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Uploading your app to TestFlight after Exporting from Draftbit

Once you've finished building your app, the next thing to do is to get it on the App Store and start sharing it with the world. This guide will show you how to get your app onto TestFlight so you can start distributing your app for testing right before submitting it for App Store review and approval.

To follow along with this tutorial you'll need to have:

  • A Draftbit Pro plan (to access the full project code export)
  • An Expo account + Expo CLI installed (run the command npm install -g expo-cli)
  • Java installed (run the command java --version to see if it's installed — if you don't have it, you can install it from here)
  • An Apple Developer account
  • Transporter installed (there are other ways to upload your app to App Store Connect, we're just using Transporter in this example)

Export out of Draftbit

Once you've finished your app inside of Draftbit, click the </> Code button at the top-right corner of the Builder to launch the View Code modal. Click the Export App button at the bottom-right of the View Code modal to download a .zip of your project.

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After you've unzipped your file, navigate into the project directory in the command line. Once you're inside the directory, run yarn install or npm install to install all of the necessary dependencies.

Check app.json configuration

Open your project in the code editor of your choice and check its app.json to make sure you've set:

  • the ios.bundleIdentifier and android.bundleIdentifier (pictured below are the defaults, make sure that yours does not start with com.draftbit)
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Make sure to only include letters, numbers, periods(.), and hyphens (-) in your identifiers. Also, make sure it's in reverse-DNS format. Read more about that here.

  • Your app's name, version, and icon

Expo has provided a list of best practices to follow when preparing your app for deployment that you may want to take a look at and confirm before you begin your app's build.

Begin Building for Test Flight

Back in the command line, run expo build:ios. This will launch a series of prompts that you can answer like so:

  1. "Choose the build type you would like" → archive
  2. "Do you have access to the Apple account that will be used for submitting this app to the App Store?" → yes
  3. "Apple ID" → YOUR APPLE ID CONNECTED TO THE DEVELOPER ACCOUNT
  4. "Would you like to use this certificate?" → yes
  5. "Would you like to use this Push Key?" → yes
  6. "Will you provide your own Apple Provisioning Profile?" → Let Expo handle the process
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After answering the above, a Project Credential Configuration will appear in the command line that you should copy and paste somewhere to save as a backup.

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Next, Expo will begin the build. You'll receive a message that says:

Build started, it may take a few minutes to complete.
You can check the queue length at https://expo.io/turtle-status

If you go to the above status page, you'll see a dashboard that will let you know how long your build will take (this can be anywhere from a few minutes to up to an hour).

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If you look at your Expo account, you'll also see your app appear under Recent Builds.

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Once this process is finished, you'll see this message appear in the terminal with a link to your app. Copy and paste this link in your browser to download your app's .ipa (you'll need this to upload it to TestFlight).

Build finished.

Successfully built standalone app: https://expo.io/artifacts/xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxx

Create a new app in App Store Connect

Once the build is complete, go over to App Store Connect, click the blue plus button and select 'New App'. A modal will launch where you can enter some basic information about your app.

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Upload your app to Test Flight

The last thing to do is upload your app's .ipa file to Test Flight.

Open up Transporter, click ADD APP and add your .ipa file. Click DELIVER . This process will take a few minutes. Once it's finished, the "Active" header in Transporter will switch to "Delivered".

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Once the process has been finished, you can go back to your app in App Store Connect, go to the "TestFlight" tab, and you'll see your app's first version appear. Click into your app and you'll be able to start creating groups and inviting testers!

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Not comfortable working in the command line and getting your app onto TestFlight on your own? We can help! Fill out this questionnaire and someone from our team will get back to you to discuss how we can work together to deploy your app.