How long does Apple take to approve an app?

So exactly 1 week after we received the “Waiting for Review” email from Apple, we received the “In Review” notification.

The review of our Outskirts Press Free Publishing app took 4 hours and 38 minutes.  At 4:38 in the afternoon on Tuesday, one week after submitting it, we received the following notice from Apple:

Dear Outskirts Press,

The status for the following app has changed to Processing for App Store.

App Name: Outskirts Press Free Publishing App
App Version Number: X.XXXXX
App SKU: 01

To make changes to this app, sign in to iTunes Connect and open the Manage Your Applications module.

If you have any questions regarding your app, click Contact Us in iTunes Connect.


The iTunes Store Team

And then, 21 minutes later, we received this notice:

Dear Outskirts Press,

The following app has been approved. The status has changed to Ready for Sale.

If your contracts are not in effect at this time, however, your app status will be Pending Contract. You may track the progress of your contracts in the Contracts, Tax, and Banking module in iTunes Connect.

Note that it may take up to 24 hours before your app is live on the App Store. This delay is dependent upon any app availability issues.

App Name: Outskirts Press Free Publishing App
App Version Number: X.XXXXXX
App SKU: 01

To make changes to this app, sign in to iTunes Connect and open the Manage Your Applications module.

If you have any questions regarding your app, click Contact Us in iTunes Connect.


The iTunes Store Team


App approval time

For a new application, from a new developer (us), our “Waiting for Review” status lasted a week, to the day, so this gives other developers a good idea of what they can expect when they submit their first application. Apple doesn’t give you any indication of how long anything takes, so you don’t know whether to set your expectations for “an hour” or “a day” or “a week” or “a month.”

Last Tuesday, when we first uploaded the app we received the “Waiting for Upload” status notification, followed shortly thereafter by the “Waiting for Review” status notification.

Then …. nothing… for days…

Then,  yesterday, the following Tuesday after we uploaded the app,  at 10am, we received the following notification:

Dear Outskirts Press,

The status for the following app has changed to In Review.

App Name: Outskirts Press Free Publishing App
App Version Number: X.xxxxx
App SKU: 01

To make changes to this app, sign in to iTunes Connect and open the Manage Your Applications module.

If you have any questions regarding your app, click Contact Us in iTunes Connect.


The iTunes Store Team

At 4:38pm on the same Tuesday, we received the next notice, which I’ll discuss tomorrow.

Apple customer service

So finally we got the Apple Developer Certification done. You’d think it would be easy street from here, but no. You see, I had already created an “Outskirts Press” relationship with Apple for the purposes of distributing ebooks through the iBookstore for the iPad and iPhone (more on those developments soon).  But, therefore, my iTunes Connect account wasn’t “capable” of managing applications, nor was it set-up to do so. It could only manage e-books.  There didn’t appear to be a way I could “combine” the two objectives into one account.

So I called the Apple Customer Service number and spoke with a nice person named Holly. She ultimately ended the call with “I need to consult with one of my colleagues about this. May I call you back in 15 minutes?”  Sure… and I hung up.

The next day I received a call from Nicholas at Apple Customer Service (or I guess they call it Apple Provisioning Portal Service, or something equally odd), and he first apologized for not calling back the day before. That was a nice touch.   He then began speaking softly and quickly, presumably on the topic I needed assistance with. But I interjected with a polite, “I can’t quite hear you or understand you, can you speak louder and slower?” 

He apologized and said, “I have an out-of-date boom mic.”

I playfully replied, “An out-of-date mic? At Apple?!”

Our cordial conversation continued with a long monologue on his part about the current issue we were facing with my account. About 3 minutes into it, I’m afraid I interjected again and said, “Nicholas, those words all sound like English, but I’m afraid I didn’t understand most of it.”

Long story, short — we set up two accounts. One under Outskirts Press, Inc. for our ebooks. And one under plain ol’ “Outskirts Press” for our applications (which, ironically, if you’ll remember the start of this whole fiasco, was the name of our App account I wanted anyway).

