One of the aspects of iPad app development that can have a developer gritting their teeth is getting set up to do proper code signing to build apps and port them to iPad for testing. And as if doing it once wasn’t enough, the horror grows when it comes time to renew the developer’s certificate.
How to develop apps for iPad
Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t notify you when your certificate expires, so the first thing that hits you is an error telling you that your iPad doesn’t have a proper profile installed on it. This can throw you into a loop because the model itself may not have expired, but if the certificate it’s linked to has expired, the model will stop working.
Finding out that the developer’s certificate has expired is half the battle. The other half are successfully getting a new setup and attached to their profiles. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to get everything back up and running properly:
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- Request a new certificate. This is done in the Keychain Access app, which you can find by going into your Mac’s applications and clicking on the Utilities folder.
- Within Keychain Access, you will see the certificates listed. The certificates required for development will be named something like “iPhone Developer: [name]” and “iPhone Distribution: [name]”. They will also have a red circle with an X in the center indicating that they have expired. You’ll want to remove expired certificates, otherwise you may have trouble signing your applications’ code.
- Once you have removed the expired certificates, you will need to generate a file requesting a new one. To do this, go to Keychain Access -> Certificate Assistant -> Request a Certificate from a Certificate Authority.
- Enter a valid email address, your name and select “Saved to disk” from the options. Click Continue to save the file.
- Go to the Certificates section of the iOS Provisioning Portal to upload the file and receive a valid certificate. Once you’ve uploaded it, you’ll have to wait a few minutes and refresh the screen for it to cast. Do not download the certificate for now.
- Select the Distribution tab in the Certificates section and follow the same process to ensure that you also have a certificate to distribute applications. Once again, wait to download the certificate for now.
- Go to the Provisioning section of the iOS Provisioning Portal.
- Choose to edit and modify the profile you want to use to sign your apps.
- On the Modify screen, make sure there is a checkmark next to your new certificate and submit your changes.
- Click on the Distribution tab and follow the same process with your distribution profile. Once again, wait to download these profiles.
- Launch the iPhone setup utility.
- Go to the Provisioning Profiles screen in iPhone Configuration Utility and delete your current Provisioning Profile and Distribution Profile, even if they haven’t expired yet. You want to replace them with your new models attached to the new certificate.
- Now that we’ve removed the code layout certificate and profiles from your Mac, we can start downloading the new versions.
- Go back to the Provisioning section and download both your provisioning profile and your distribution profile. Once downloaded, you only need to double-click the files to install them into the setup utility.
- Go back to the Certificates section and download the new certificates for your development and distribution. Once again, just double-click the files to install them into Keychain Access.
And that’s it. You should be ready to install test apps on your iPad again and successfully submit them to the Apple App Store. A key part of these steps is cleaning up old files to ensure that Xcode or your third-party development platform doesn’t confuse old files with new ones. This avoids a huge headache when troubleshooting the process.