Distribution Certificates are digital certificates you request and download. They are electronic documents that associate your digital identity with other information, including your name, email address, or business. This key allows Xcode to sign your iOS application binary. All iOS applications must be signed by a valid certificate before they can be run on an Apple device. We sign all our application with Distribution certificates rather than Developer certificates so we can upload to the App Store and distribute your application there.
To create a Distribution Certificate, please follow the instructions below:
Step 1: Obtaining your CertificateSigningRequest (CSR)
- Open Keychain Access (MAC only)
- Click on Keychain Access in the menu
- Choose Certificate Authority → Request a Certificate from a Certificate Authority…
- Enter your User Email Address (can be the same as you provided for your Apple Developer Account)
- Enter a Common Name (can be your company name)
- Enter your CA Email Address (can be the same as your User Email Address)
- Choose Saved to Disk
- Click continue and save the CSR to a specified folder. Make sure you remember where you save this file, as you will need it in the next step, and you should keep this file for future reference.
Step 2: Creating your Distribution Certificate
- Navigate to the iOS Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles in your Apple Developer account.
- Under iOS Apps choose Certificates. You will now be shown All, Pending, Development and Production options.
- Click the + (plus) icon at the top right of the page.
- Out of the options provided, choose PRODUCTION > App Store and Ad Hoc.
- Click Continue. You will now be shown some details on how to obtain the certificate that you already created in Step 1.
- Click Continue.
- Select your CSR file from Step 1 and upload it.
You will then observe that your Certificate is Pending Issuance.
- Click refresh in your browser once or twice, until the Certificate allows you to download it - it will change from Pending Issuance to Download
- Download and store this certificate file with your .csr file from step 1.
Step 3: Creating a .p12 file of the Distribution Certificate
You can find instructions on how to create a .p12 file from your distribution certificate here.