Exar Lab

Publish an Expo React Native App to the App Store


This guide assumes that you are using React Native with Expo. React Native is a flavor of the frontend web framework React that allows you to write mobile code in Javascript for both Android, iOS and even the web all at once. Expo is a platform for React Native development with plenty of developer friendly tooling.

Expo comes with a CLI app that installs through npm. The platform also provides many useful packages like local storage and even push notification services to use in your app.


Getting on the app store is a long and painful process. I’m sorry, but this is the way that Steve Jobs wanted it. Here’s some of the things you have to do. Steps 1 and 3 are only for accounts that are not sole proprietors.

  1. Form an LLC
  2. Pay the $99 YEARLY Apple Developer fee
  3. Acquire a D.U.N.S number (You can do this through Apple)

Only after you’ve done these will you be enrolled in the Apple Developer Program.


First, you may need to adjust your app.json file in the root of your project. Be sure to adjust the name and the slug of your project.

Here’s an example with my app.json.

  "expo": {
    "name": <YOUR APP NAME>,
    "slug": <SOMESLUG>,
    "version": "2.0.1",
    "privacy": "unlisted",
    "orientation": "portrait",
    "icon": "./assets/icon.png",
    "userInterfaceStyle": "light",
    "splash": {
      "image": "./assets/splash.png",
      "resizeMode": "contain",
      "backgroundColor": "#ffffff"

expo services

Next if you haven’t already, you should install eas-cli. EAS is Expo Application Services. This will help you build, submit, and update your app and will be the primary way you interact with Apple’s App Store Connect.

Install it with npm install -g eas-cli

After installing you must log in to your Expo account.

eas login

Provide your Expo credentials.

You can check if you are properly logged in with eas whoami

configure project

Expo does some special magic to turn your javascript code into natively executable code on a phone. In order to do this, we need to configure your project.


eas build:configure

and select iOS.

You should now see a eas.json file in the root of your project directory. We’ll add some information to this later.

build project

Building should be simple now.


eas build --platform ios

You will be asked for a bundle identifier. It is a unique string used to identify your app. Something like com.your.app.name works just fine.

Next you will be asked to log into your Apple developer account. Please do this. It will automate the process greatly.

Following that, you will be asked if you would like to generate a Apple Distribution Certificate. This certificate just states that the application was built on a certain computer, (your computer) and has not been tampered with. Say yes.

Same for Apple provisioning profile. Say yes.

Your may be asked for more or less things. Push notifications etc. I would say yes to most of these things except in special cases.

Eventually your terminal will show you that your build is queued up, or is building. Just be patient. This might take a awhile. 5 hours for me the last time I tried.

If you want to check on the progress, you can by clicking the link shown.

prepare app store connect

On your browser, sign into your Apple developer account and find your way to App Store Connect.

Select My Apps and add an iOS app. Enter all the appropriate information that is needed. Go ahead and make a SKU however you’d like to.

You should now have a blank page for your app.

In order to be considered for review, you must provide screenshots of your app working, a test user’s sign-in credentials, age ratings, etc.

Fill out as much information as you can on the App Information, Pricing and Availability, App Privacy tabs.

For App Privacy, you will need to create a privacy policy even if you don’t collect any user data. If you want to do this quickly you can use PrivacyPolicies.com It costs about $62, but is immediately available.

For Screenshots you will need to use screenshots that are the dimensions of the iPhone 11 Max and the iPhone 8 Max screens. Just load your app in the Simulator with these phones and take 3 screenshots.

Now all that’s left is submitting/uploading your build.

submit/upload your build

This is where some terminology will get quite confusing. So follow along close!

In this step we will submit your build to Apple App Store Connect, but this is NOT the final App Store submission. It is merely just sending your built code to Apple.

Before we can send our build, we need to change some things in eas.json.

In the submit.production.ios object you will need to add.

  1. appleId (Your apple id email)
  2. ascAppId (Found in App Store Connect under the App Information tab as Apple ID)
  3. appleTeamId (Found in the Apple Developer Dashboard under the Membership as Team ID tab)
  "submit": {
    "production": {
      "ios": {
        "appleId": "<YOUR APPLE ID EMAIL>",
        "ascAppId": "<APPLE APP ID>",
        "appleTeamId": "<APPLE DEVELOPER TEAM ID>"

You can send the latest build of your code to Apple using the EAS cli

run eas submit --platform ios --latest

Choose to add a new ASC API key and log in to your Apple Account. After a few minutes your build should have been submitted to Apple.

Check your App Store Connect TestFlight page if the build is there under the TestFlight tab. It may take a few more minutes for it to show up.

Under status, you will be told the build is missing compliance. ~DON’T WORRY~ Hit manage and select No if you aren’t using encryption. (You probably aren’t)

internal testing on testflight

You are ready to start internal testing!

Internal testing is just testing the app build on TestFlight, but only for members of your Apple Developer Team.

Hit the plus button on the Internal Testing tab to create a new group and send email invites to users that are within your Apple Developer Team.

external testing on testflight

To get external testing started your build must pass some review by Apple. The review process automatically starts after you create an external testing group.

This takes about 24-48 hours to complete. Under external testing, your build should have a status “waiting for review”. Just be patient.

In the meantime, you can tentatively add your beta testers’ emails to the group with their names. Once the review passes, they will be automatically invited to download the app through testflight.

app store release

Once again we are on the App Store Connect App Store page. Under the build section, select the build that you previously uploaded. Save the information and submit for review.

Good luck! You will most likely get some push back from Apple. Try your best to answer any of the questions they have.

Let me know if you have any questions about this article or if anything was unclear at [email protected]