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Version: v2 (current)

Deploy to the App Store

This guide is intended to help with automating iOS builds and uploads to the App Store. This guide assumes that you already have experience with using Xcode for distribution. It is important to be familiar with the manual process, as automating this process can be complicated.

-- Note: Make sure you do all these steps carefully.

-- Note: If you use GitHub Actions and fastlane to generate your certificates, you will not need a Mac environment, but a Mac is still recommended for debugging any issues with this workflow.

Conceptual overview

This guide walks you through two separate processes: setting up codesigning for your game, and then building it.

When you build your Unity project for iOS, Unity will produce an Xcode project that needs to be built using Xcode on a Mac. In order to upload your app to the App Store, TestFlight, or a third-party beta distribution service, you will first need to build it in Xcode and then code-sign it.

We will be using a tool called fastlane to facilitate building, codesigning, and uploading your iOS build.

fastlane will manage building your game in Xcode and uploading it to Apple. The fastlane match tool will generate and manage your code-signing identities and certificates, communicating with Apple via API and then storing your codesigning identities and certificates securely in a private git repo.

1. Install fastlane

To configure fastlane for your GitHub Actions workflow runners, you will need to locally set up a Gemfile and Fastfile within your project. A Gemfile specifies what Ruby dependencies are needed to set up and run fastlane (which is written in Ruby), and a Fastfile will be how you configure your iOS build settings. We will set up the Gemfile now, and the Fastfile in a later step.

You will need your local machine to have Ruby installed, as well as Bundler. If you have Ruby installed but are unsure if you have Bundler, you can run the following to install it:

gem install bundler

From there, create a file called Gemfile in the root of your git repository with following content:

Gemfile
source "https://rubygems.org"
gem "fastlane"
gem 'fastlane-plugin-github_action', git: "https://github.com/joshdholtz/fastlane-plugin-github_action" # The published gem is missing necessary changes, so we need to link directly to the git repo

If you prefer to manually generate certificates using Match from the command-line on a local Mac instead of handling everything through GitHub Actions, you can omit the last fastlane-plugin-github-action line.

Run bundle install. This will create an additional Gemfile.lock file in the root of your project.

Commit both Gemfile and Gemfile.lock to your repo.

-- Note: Depending on your local OS you might need to run bundle lock --add-platform x86_64-linux and bundle lock --add-platform x86_64-darwin-19 commands in order to add the required platforms to Gemfile.lock file. Be sure to commit the Gemfile.lock after running these commands.

2. Generate an App Store Connect API Key

In order for fastlane match to fetch and validate your codesigning certificates, it needs to authenticate you with Apple. All Apple IDs now require two-factor authentication to be enabled, which means you need to manually enter a 2FA code when logging in. This is fine if you're running match locally on your own machine, but is a problem on an automated CI system.

To work around this, you will need to generate an App Store Connect API key, which match can use to authenticate you with Apple without manual 2FA input while running on CI.

While not required, it is recommended you use a separate Apple ID just for CI purposes. Create one if you haven't already.

Next, go to https://appstoreconnect.apple.com/access/users and log in. Go to the "Keys" tab and click the plus sign (+) to generate a new set of keys. Enter a name and select "Developer" access. Once it's been generated, click the "Download API key" link, which will download a file. Note you can only download this once.

Create three new Repository Secrets in your project GitHub repo by going to Settings -> Secrets and clicking the "New repository secret" button in the top-right. Use the following names and values:

  • APPSTORE_KEY_ID should contain the "Key ID" from the table row
  • APPSTORE_ISSUER_ID is your issuer ID from the top of the page
  • APPSTORE_P8 is the entire contents of the .p8 file you downloaded, starting with -----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY----- and ending with -----END PRIVATE KEY-----

3. Prepare to use fastlane match

The Match setup we are configuring uses a common workflow that is likely to be a good fit for many GameCI users. However, there are a number of different ways you can set up Match, and we recommend reading the Match documentation and codesigning guide in their entirety.

First, create a private GitHub repository to store your certificates.

If your Apple Developer account is messy and has lots of invalid, expired, or Xcode-managed profiles and certificates, you may optionally want to use Match to initially clean out your old developer portal by running bundle exec fastlane match development and bundle exec fastlane match production on a local Mac. This will delete Apple codesigning identities and certificates and may break any existing workflows. It is NOT recommended if your project shares an Apple Developer account with other projects or teams at your company.

4. Manage codesigning with GitHub Actions

This section will configure GitHub Actions to manually generate your code-signing identities and certificates and store them in your private git repo. If you prefer to manually manage your certificates from the command-line, skip this section.

