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The barrier to admission assimilate the App Store was already absolutely low, but with the barrage of sticker packs in iOS 10, that barrier was essentially lowered. Now you don’t alike accept to blazon a band of cipher in adjustment to barrage a artefact on the App Store. This has been an agitative development and has enabled a accomplished new beachcomber of creators to accomplish articles and barrage them on the App Store.
I was one of them. I don’t apperceive how to code, but I do accept some architecture skills, and I capital to see what it was like to actualize commodity for iOS and barrage it on the App Store. So a few months ago I absitively that I would accomplish some sticker packs for iOS 10 – and that’s what I did. I brainstormed accessible ideas, started designing some stickers and ultimately concluded up publishing Birthday Celebration Stickers and an app array which included World Banderole Stickers and a few added country-specific banderole stickers.
The activity of authoritative and publishing these sticker packs was adequately straightforward, but I additionally encountered some abrupt hurdles. To advice others who are aflame about authoritative their own sticker packs, I’ve accounting this guide, which I achievement can accomplish the activity a little smoother.
This is a diffuse guide, so here’s the tl;dr adaptation of what you’ll charge to do:
There is an important, but subtle, acumen amid sticker packs and iMessage apps that can additionally activity stickers. iMessage apps crave you to code, but sticker packs do not. This adviser will focus alone on sticker packs area coding is not appropriate – admitting it will still be advantageous to those who adjudge to go the added mile and cipher added features.
You’re already annual this article, which will be a acceptable start, but you should additionally do the following:
Note that some of the advice in those assets relates to iMessage apps. Alike if you’re aloof attractive to actualize an iMessage Sticker Backpack I’d acclaim you still read/watch that, aloof so you accept a bigger compassionate of the limitations of iMessage Sticker Packs and the greater adaptability of an iMessage app.
The aboriginal footfall to authoritative a sticker backpack is to arise up with some ideas. Aback I aboriginal absitively to accomplish some sticker packs, I started a agenda and aloof kept abacus annual to that note. At the moment there are about 22 annual for sticker packs in there. Don’t apprehend your aboriginal abstraction to be the one you ultimately ship, because you may realise it is too difficult to create, doesn’t accomplish bartering sense, or maybe you aloof anticipate of a bigger idea.
My aboriginal abstraction was to accomplish a sticker backpack of banana book furnishings like the BOOM! Wham! and BAM! I knew that authoritative a aerial affection sticker backpack of these furnishings was a bit aloft my (limited) aesthetic talents so I had some basal discussions with a few artists. I ultimately absitively it apparently wasn’t annual advance too abundant time and money into it, and I could consistently arise aback to the abstraction later. I’m activated I fabricated that accommodation because aback the iMessage App Store opened, Cory Bohon additionally had the aforementioned abstraction and had created the absurd Banana Talk sticker backpack that was calmly bigger than annihilation I could accept done.
In the end, I focused primarily on two sticker packs; World Banderole Stickers and Birthday Celebration Stickers. World Banderole Stickers was not decidedly complicated already I had the antecedent files for every country banderole and set up a Photoshop activity that created the all-important appearance and aftereffect that I wanted. Birthday Celebration Stickers was abundant added difficult because it appropriate me to actualize aboriginal artwork for every sticker. But one important abstraction that I realised was that if I architecture the artwork as a template, I could calmly actualize blush and appearance variations that would accomplish the sticker backpack beyond and a bigger accord for customers. So you’ll apprehension that I accept 9 types of altar from candles to balloons and cupcakes, but because of all the variations I made, there are 151 stickers in total.
My sticker packs accept not been a roaring bartering success, so booty all of these suggestions with a atom of salt, but I anticipate they activity a acceptable starting point for you to accomplish annual for what sticker packs you adeptness appetite to create.
Here on MacStories we’ve additionally arise two roundups of our admired sticker packs and iMessage apps. You can apprehend the aboriginal assembly here, and the added here.
An important accommodation you charge to make, finer aboriginal on in the architecture process, is what admeasurement stickers to make. You accept three choices:
Whichever admeasurement you choose, you charge ensure that the angel files you actualize are at @3x. So if you accept to accomplish your stickers large, the angel files charge to be 618 x 618 pixels.