So why all the fuss just to get Apple Developer Certification? Next time I’ll show a sneak peek of our free Outskirts Press app which (hopefully) will be available soon, pending some successful testing. You have to complete all these steps I’ve just outlined in order to test your own applications, even if you only want to perform ad-hoc testing on a local iPhone or iPad device.  I may or may not get into the nitty-gritty of doing THAT in the near future; it’s a  pain in the rear-end, too, and I’ve been blogging about Apple for quite a while. It may be time to move onto other OP CEO stuff…

Approving your certificate through Apple’s Provisioning Portal

Once you have created and uploaded your CSR (which I covered in previous posts), your Provisioning Portal page will show a “Pending Issuance” status.  Wait five minutes or so and when you hit “refresh” on your browser your screen should update with an expiration date of a year from the day, a status of “Issued” and two actions you can take:

  • Download
  • Revoke

This file is a “cer” file type.  Choose download to save the distribution “cer” file to your computer.  Ta-da, you have a distribution certificate. 

Here’s perhaps the most important part of this entire series, especially if you are running into problem completing ANY of these steps:

If you’ve run into any problems during the course of completing these steps, one of the potentially easiest solutions is to use the Safari browser instead of Internet Explorer (not that Jobs would purposefully prevent his site from working on Gates’ browser or anything… naaa).

How to create a certificate signing request on a PC for Windows

Okay, we’re going on two months of posting about our process of becoming a certified Apple developer so we can provide author “apps” for our published authors at Outskirts Press.

Last time I posted about how to create a certificate signing request on a Mac. And actually, if you have access to a Mac, that’s the easiest way to do it. But, if like 90% of us, you own a PC instead, here’s what you do (it’s a royal pain, but hey, complain to Apple).

1. Go to
2. Install Open SSL
3. It’s possible you will also need to install Redistributable files for Visual C++ 2008 if your computer doesn’t already have it installed.
4. Open a command session in Windows by going to the Start menu and typing CMD in the Search box and then choosing the CMD program.
5. Type the following into the command line: openssl genrsa -out mykey.key 2048
6. Save the private key file that is generated.
7. Type the following command into the command line, replacing the BOLD variables with your specific information:

openssl req -new -key mykey.key -out CertificateSigningRequest.certSigningRequest  -subj “/, CN=Certificate_Name, C=Country(US for United States)

8. You should receive your CSR file via email attachment. Save it to your computer. Then upload it to your Provisioning Platform at

Uploading your CSR File to the Apple Provisioning Portal

Okay, I apologize to Apple, but since this blog series is helping them, I’m sure they won’t mind if I just cut and paste this page of their website about how to create a CSR file to upload to the provisioning portal. It’s easier than trying to summarize it, especially since I don’t really understand what I’m summarizing.  Oh, and of course, like everybody and everything at Apple, these instructions assume you have a Mac.  As if this thing called the “PC” had never been invented (and didn’t dominate the market).  I’ll cover how to do it on your PC tomorrow…

How to create a Distribution certificate:

  1. Generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) with a public key
    • In your Applications folder, open the Utilities folder and launch Keychain Access.
    • Choose Keychain Access > Certificate Assistant > Request a Certificate from a Certificate Authority.
    • In the Certificate Information window, enter or select the following information:
      • In the User Email Address field, enter your email address
      • In the Common Name field, enter your name
      • In the Request is group, select the Saved to disk option
      • Click Continue
    • The Certificate Assistant saves a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) file to your Desktop.
    • The public/private key pair will be generated when you create the Certificate Signing Request (CSR) if you use the Key Chain Assistant to create the CSR.
  2. Submit the CSR through the Provisioning Portal to the Admin for approval.
    • Click the Distribution tab
    • Upload the certificate by choosing the file
    • Click Submit
  3. You will be notified by email when your CSR has been approved or rejected.