Within your project directory, create a directory called fastlane, and then create a file in that directory called Fastfile.

fastlane/Fastfile

org, repo = (ENV["GITHUB_REPOSITORY"]||"").split("/")
match_org, match_repo = (ENV["MATCH_REPOSITORY"]||"").split("/")

platform :ios do
lane :init_ci do
setup_ci
github_action(
api_token: ENV["GH_PAT"],
org: org,
repo: repo,
match_org: match_org,
match_repo: match_repo,
writable_deploy_key: true
)
end

desc "Sync codesigning certificates"
lane :sync_certificates do
app_store_connect_api_key(
key_id: ENV["APPSTORE_KEY_ID"],
issuer_id: ENV["APPSTORE_ISSUER_ID"],
key_content: ENV['APPSTORE_P8']
)

match(
type: "appstore",
storage_mode: "git",
git_url: "git@github.com:#{match_org}/#{match_repo}.git",
app_identifier: ENV["IOS_BUNDLE_ID"]
)
end

end

When fastlane initially sets up your repo and certificates, it will generate a deploy token that allows programmatic write access to your Match repo, and store that token as a Repository Secret in your project repo. In order for our script to do that, you will need to first generate a GitHub Personal Access Token. Go to https://github.com/settings/tokens, click "Generate new token". It needs all "repo" permissions. Give it a suitable name, as well as choosing if you want your token to expire. After doing this and clicking "Generate token", GitHub will show you your token.

In your project repo, add a Repository Secrets by going to Settings -> Secrets and clicking the "New repository secret" button in the top-right. Call it GH_PAT, and set the value to the personal access token you just generated.

Create two more Repository Secrets. One should be called MATCH_REPOSITORY and contain the the private GitHub repository you've created to use with fastlane match, in the format organization/repository. The second should be called MATCH_PASSWORD, and contain a password to encrypt the Match repo. It's recommended you use a team password manager or similar shared secure keystore to both generate and store this password.

Next, create the following two GitHub Actions workflows.

.github/workflows/ios_setup.yml
name: iOS One-Time Setup

on: workflow_dispatch

jobs:
setup:
runs-on: ubuntu-latest
steps:
- uses: actions/checkout@v2
- uses: ruby/setup-ruby@v1
with:
ruby-version: 2.6
bundler-cache: true

- name: Build iOS
shell: bash
run: |
bundle exec fastlane ios init_ci
env:
APPSTORE_ISSUER_ID: ${{ secrets.APPSTORE_ISSUER_ID }}
APPSTORE_KEY_ID: ${{ secrets.APPSTORE_KEY_ID }}
APPSTORE_P8: ${{ secrets.APPSTORE_P8 }}

GH_PAT: ${{ secrets.GH_PAT }}
GITHUB_REPOSITORY: ${{ env.GITHUB_REPOSITORY }}
MATCH_REPOSITORY: ${{ secrets.MATCH_REPOSITORY }}
.github/workflows/generate_certs.yml
name: Generate iOS Certs

on:
workflow_run:
workflows: ['iOS One-Time Setup']
types:
- completed
workflow_dispatch:

jobs:
generate_certs:
runs-on: macos-latest
steps:
- uses: actions/checkout@v2
- uses: ruby/setup-ruby@v1
with:
ruby-version: 2.6
bundler-cache: true

- name: Build iOS
shell: bash
run: |
eval "$(ssh-agent -s)"
ssh-add - <<< "${MATCH_DEPLOY_KEY}"
bundle exec fastlane ios sync_certificates
env:
APPSTORE_ISSUER_ID: ${{ secrets.APPSTORE_ISSUER_ID }}
APPSTORE_KEY_ID: ${{ secrets.APPSTORE_KEY_ID }}
APPSTORE_P8: ${{ secrets.APPSTORE_P8 }}

IOS_BUNDLE_ID: ${{ secrets.IOS_BUNDLE_ID }}

GH_PAT: ${{ secrets.GH_PAT }}
GITHUB_REPOSITORY: ${{ env.GITHUB_REPOSITORY }}
MATCH_REPOSITORY: ${{ secrets.MATCH_REPOSITORY }}
MATCH_DEPLOY_KEY: ${{ secrets.MATCH_DEPLOY_KEY }}
MATCH_PASSWORD: ${{ secrets.MATCH_PASSWORD }}

The first workflow will set up your Match repository. It creates a deploy key in that repo, and stores it in your main repo, so that future GitHub Actions are capable of programmatically pushing changes to that git repo.

The second one fetches your certificates with Apple, and stores any updates in your private Match git repo. This will run automatically after you run the first workflow, but it also can be manually re-run when your initial certificates expire a year or two after generation.

Go to the "Actions" tab in your GitHub repository, and manually run the "iOS One-Time Setup" action by selecting it from the list on the left, clicking the "Run Workflow" button, and then clicking the next "Run Workflow" button after confirming the branch is correct. This will run both of those two workflows, configuring your Match git repository and then generating certificates with Apple.