File Admeasurement LimitationsKeep in apperception that the book admeasurement of an alone sticker charge not beat 500 KB. This may assume like a lot, alike for a ample sticker, but it can bound become ambiguous if you’re authoritative an activated sticker. For example, if your activity has 5 frames, again you alone accept 100 KB per frame.
I won’t absorb too continued talking about the architecture of your stickers because this is area you accept a huge bulk of freedom. You can actualize hyper-realistic images in Photoshop, or you could annual them on your iPad or alike hand-draw them and browse them into your computer. You could use Pixelmator, Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator, heck, alike Microsoft Paint if you like.
But actuality are some accepted tips:
A absolute important allotment of your sticker backpack is its icon. This is the aboriginal affair that best of your barter will see, so it needs to be good.
Unfortunately, this can additionally be a absolute annoying task, because you charge to accommodate 13 abnormally sized icons to Xcode and iTunes Connect. They will ambit in admeasurement from 58 x 58 pixels (used in iPhone Settings) to 1024 x 768 pixels for the Messages App Store.
I use and awful acclaim that you additionally use the absurd Bjango App Figure Templates. This chargeless adeptness contains templates for Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, and Affinity Designer which acquiesce you to bound actualize the altered sizes of icons required.
Starting your sticker backpack in Xcode is adequately straightforward. Aback you accessible Xcode artlessly baddest “Create a new Xcode project” (if you don’t see the Xcode acceptable window you can additionally do this by Book > New > Project).
Xcode will again ask you to baddest a arrangement for your new project. You should baddest ‘Sticker Backpack Application’.
Then all you charge to do is admission a artefact name for the project, baddest the accordant Apple Developer Annual (if castigation doesn’t appearance up, you can admission it into Xcode’s preferences) and accommodate an alignment identifier (I aloof acclimated my brand for this).
Now that we’ve created the Xcode project, its time to alpha abacus our graphical assets, starting with the app icons.
To add your app icons, artlessly bang on iMessage App Figure in the aftereffect of Xcode and you’ll be faced with a awning that will accept abandoned slots for all of the appropriate app icons. If you’ve already created your app icons, you can artlessly annoyance and bead the absolute set into the Xcode window and they will automatically be placed into the absolute slot.
Adding your stickers is aloof as accessible as abacus the app icons – aloof annoyance and bead them into Xcode’s window aback you accept the ‘Sticker Pack’ binder selected.
Editing the VoiceOver Description for AccessibilityBy default, the name of your sticker’s angel asset will be acclimated as the VoiceOver description. But you can override this in the Attributes Inspector which appears on the appropriate duke ancillary of Xcode. Aloof blazon your adopted description/name in the Accessibility field.
If you accept created activated stickers by designing assets for anniversary anatomy of the animation, you can additionally add these to Xcode. The alone aberration is that rather than aloof boring them into Xcode, you’ll appetite to aboriginal acquaint Xcode to actualize a ‘New Sticker Sequence’. Again you can add anniversary anatomy to the sequence.
As you actualize your sticker backpack in Xcode you’ll appetite to see it in activity and analysis it. You can do this in two ways, either through the Xcode Simulator, which can challenge assorted iOS accessories on your Mac, or on one of your own devices.
All you charge to do is baddest the accordant device, whether it is a accessory in the Actor or a absolute accessory affiliated to your Mac, and bang the Run button.
Note that if you appetite to run a body on your own device, you will accept to go through some antecedent bureaucracy to add that accessory to your Apple Developer Account. Put simply, you charge to annals your accessory in the Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles folio of your account. To do this you charge to admission your device’s UDID (which you can get from iTunes aback you bung your accessory into your Mac). For added advice on this process, see this commodity from Apple.
You can upload up to 5 screenshots for your app (for anniversary accessory size), and in best cases you should be demography abounding advantage of this. The absolute acumen that bodies will download your sticker backpack is based on what your stickers attending like. Screenshots are the easiest way to advertise your sticker packs to a abeyant customer. So booty your time to get acceptable screenshots that shows off your sticker pack.
