How to Set Up Your Development Certificate and Profile

Codecademy Team
Learn how to create the identifiers that are essential for publication in the App Store.

In this article, we will walk through how to set up your development certificate and provisioning profile. A development certificate is how Apple devices verify that your App comes from a trusted source and is required in order to publish your App! We will also walk through setting up a provisioning profile, which is a manifest of all the developers and devices that are linked to your account. Apple has streamlined the setup process for these two files so you won’t even need to open them. Once you’ve set them up, Xcode does the rest.

Linking Your Developer Account

To get started, you will need to add your Apple Developer credentials to Xcode. You can link to your Developer credentials by selecting “Preferences” from the Xcode menu option, or with the keyboard shortcut

From here, click the “Accounts” tab and then the “+” sign in the bottom left side. This will prompt you to enter your Apple ID; be sure you are using the ID that is linked to your Developer account! Accounts Tab for Setting up Account

Creating the Bundle ID

After successfully signing in, you need to set up some information that will allow Apple to identify your App. You will need to assign a Bundle ID, which is a unique identifier for your App. You can assign the Bundle ID directly from Xcode. Click the outermost file in your Project navigator, the blue-icon “Project” file. In this new screen, make sure you’ve selected your App in the “Targets” section.

Project Target

In the “General” tab, the “Identity” section lists the Bundle ID. You can edit it directly in that section. The typical Bundle ID is named for your App and your organization with the Reverse Domain Name format: com.{your-org-identifier}.{your-app-identifier}. For example, the Pink Rocket app from Star Rockers Industries might have the Bundle ID com.starrockers.pinkrocket.

Identity Bundle ID

Generating a Development Certificate

Once your Bundle ID has been added, Xcode will be able to generate a Development Certificate for you. With your App still selected in the “Targets” section, select the “Signing & Capabilities” tab.

Signing, but still needs a team

Tap the “Team” selector and select your Apple ID from the list. Make sure that the “Automatically manage signing” option is checked, and that your name appears in the “Team” section. Once these options are entered correctly, you should see some loading indicators; Xcode is reaching out to the Developer Portal to create a certificate for you. If you don’t see error text after the loading indicators disappear, that means the certificate exists. Xcode handles this process automatically!

Signing with a team

Creating a Provisioning Profile

In order to run your App onto a personal device and build it for the App Store, you will also need a Provisioning Profile. At this point in the walk-through, the profile can be created automatically from Xcode as well.

Signing without a provisioning profile

Apple needs to add one device to your account in order to create a profile. This can be done via plugging an iOS device into your computer, then picking it in the devices selector. This process will resolve any potential errors you may have encountered in the previous step.

Device Selection

Wrap up

With no errors on the “Signing and Capabilities” page, you now have your development certificate and provisioning profile. Congratulations! In the next article, we will show you how to turn your code into a file that can be downloaded as your App!