-- Note: If Generate iOS Certs causes an Unknown platform issue, go into the Gemfile.lock file and under PLATFORMS delete any lines that are not x86_64-darwin-19 or x86_64-linux. Don't forget to commit and push the file before running the action again.

4b. Manage codesigning manually on your Mac

If you followed the previous set of instructions in step 4, skip to the next section. If you would prefer to manually manage your certificates from the command-line instead of using Match via GitHub Actions, do the following.

From the command-line on your Mac, run the following to generate new Development and Distribution certificates. It will ask you for the Apple ID and password of your new shared Apple ID, the URL of the git repository you have just created, and a password to encrypt the contents of the git repo. You will need to use this password later; it's recommended you use a team-wide password manager or similar shared secure keystore to both generate and store this password.

bundle exec fastlane match development
bundle exec fastlane match appstore

5. Configure fastlane to build

At this point, you will have a private git repository that contains new valid codesigning identities and certificates. From here, you need to configure fastlane to know how to build your Xcode project. Create a new file within the fastlane folder called Appfile, and either create or replace the contents of the Fastfile you may have created in a previous step.

fastlane/Appfile
for_platform :ios do
app_identifier(ENV['IOS_BUNDLE_ID'])

apple_dev_portal_id(ENV['APPLE_DEVELOPER_EMAIL'])
itunes_connect_id(ENV['APPLE_CONNECT_EMAIL'])

team_id(ENV['APPLE_TEAM_ID'])
itc_team_id(ENV['APPLE_TEAM_ID'])
end
fastlane/Fastfile
org, repo = (ENV["GITHUB_REPOSITORY"]||"").split("/")
match_org, match_repo = (ENV["MATCH_REPOSITORY"]||"").split("/")

platform :ios do
lane :init_ci do
github_action(
api_token: ENV["GH_PAT"],
org: org,
repo: repo,
match_org: match_org,
match_repo: match_repo,
writable_deploy_key: true
)
end

desc "Sync codesigning certificates"
lane :sync_certificates do
app_store_connect_api_key(
key_id: ENV["APPSTORE_KEY_ID"],
issuer_id: ENV["APPSTORE_ISSUER_ID"],
key_content: ENV['APPSTORE_P8']
)

match(
type: "appstore",
storage_mode: "git",
git_url: "git@github.com:#{match_org}/#{match_repo}.git",
app_identifier: ENV["IOS_BUNDLE_ID"]
)
end

desc "Deliver a new Release build to the App Store"
lane :release do
build
upload_to_app_store
end

desc "Deliver a new Beta build to Apple TestFlight"
lane :beta do
# Missing Export Compliance can also be set through Deliverfile
update_info_plist(
xcodeproj: "#{ENV['IOS_BUILD_PATH']}/iOS/Unity-iPhone.xcodeproj",
plist_path: 'Info.plist',
block: proc do |plist|
plist['ITSAppUsesNonExemptEncryption'] = false
end
)
build
upload_to_testflight(skip_waiting_for_build_processing: true)
end

desc "Create .ipa"
lane :build do
setup_ci

sync_certificates

# Unity has specific requirements around codesigning that we have to handle
# See https://github.com/fastlane/fastlane/discussions/17458 for context
update_code_signing_settings(
use_automatic_signing: true,
path: "#{ENV['IOS_BUILD_PATH']}/iOS/Unity-iPhone.xcodeproj"
)

update_code_signing_settings(
use_automatic_signing: false,
team_id: ENV["sigh_#{ENV['IOS_BUNDLE_ID']}_appstore_team-id"],
code_sign_identity: 'iPhone Distribution',
targets: 'Unity-iPhone',
path: "#{ENV['IOS_BUILD_PATH']}/iOS/Unity-iPhone.xcodeproj",
profile_name: ENV["sigh_#{ENV['IOS_BUNDLE_ID']}_appstore_profile-name"],
profile_uuid: ENV["sigh_#{ENV['IOS_BUNDLE_ID']}_appstore"]
)

build_app( #alias: gym
project: "#{ENV['IOS_BUILD_PATH']}/iOS/Unity-iPhone.xcodeproj",
scheme: 'Unity-iPhone',
xcargs: '-allowProvisioningUpdates'
)
end

end

-- Note: If you add libraries that need Podfile (e.g. Firebase) to your project, add this line to the beginning of your build step (the block of code starting with lane :build do):

    cocoapods(
clean_install: true,
podfile: "#{ENV['IOS_BUILD_PATH']}/iOS/"
)

This will install pods and generate the xcworkspace for you.