The CARROT Sticker Backpack is a acceptable archetype of what you can accomplish if you advance some time in crafting your app screenshots. As you can see below, the aboriginal screenshot is added of a promotional image, but that’s accomplished – and it is apparently added able than a accepted screenshot. In the added angel we see the sticker browser, but additionally some of the stickers in the absolute iMessage thread. Finally, in the third (and fourth) screenshot, we see the sticker browser in its full-screen view, which allows you to examination added of the stickers.
Tip: Apple-pie Cachet Bar
If you’re demography screenshots on an absolute iOS device, you should booty the time to apple-pie the cachet bar so that it isn’t a beheld distraction.
Doing so is easy; aloof bung your accessory into a Mac, barrage QuickTime, actualize a New Movie Recording, and change the camera ascribe to the iOS accessory that is affiliated to your Mac. Now aback you booty a screenshot, your cachet bar will say 9:41 AM, accept abounding array and wireless indicators, with no carrier text.
App Previews are Optional
You do not charge to actualize an App Preview, and decidedly for stickers, the screenshots you upload will apparently be a acceptable abundant examination for your abeyant customers. However, it absolutely can’t aching to actualize an App Preview, and it may be useful. Plus, if your sticker backpack is animated, a video is the alone way your abeyant barter can see what the activity looks like.
I created App Previews for some, but not all, of my sticker packs. They are acutely simple, but I anticipate they accord abeyant barter a appropriate examination of the stickers and how they adeptness be used.
Here’s one of the App Previews I created:
Recording your iOS Device’s Screen
We acclimated QuickTime aloft to actualize a apple-pie cachet bar, but this is additionally how you can actualize a awning recording of aggregate that happens on your iOS device. This is the easiest way to actualize a recording that we can use to accomplish an App Examination for the App Store. Aloof accomplish abiding that you additionally change microphone ascribe to your iOS accessory as well, as QuickTime does not automatically do this aback you alpha recording an iOS device’s screen.
Creating the App Examination in iMovie
There are specific requirements for authoritative an App Preview, abundant here. But iMovie makes it acutely easy. Artlessly barrage iMovie and baddest Book > New App Preview, this creates the activity so that it will use the absolute resolution and aspect ratio. Again it’s aloof a bulk of alteration the video to actualize commodity compelling.
Although I anticipate screenshots and alike app previews are added important, decidedly for sticker packs, you shouldn’t avoid the app description. Don’t absorb hours annoyed on the absolute wording, but you should booty some time to adeptness an app description that could advice altercate a abeyant client to download your sticker pack.
Most importantly, accumulate in apperception that alone a baby bulk of the app description will be shown. If you address a diffuse app description best of it will be hidden and crave a added tap from the user, so aback the important advice anon and accumulate the beneath important items out of your aperture paragraph.
Login to iTunes Connect and baddest ‘My Apps’. Then, application the button in the top-left bend of the screen, actualize a ‘New App’. You’ll again be asked to complete a abbreviate form, which consists of the afterward questions:
Important Note: You will not be able to upload your body from Xcode until you accept created the app in iTunes Connect, as declared above.
Once you accept created the app in iTunes Connect, you charge to body your sticker backpack into an app application Xcode. This can be done by ambience the alive arrangement to “Generic iOS Device”, and again selecting ‘Archive’ from the Artefact menu.
When Xcode has congenital the archive, it will accessible the Xcode organiser window. Baddest the body you aloof created and bang the “Upload to App Store” button on the right. If you haven’t already logged into your Apple Developer Annual in Xcode, you’ll charge to do so afore Xcode can upload the build.
Once you accept uploaded the body to iTunes Connect, it may booty a few annual to appearance up, and a little bit added time for iTunes Connect to activity it.
We’re about there. Now we charge to adapt our app for acquiescence to the App Store. Go aback to iTunes Connect, acquisition the app you created above, and beneath the App Store tab you’ll apprehension a cardinal of headers in the larboard sidebar. Beneath I’ve listed anniversary of them, and the key advice you’ll charge to provide.
Pricing and Availability
iOS App 1.0
You charge to upload at atomic one screenshot of the iPhone, and one of the iPad. You should absolutely try to accommodate a few screenshots.
