can see how this is a much faster way to bring in up to 10,000 active testers. If you want more control over the number of testers or you're not quite ready for your beta app to go viral, you can easily set a custom tester limit on each public link.
This would put a cap on the number of testers who could join through that link.
You also have the ability to disable the public link at any time at which point new testers would no longer be able to join. If someone tries to open a link once it's been disabled, they'll receive a message letting them know this beta isn't accepting any new testers.
I also want to show what happens when someone taps on a public link and doesn't have TestFlight installed.
They'll land on a localized page that explains how to install TestFlight and get started as a beta tester. This will make it a lot easier for brand-new testers to begin testing your app.
I'd also like to mention that you'll soon be able to do all of this without using the App Store Connect UI at all.
This will be possible using the new App Store Connect API.
You'll be able to automate the creation of groups, assign builds to groups, manage public links, add and remove testers, and update test information. All of this can be automated using our new REST API.
We have an entire session devoted to the new App Store Connect API. And I strongly encourage you to check it out tomorrow at 3:00. That's TestFlight public link. And I'm really excited to see what you're able to do with this new feature. Thank you. Thanks, Tommy. Well, TestFlight public links and the new TestFlight APIs are just two more ways for you to streamline your beta distribution process.
So now that we've gone through a successful round of beta testing, prepared our App Store metadata, gone through app review, and now our app is in the hands of our customers.
Now it's time to take a look at some hard numbers to see how our customers are actually responding to our apps. So the first place we can look at this is in sales and trends.
Just this week we launched an all new sales and trends overview page.
This page gives you a summary of your biggest business drivers like app units, in-app purchases, and sales.
As you scroll down this page, you'll see your top apps and how they contribute to each of these metrics.
Here, when you look at these sales numbers, these numbers include not just app sales but also in-app purchase sales from within those apps. As we scroll down towards the bottom, we'll see these same metrics broken down by territory and by device.
After looking at all this information, you'll know better where to focus your efforts. Now another place we can look is in your generated reports to see how your app is doing.
Today, in order to download your generated reports, you use a reporter tool but beginning this summer you'll be able to do the same thing directly with the API. And we'll be supporting the download of both financial reports and sales reports. This will make it easier for you to integrate reporting in to your process. So we've been talking about a lot of features. And so far they've mostly been centered around your web and your desktop experience. So now we'd like to move on and talk about our all new mobile experience. And I'd like to invite Alex Miyamura up to the stage to tell you all about it. Thanks, Daniel. We know that the involvement with your apps doesn't stop the moment that you step away from your Mac.
You may have a version of one of your apps that you've been working on hard for quite a long time that you're just itching to release and it's now in app review.
You may just have released a version of one of your apps, or you may just want to see how your apps are doing, check out their sales and trends or their ratings and reviews. And for that reason, we've created a brand-new App Store Connect experience for iOS.
This experience is centered around giving you the ability to access your apps data on the go as well as empowering you to take certain quick actions and letting you know exactly when you can take them. Now let's start with sales and trends.
When you tap into your trends tab, you'll see this gorgeous graphical summary of your app's performance over the past 7 days. You'll see your app's units and proceeds. Scrolling down, you'll see sales, updates, and then in-app purchases and app bundles.
Now we know that you implement diverse modernization strategies across your apps. Some of you have paid apps, free apps, apps with in-app purchases, or you may leverage subscriptions. Now we know that and we wanted to give you the ability to select exactly which of these graphs are most relevant to you. So we've added this edit function where you can select the graphs you'd like to see. So let's say that, in my business, I only have free apps. I'll go ahead and unselect proceeds, sales, in-app purchases, and app bundles. Hit done and, voila, now I just see units and updates, exactly what's relevant for my business.
Next, we're going to take a look at the time selection control underneath the trends title.
In iTunes Connect mobile, we allow you to see the status from 7 days all the way to 26 weeks. Now this was amazing if you are interested in longer-term trends, right? But what about an app that you just released? You might not even have 7 days' worth of data. And if you want to compare those 7 days to the previous 7 days, well obviously you're not going to have that. So in App Store Connect, we introduce the 1 day view. In this view, you can see how your apps are during day over day even just a few days after launch.
Of course, some of you are still going to be interested in longer-term trends, right? So we still offer you the ability to view your apps data over 2 weeks, 5 weeks, 13 weeks, and 26 weeks.
You can also drill down into each one of these graphs in more detail. So we're going to take a look at units right now.
When you tap into one of these graphs, you'll see a breakdown across your free apps, your paid apps, and in-apps for the iOS/tvOS App Stores as well as the redesigned Mac App Store.
You can also take a look at a deeper dive into any one of these cells just by tapping on them. So let's go ahead and tap the free iOS/tvOS app cell.
Now you can see data about each one of your apps in more detail and also your apps top territories.
If you're interested in seeing more territories, you can tap the show more button. Now you can see the territories that your apps are available in worldwide.
You can also take a look at your apps data individually as opposed to this aggregate view by taking a look at the my apps tab which we'll do next.