Then change the build_app (alias: gym) step at the end of this build phase to use the new xcworkspace instead of the old xcodeproj:

    build_app( #alias: gym
workspace: "#{ENV['IOS_BUILD_PATH']}/iOS/Unity-iPhone.xcworkspace",
scheme: 'Unity-iPhone',
xcargs: '-allowProvisioningUpdates'
)

6. Add jobs to your GitHub Actions workflow

Building for iOS is a two-step build process. When Unity builds your project for iOS, it generates an Xcode project, which then must be built and code-signed in Xcode via fastlane.

This workflow builds your app and submits it to Apple for App Store release. If you want to submit your app for TestFlight distribution, you can create a job that is identical except it runs bundle exec fastlane ios beta instead of bundle exec fastlane ios release during the "Fix File Permissions and Run fastlane" step. You can build your iOS app without uploading it (e.g. to confirm it builds successfully, or as a preparation step before uploading to an alternative distribution service) by instead running bundle exec fastlane ios build.

Please note that Apple will aggressively rate-limit you if you try to upload builds too frequently. We recommend you configure any workflow that submits to the App Store or TestFlight to be manually triggered, or otherwise make sure it won't automatically run more than a few times a day.

.github/workflows/main.yml
jobs:
buildForiOSPlatform:
name: Build for iOS
runs-on: ubuntu-latest
steps:
- uses: actions/checkout@v2

- uses: actions/cache@v2
with:
path: Library
key: Library-iOS

- uses: game-ci/unity-builder@v2
with:
targetPlatform: iOS

- uses: actions/upload-artifact@v2
with:
name: build-iOS
path: build/iOS

releaseToAppStore:
name: Release to the App Store
runs-on: macos-latest
needs: buildForiOSPlatform
steps:
- name: Checkout Repository
uses: actions/checkout@v2

- name: Download iOS Artifact
uses: actions/download-artifact@v2
with:
name: build-iOS
path: build/iOS

- name: Fix File Permissions and Run fastlane
env:
APPLE_CONNECT_EMAIL: ${{ secrets.APPLE_CONNECT_EMAIL }}
APPLE_DEVELOPER_EMAIL: ${{ secrets.APPLE_DEVELOPER_EMAIL }}
APPLE_TEAM_ID: ${{ secrets.APPLE_TEAM_ID }}

MATCH_REPOSITORY: ${{ secrets.MATCH_REPOSITORY }}
MATCH_PASSWORD: ${{ secrets.MATCH_PASSWORD }}

APPSTORE_ISSUER_ID: ${{ secrets.APPSTORE_ISSUER_ID }}
APPSTORE_KEY_ID: ${{ secrets.APPSTORE_KEY_ID }}
APPSTORE_P8: ${{ secrets.APPSTORE_P8 }}

IOS_BUILD_PATH: ${{ format('{0}/build/iOS', github.workspace) }}
IOS_BUNDLE_ID: com.company.application # Change it to match your Unity bundle id
PROJECT_NAME: Your Project Name # Change it to match your project's name
run: |
eval "$(ssh-agent -s)"
ssh-add - <<< "${MATCH_DEPLOY_KEY}"
find $IOS_BUILD_PATH -type f -name "**.sh" -exec chmod +x {} \;
bundle install
bundle exec fastlane ios release

- name: Cleanup to avoid storage limit
if: always()
uses: geekyeggo/delete-artifact@v1
with:
name: build-iOS

7. Add secrets to your GitHub repo

On your project's GitHub repo page, add a number of Repository Secrets by going to Settings -> Secrets and clicking the "New repository secret" button in the top-right.

  • APPLE_CONNECT_EMAIL: Apple Connect email (if using our recommendation to create a single shared developer Apple ID for fastlane match, this will be the same as APPLE_DEVELOPER_EMAIL)
  • APPLE_DEVELOPER_EMAIL: Your Apple ID
  • APPLE_TEAM_ID: Team Id from your Apple Developer Account - Membership Details

8. Confirming your Unity and App Store Connect settings

At this point, if you have previously set up your app for manual iOS builds and TestFlight/App Store distribution, your GitHub Actions workflow will likely complete successfully. If that is not the case, there are a few more steps to finish setup.

In Unity, you will need to ensure that your application icon(s) are set, as applications without the correct icons will generate an error while uploading to TestFlight. Additionally, set your Bundle Identifier and Signing Team ID in the iOS Player settings - Identification settings. The bundle identifier needs to be the same as you have set for the IOS_BUNDLE_ID repository secret. If you don't know your Signing Team ID, you can find it by going to https://developer.apple.com/account/#!/membership while logged in, and it will be the "Team ID" listed.

In order to upload a build to Apple, an entry for your app needs to exist in your team's App Store Connect. From the App Store Connect homepage, select "My Apps", and create or confirm the existence of an App with the same bundle identifier you are using in your Unity build settings and the IOS_BUNDLE_ID GitHub repository secret.