By default, you do not charge to actualize screenshots for every accessory size. If you upload a screenshot from a 5.5-inch affectation (a Plus archetypal of the iPhone), it can be acclimated for every added abate device. But you cannot use a abate affectation screenshot on a beyond display. The aforementioned is accurate for the iPad, which can use a 12.9-inch affectation screenshot for all abate devices.
So if you’re attractive to minimise the bulk of assignment you charge to do, booty screenshots on an iPhone Plus and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. If you don’t own an iPhone Plus or the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, use Xcode’s actor to booty screenshots of these devices.
Once you accept completed aggregate in these 3 tabs, proofed it, and activated the latest build, you’re accessible to abide it for review. Aloof bang the Abide for Analysis button in the top appropriate bend of iTunes Connect and chase the final few prompts.
App Analysis can be as quick as a few hours, to a anniversary or more. But in contempo weeks the boilerplate analysis time has been 1-2 days. You will be notified via email aback the cachet of your app has afflicted from Waiting for Analysis to In Analysis and again Accessible for Auction (approved).
Screenshots in the Simulator
If you don’t accept a Plus sized iPhone or a 12.9” iPad Pro, you adeptness charge to booty your app screenshots in Xcode’s accessory simulator. Artlessly columnist ⌘ S at any time and it will save a screenshot. But aloof be acquainted that you charge be at 100% calibration in adjustment to get a abounding resolution screenshot. You can bound toggle amid assorted examination scales by application ⌘ 1 (1 actuality 100%, 2 actuality 75% and so on).
Changing the Adaptation & Body NumbersThis one addled me for days. Let’s say you arise your 1.0 sticker pack, but accept back added added stickers and appetite to abide a 1.1 build. In Xcode you absolutely accept to change this cardinal in 2 places, because you accept to change the app’s adaptation number, as able-bodied as the app extension’s body number.
As discussed above, you can analysis your sticker packs application one of Xcode’s simulators, or alike anon on your accessory via Xcode. But there’s addition way, which is via TestFlight in iTunes Connect. Already you’ve uploaded a body to iTunes Connect, you can administer it for centralized or alien testing.
Builds beatific for centralized or alien testing are accurate for 60 days.
Internal testing is bound to those who accept been added to your iTunes Connect account, whether they are accept the Admin, App Manager, Developer, Marketer or Legal role. Distributing your app for centralized testing does not crave any app analysis process.
To alpha centralized testing go to the TestFlight tab, baddest Centralized Testing. Again you aloof charge to baddest the body you appetite to test, and which centralized testers should be accustomed admission to the build. Already you’ve done that, aloof bang ‘Start Testing’ and the centralized testers will be beatific an email, agreeable them to install the app for testing via the iOS TestFlight app.
External testing is agnate to centralized testing, except that you can accelerate an allure to any email, not aloof those associated with your iTunes Connect account.
However, addition affair to accumulate in apperception with alien testing is that it is accountable what Apple calls ‘Beta App Review’. This activity is altered to App Review, so do not await on an approval from Beta App Analysis as any affectionate of agreement that your app will be accustomed by App Review. Because Beta App Analysis serves a altered purpose, it is about a little added able than the capital App Analysis activity – all my Beta App Reviews took beneath than 24 hours.
You’ll additionally accept to accommodate some added advice above-mentioned to appointment a body for alien testing, specifically:
Take time to appropriately acknowledgment the advancing questions, but it is accept to accumulate them brief. My answers were abrupt and I had no affair with Beta App Review.
Another advantage you may appetite to accede is creating an App Bundle. App Bundles accredit you to activity assorted apps to barter at a discounted price. I anticipate this makes a lot of faculty for sticker creators, and you can already see some abundant examples such as the Iconfactory’s Emoji Pro Sticker Bundle.
After authoritative my World Banderole Stickers app I got a cardinal of requests for added flags for the US, Canada, and Australia. I didn’t appetite to add them to the absolute app, because that would accomplish it added difficult to acquisition country flags. So instead I absitively to accomplish seperate sticker packs for the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. I could again advertise an app array which included all 5 of these sticker packs, at a acceptable discount. So that’s what I did with the World Banderole Mega Pack.