Once you submit your CSR you receive a Status of “Pending Issuance” on your “Current Distribution Certificate” screen in your Provisioning Portal.  Looks like it’s time to wait on Apple again…

Part 3 of Getting your Apple Developer Certification

Once you have logged in to and clicked on the iOS Provisioning Portal link you will be on the “Welcome to the iOS Provisioning Portal” screen, which features a menu of choices along the left-hand side, and these choices are:

  • Certificates
  • Devices
  • Apple IDs
  • Provisioning
  • Distribution

Click on Certificates and then on Distribution on the tab menu because first we need to set up a Distribution Certificate.   In all likelihood you probably don’t have a CSR certification file, and that’s okay because the instructions at the following link tell you how to create one:

Then you will submit the CSR through the Provisioning portal… and more on that next time.

Getting your Apple Developer Certification – part 2

As I mentioned last time, once you log-in to you will click on iOS Provisioning Portal, a “title” that demonstrates by its very nature that Apple is run by a bunch of IT people.  “iOS Provisioning Portal…”  Really, Apple?  Who named that?  I mention this as an aside because I imagine it’s a very common phenomenon at just about every tech-centered business that involves software.  Which, is really all any website is, a piece of software.    The problem is that IT folks are rarely marketing people — their minds are not alike.  So a name like “iOS Provisioning Portal” makes perfect sense to the IT people responsible for naming that section, categorizing the site, and programming the functionality.  After all, that is without a doubt the EXACT name of what it is.

The problem is that for the rest of us, which describes 99% of your customers, by the way, Apple,  “iOS Provisioning Portal” is gobbley-gook that means nothing and in no way encourages us to click on it. 

We run into that problem at Outskirts Press, too. We will launch a new option and instead of it being called something logical or customer-centric like “Custom Cover for Your Hardback” it will often wind up in a customer’s shopping cart with the unwieldy name of “F2 C_Cov Lam_HB” until I test it in a live environment and rename it.  

But, I digress… Back to the certification process, which I will continue next…

Getting your Apple Developer Certification

Okay, it was a long time coming, but once Outskirts Press was confirmed as a company in good standing by Apple through the beginning portion of their enrollment process, we were able to continue the process of actually getting our certificate. Here are the steps:

First, log-in to either or a short-cut of (which takes you to the same place).

Along the right-hand side in a section headlined “iOS Developer Program” are four choices:

  • iOS Provisioning Portal
  • iTunes Connect
  • Apple Developer Forums
  • Developer Support Center

Click on the first one, iOS Provisioning Portal, a “title” that demonstrates by its very nature that Apple is run by a bunch of IT people.  “iOS Provisioning Portal…”  Really, Apple?  Who named that?  I’ll get into the problem with such a name (and why it happens a lot in software) tomorrow on a small aside…

Apple developer certification process back on track

For those of you following our process at Outskirts Press to apply for Apple developer certification, the lesson to take away so far is to make sure that your online information you supply to Apple exactly matches the information on the official documentation you will be supplying to Apple upon their request.  We omitted the “Inc.” from our name on the online form and our address had changed in the 8 years since we incorporated with the Secretary of the State.  Alone they apparently would have been reason enough for Apple to either deny the certification or at least slow it down — and together the technicality caused a 6 week delay in the launch of our Outskirts Press app.

But, I’m happy to say the process is now continuing. True to their word, they expedited our approval process once we completed the online enrollment again, this time exactly matching the information on our Articles of Incorporation.  Once they confirm your identity, you receive the following notification via email:

You can now continue the Apple Developer Program enrollment process by reviewing and agreeing to the Program License Agreement. You must click through this agreement in order to purchase or complete your enrollment in an Apple Developer Program(s).

Upon reviewing and approval the License Agreement, which is Apple-esque in its one-sidedness, you can “Purchase” the iOS Developer Program for $99 plus tax.  Then, you receive this email notification:

Thank you for joining the iOS Developer Program. You now have access to a comprehensive set of development tools and resources to assist you in developing innovative apps.

Think we’re done? Nope, not even close. Up next…