When you tap into the my apps tab, you'll see a list of your apps, obviously. But what if you're a member of more than one development team? So do we have anyone in the audience that is, indeed, a member of more than one development team? Cool. So it's actually quite a bit of you. So that's awesome. And that's exactly why we've introduce the ability to select which development team you'd like to see within App Store Connect. So we'll tap the little account button.
That brings up settings. And you'll see the account cell.
We'll tap into that, select the team that we'd like to see within App Store Connect, and dismiss this.
Now we see exactly the apps that we're interested in right now.
Let's go ahead and take a look at one of the apps within our apps list, Mountain Climber.
When we tap into Mountain Climber, you'll see four sections.
The first section that you see is the iOS app section. And here you'll see your iOS versions.
If your app has a tvOS app version, you'll see the tvOS app section and, obviously, the tvOS app versions underneath. Now we also have App Store information. And remember that I noted that you can see your apps trends data individually. Well, all you have to do is tap into that cell and you'll be taken there. Now, finally we have notifications. And we're going to do something a bit unorthodox here. We're actually going to start from all the way at the bottom with notifications.
There are two types of notifications that you can receive within the App Store Connect app. The first one is for app status changes. And this is something like when your app is in review and then goes to pending developer release when it's approved.
The next one that you can take is for reviews with a certain star rating.
And so we're going to go ahead and select the five-star review because we want to thank users that are enjoying our app as well as the one-star review because we want to engage users that, for whatever reason, are not having the best of experiences.
Now that we've selected our notifications, we're going to go back to the app view.
The reason why we started with notifications is because one of the key tenets of the App Store Connect experience on iOS is giving you the ability to take a quick action around your apps and letting you know when you can do so.
So we know that you've taken -- you've spent countless hours working on your apps.
You've distributed them to beta testers via TestFlight. You've taken those testers feedback, iterated upon that with your apps, and finally you have a build that's ready for release to the world.
Now one of the last things you have to do before releasing your app to the world is, of course, submitting your build to app review.
One of the notifications that we just set up in the App Store Connect app was for app status changes. This means that when your app is approved by app review, you'll receive a push notification that tells you this happy news.
The second that you received one of these notifications, you can open App Store Connect wherever you are. And we'll go to the version view. You'll now see that our app Forest Explorer is pending developer release.
We'll scroll down and you'll see two buttons. The first one that you'll see is this big red button. It's really obvious. Reject this binary. We don't want to do that, but now we see release this version and that's exactly what we want to do. We'll tap there. We'll get a confirmation dialog and we'll hit release. Now we sent that build off to the world.
Sometimes you don't get the happiest push notifications and this is one of them. Right. Sometimes your app may be rejected by app review. And, obviously, that's something that no one wants to see.
Later in our session, my colleague Daniel is going to go over some tips and tricks from app review to make sure that this never happens to you. But what should we do now? We need to make sure that we can get this app approved and out there to the world. Now what we're going to do is open up App Store Connect. And under App Store information, you'll see this warning badge next to resolution center.
Within resolution center, you'll be able to see app reviews feedback for your app. You can tap into one in more detail and, of course, reply to it on the go.
Now once we send our response back to app review, they'll get a chance to review it and hopefully our app will be approved at once.
Now once your app has been submitted to app review, once it's been approved, and you've used App Store Connect to release it, the next thing that you'll be receiving his customer feedback. And here's one of the notifications that you may receive, a five-star review. Now recall we set up notifications for one and five-star reviews within App Store Connect.
Since we set these up, you'll know the very minute a customer submits one of these reviews.
You can access all customer feedback within App Store Connect by accessing the ratings and reviews section where you'll be able to see your current rating across any one of the territories you've selected or, obviously, all territories. You can also take a look at your reviews, read them in more detail, and reply to them. Now this is a satisfied customer so we're going to thank them for the positive feedback.
That covers App Store Connect notifications and the quick actions that you can take from them but there's one more thing.
We've also optimized App Store Connect for iPad. So let's take a quick look.
As I mentioned earlier, you can view a certain apps sales and trends data. And here is sales and trends for Forest Explorer.
You can see units. And we'll scroll down to updates and also drill down into the territories view.
Now I'm sure you want to try this out on your own. And our app is actually available now. So if you haven't downloaded it already, please go ahead and do so.
We've worked hard to bring an experience -- an improved mobile experience to you. And we hope you'll enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed creating it.
And with that, now back to Daniel.
Thanks, Alex. So that's a beautiful new app that'll give you even more power to manage your apps on the go.
So next we'd like to talk about a guideline change we made just this week that will let those of you with paid apps offer time-based free trials for your customers. Now those of you who are using subscriptions today know that free trials are a great way to attract new customers to your services. But we also know that subscriptions aren't the model that works for every app which is why we're happy to now have a path for paid apps.
So we're going to take a look at what this setup looks like. So let's say we start with a paid app.
The first thing you would do is turn your paid app into a free app.
Now on top of this free app, you're going to add two non-consumable in-app purchases. The first is a free tier 0 priced non-consumable. And you'll present this to your customers when they launch the app so that they can opt-in to the free trial. Now the second non-consumable is the in-app purchase that you use to unlock your app functionality for that customer for good.