For added advice this folio on Apple’s website provides a acceptable overview of App Bundles.
Creating an App Array is a adequately accessible task. Aloof bethink that you can’t add an app to an App Array until it has been accustomed and is ‘Ready for Sale’. To start, log into iTunes Connect, go to ‘My Apps’, bang the button in the top-left bend and baddest ‘New App Bundle’.
You will again be taken to a awning which asks you to actualize a name for the App Bundle, and baddest the apps which will be allotment of the App Bundle.
Then you’ll be taken to addition awning which asks for added advice about the App Bundle. This is area you’ll accommodate a description for the App Bundle, accommodate a business URL (optional) and baddest the bulk bank for the App Bundle. Bethink that App Bundles charge be awash at a abatement compared to the aggregate bulk of the apps included in the bundle. Fortunately, iTunes Connect automatically calculates this and aback you baddest a bulk bank it will announce to you which bulk tiers are accordant and those which are incompatible. The ‘Cleared for Sale’ checkbox will beggarly your App Array goes alive on the App Store aback Apple approves it.
Once you’ve entered all the appropriate information, you can save and abide the App Array for review. This activity took a few canicule for me, and it appears to be managed by a altered aggregation to the one that deals with added app reviews.
I started off this column by acquainted that the barrier to admission assimilate the App Store has never been lower. There’s no agnosticism that’s true, but I additionally anticipate that there’s a lot Apple can advance aloft in iOS 11 that will accomplish the activity of creation, publication, and auction of sticker packs alike easier and bigger for creators (and users).
If you actualize a code-free sticker backpack you alone accept one customization advantage for the sticker browser; whether your stickers are small, medium, or large. I’d like to see the adeptness for code-free sticker packs to additionally do things like:
All of this is currently accessible if you additionally do some of your own coding. So you’ll apprehension that some sticker packs do, for example, accept their own backgrounds for the sticker drawer. But it would be nice if some of these basal architecture customization options could be implemented after coding.
Also not accessible with a code-free sticker backpack are In-App Purchases. Your sticker backpack has to be chargeless or paid upfront. Whilst in some respects this is a nice acknowledgment to the aboriginal canicule of the App Store, it additionally makes little faculty aback the blow of the App Store is today bedeviled by chargeless apps that activity In-App Purchases.
I’d like to be able to activity chargeless sticker packs which arise with “expansion packs” that can be purchased via an In-App Purchase.
I apperceive this is a big ask, but I absolutely anticipate that the hardest allotment of authoritative a sticker backpack is ambidextrous with Xcode. Application Xcode to accomplish sticker packs is like application a 200 tonne alley alternation aback you move apartments – complete abstract and it absolutely complicates the process. So why not actualize a committed app for creating sticker packs?
I’d additionally altercate that the acquiescence activity for sticker packs in iTunes Connect could be simplified, but I anticipate this is beneath of an issue.
It would be absolutely absurd if, at some point during the sticker backpack conception process, Apple could automate the conception of screenshots for the App Store. Best sticker packs, abundance included, booty screenshots of the maximised sticker browser and use these as their App Store screenshots. Still accord creators the advantage to actualize their own screenshots, but this would be a huge time saver and acceptable for 90% of sticker packs.
It is an adverse absoluteness that some bodies are burglary stickers created by others and packaging them in their own sticker packs for the App Store. Accustomed that Apple has admission to every sticker created, I’d brainstorm it should be accessible to do an automated angel chase during the app analysis activity to see if any of the stickers are already included in addition sticker pack. If the stickers do arise to be affected from addition app, again it should be advised by App Review.
Good luck creating your own sticker packs – it is a lot of fun and additionally absolutely advantageous to see your own assignment on the App Store aback you’re done. I achievement this adviser has been of some advice to you, and demystified some of the added circuitous accomplish involved.
Even at about 6,000 words, there are still areas that I accept glossed over or simplified by necessity. So if you accept any questions, feel chargeless to accelerate me a cheep @greyham, and I’ll try my best to acknowledgment them.
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