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Uploading Apps to the Apple App Store and Google Play

Disclaimer: This feature works properly only on macOS.
This guide will help you upload your Expo standalone apps to Apple TestFlight and to Google Play. You'll need a paid developer account for each platform for which you wish to upload and publish an app. You can create an Apple Developer account on Apple's developer site and a Google Play Developer account on the Google Play Console sign-up page.

To learn how to build native binaries, see Building Standalone Apps or Building Standalone Apps on Your CI.

To upload the previously built standalone app to the appropriate app store, you simply run expo upload:android or expo upload:ios. However, you have a few options for choosing which app binary you want to upload (remember to choose one at the time):
  • --latest - chosen by default, uploads the latest build for the given platform found on the Expo servers
  • --id <id> - uploads a build with the given ID
  • --path <path> - uploads a build from the local file system

Important: You have to create a Google Service Account and download its JSON private key. After that, you'll have to create an app on the Google Play Console and upload your app manually at least once.

  1. Click the Settings menu entry, followed by API access.
  2. Click the CREATE SERVICE ACCOUNT button. If you see a message saying API access is not enabled for your account, you must first link your Google Play developer account with a Google Developer Project. On this page, either link it to an existing project if you have one, or click CREATE NEW PROJECT to link with a new one.
  3. Follow the Google API Console link in the dialog
    1. Click the CREATE SERVICE ACCOUNT button
    2. Enter the name of this service account in the field titled "Service account name". We recommend a name that will make it easy for you to remember that it is for your Google Play Console account. Also, enter the service account ID and description of your choice.
    3. Click Select a role and choose Service Accounts > ServiceAccount User
    4. Check the Furnish a new private key checkbox
    5. Make sure the "Key type" field is set to JSON
    6. Click SAVE to close the dialog
    7. Make a note of the filename of the JSON file downloaded to your computer. You'll need this to upload your app later. Be sure to keep this JSON file secure, as it provides API access to your Google Play developer account.
  4. Return to the API access page on the Google Play Console and ensure it shows your new service account.
  5. Click on Grant Access for the newly added service account
  6. Choose Release Manager from the newly added service account
  7. Click ADD USER to close the dialog

Before using expo-cli for uploading your standalone app builds, you have to upload your app manually at least once. See here for the instructions on how to do it.

After these steps, you can make use of expo-cli to upload your further app builds to Google Play.
To upload your Android app to Google Play, run expo upload:android. You can set following options when uploading an Android standalone app:
  • --key <key> (required) - path to the JSON key used to authenticate with the Google Play Store (created in the previous steps)
  • --track <track> - the track of the application to use, choose from: production, beta, alpha, internal, rollout (default: internal)

To upload your iOS app to TestFlight, run expo upload:ios. You can set following options when uploading an iOS standalone app:
  • --apple-id <apple-id> (required) - your Apple ID login. Alternatively you can set the EXPO_APPLE_ID environment variable.
  • --apple-id-password <apple-id-password> (required) - your Apple ID password. Alternatively you can set the EXPO_APPLE_ID_PASSWORD environment variable.
  • --app-name <app-name> - your app display name, will be used to name an app on App Store Connect
  • --sku <sku> - a unique ID for your app that is not visible on the App Store, will be generated unless provided
  • --language <language> - primary language (e.g. English, German; run expo upload:ios --help to see the list of available languages) (default: English)

In order to see your app on Testflight, you will first need to submit your .IPA file to Apple using Application loader. In order to do this, there are a few prequisite steps which you may not have followed previously if this is your first app submission to Apple:
  1. Make sure you have logged into iTunes connect at least once with your Apple ID and accepted the terms.
  2. Generate an app specific password by going to Accounts > Manage > Generate App Specific Password. Make a note of this password as it will be needed later.
  3. Start XCode but do not load any project
  4. From the XCode menu in the menu bar, select 'Open Developer Tool' and then 'Application Loader'
  5. Once Application Loader launches, login with your Apple ID and the app specific password generated in step 3
  6. Follow the steps to agree to the necessary terms.
  7. Once you have agreed to all terms, double-click on the light-grey panel in the center (above the words 'Deliver Your App').
  8. Follow the steps to upload your IPA to Apple.
You can check the status of your app submission to TestFlight in App Store Connect (http://appstoreconnect.apple.com):
  1. Login to http://appstoreconnect.apple.com with your Apple ID and regular password (NOT your app specific password)
  2. Select 'My Apps' and you should see your app listed.
  3. Click 'TestFlight' from the menu bar at the top.
  4. This will show your current app builds that are available for testing.
  5. In order to test the app on your device, you will need to install the TestFlight iOS app from the App Store, and sign in using your Apple ID.