You can present this at any point; in the beginning when they launch the app or when their free trial is complete. Now in order to use this setup, there are a few guidelines to look out for and to follow. First, make sure you name your trial in-app purchase with this naming convention. And next, you'll want to make sure that it's very clear to the customer exactly what they are signing up for. So please make sure that they know how long the free trial is going to last, how much it'll cost to unlock the functionality, and what kind of features and content won't be available anymore after the trial if they decide not to continue.
All right. So we talked about a number of new features today. So let's take a second to recap them.
First, we're launching an all-new App Store Connect API this summer. We're unifying where you go to manage your users. We've extended app Transporter to support Linux.
We're launching TestFlight public links, which will make it a lot easier for you to invite large numbers of testers.
We've launched a brand-new sales and trends overview page, a new App Store Connect for iOS page, and a path for you to offer trials to customers on your paid apps. Now these are features that will be launching between now and the end of the summer. But we also have two significant features we launched over the past year that we'd like to highlight. And these are intro pricing and pre-orders. So introductory pricing, for those of you who use subscriptions, is a great way to incentivize new customers to sign up for your subscriptions. Now you do this by offering your customers a discounted introductory price at the beginning of your subscription. There are three different pricing models we offer for this. First, we have free trials.
Now with free trials, your customers sign up for free. They use your services for the introductory period. And at the end of the period, they move on to your regular subscription price.
Next, we have a model that we call pay upfront. With this model, your customers sign up and they pay one time at the beginning of your introductory period.
And, again, at the end of the period, the regular subscription price kicks in.
And finally, we have pay as you go. With pay as you go, your customers pay a recurring discounted price during the introductory period. Now once the entire period has been completed then they move on to the regular subscription price. Now we have two related sessions that happened yesterday that have more information around the StoreKit side and best practices around both intro pricing and subscriptions. They are Best Practices and What's New with In-App Purchases and Engineering Subscriptions. So check those out if you have a chance. So next we have pre-orders. Now pre-orders are a great way for you to drum up excitement for your app before your app is actually available for download or purchase. In order to set up a pre-order, you can take any app that has not yet been released on the App Store and you can enable it. After you submit it to app review and that app has been approved, you can release that app to the App Store as a pre-order.
Once that pre-order period is over and your customers have signed up for your pre-order, your app will move into ready for sale state where your customers can now download or purchase that app. It's also at this transition that customers that have signed up for your pre-order are charged for the price of your app. Now let's take a look at how you might set this up in App Store Connect.
We begin here on the pricing and availability page.
Again, if this app has never been released to the App Store, you'll see a section in the middle here labeled pre-orders. Here, you can enable your pre-orders and set a release date.
This release date is a date on which your app goes from being available as a pre-order on the App Store to being available as a download or purchase on the App Store. In other words, this is when it goes from pre-order ready for sale to ready for sale. Now once you've gone through app review and your app is in pending developer release state, you'll see a button in the top right corner. This is the release pre-order button. You click this button to make your app available on the App Store as a pre-order.
Once you do this, you'll see a banner at the top of the page telling you when your pre-order started and when it completes. This completion date is simply the release date that you set for your app. Now if you'd like to release this app before the release date or more immediately, you can click the release app now button in the top right corner. And that's intro pricing and pre-orders in a nutshell. So we have to close out this session with a few best practices from app review. These are a few tips that'll help your apps to get through review a little more smoothly.
First, please enter contact information and keep it current throughout the review process. Sometimes app review needs to reach out to maybe ask a few questions to clarify how your app works.
This will help us to get your app through review a bit more quickly, but we can't reach out to you without contact information.
Next, please submit demo account information if your app requires a log in.
There's a section on the version page where you can enter this and keep it updated.
Please make sure the account -- this account information is current throughout the review process. And if there is a server side to the log in, which usually there is, please make sure that the server side account is also enabled throughout the process. You may be wondering does app review ever look at the notes? Well, yes they do. They look at it with every single review. So if there is any information that might make it clearer for app review or maybe tells them about any kind of non-obvious features of your app, be sure to include that information in these notes.
When you submit screenshots, please make sure to include customer experience. We want to see what the customer sees in these screenshots. And finally, if you're asking your customers for permissions around things like their location or maybe access to their photo library, please include, in that permission modal, why you're requesting that information and how it's going to be used.
And those are a few notes from app review. For more information about anything we've talked about today, please visit this link. A recording of this video will be posted there along with related documents and other things, more information about what we've talked about.
We also have a few related sessions. Tomorrow, as Tommy mentioned, we have our Automating App Store Connect session at 3:00 where we're going to take you into a deep dive of the API and show you how to use the API at a much deeper level.
We also have two labs coming up, one tomorrow and one the day after. So if you'd like to come and talk to us, we'd love to talk to you.
And finally, there is an App Store lab that happening, as many of you know, on the other side of this building.
So if you have any questions, feel free to sign up for that. Or if you just have a quick question, we now have a walk-in table this year that you can just drop by with a question for. Thank you so much for spending your time with us and we hope you enjoy your dinner and the rest of this conference.
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