Prerequisite knowledge
 
  • Additional required other productsAccess to the Apple iOS Provisioning Portal for your app (sign-in required)Access to the Apple iTunes Connect for your app
User level: All
 
Required Adobe products
 
 
NoteIf you have questions about this article, use the DPS forum. Please don’t contact technical support with questions about Adobe Developer Connection articles.

Learn how to create a subscription viewer app that appears in Newsstand, which makes your app easier to discover and offers other advantages such as background downloading. If you have an existing multi-issue viewer, learn how to edit your app to enable it for Newsstand.
 
You'll also learn how to take the necessary measures to avoid the all-too-frequent rejection notice of your app.
 
Note: This guide is intended for publishers who have already created a custom viewer app. If you have not already created a custom viewer app, you should read the "Publishing Companion Guide for the iPad PDF" instead of this document. The Companion Guide PDF is available for download on the DPS Dashboard. It walks you through the entire process of building custom viewers, including viewers enabled for Newsstand.
 

 
Overview of Apple Newsstand

Apple Newsstand (iOS5 and later only) is a collection of subscription apps—newspapers, magazines, journals (see Figure 1). When you enable a viewer app for Newsstand, the app no longer appears as a standalone app on the Home page. Instead, your app appears in the Newsstand shelf along with other subscription apps.
 
Figure 1. Apple Newsstand
Figure 1. Apple Newsstand
 
Newsstand offers another way for your potential customers to discover your app. And once they download and subscribe to your app, Newsstand automatically updates folios you publish in the background—complete with the latest covers.
 
All Newsstand apps must be subscriptions apps—either free or retail. Single-issue viewer apps cannot appear in Newsstand.
 

 
Checklist for creating a Newsstand app

If you already have an existing DPS viewer app—either a multi-issue or multi-issue subscription—in the Apple store, and you want to make it available in Newsstand, you have a little bit of work ahead of you. Here's a brief overview of the necessary steps:
 
  1. If your existing app does not have push enabled, use the iOS Provisioning Portal to configure your App ID to enable push notifications. Create .p12 push notification certificates.
  2. If you configured your App ID, create new .mobileprovision files.
  3. Using iTunes Connect, create in-app purchases for your subscription. If your app includes retail content, create in-app purchases for all retail folios and an in-app purchase with a price set for each duration. For free content, use the Free Subscription option.
  4. In iTunes Connect, enable the app for Newsstand.
  5. Create image assets required for a subscription Newsstand app.
  6. Using Viewer Builder, create a new version of your viewer app. Enable Newsstand and specify certificates.
  7. In iTunes Connect, make sure that you specify the appropriate subscription details in your app summary to facilitate approval.

 
Configure your App ID to enable push

To convert your multi-issue app into a Newsstand subscription app, you must use the iOS Provisioning Portal to configure your App ID to enable it for push notifications. You must also create push notification certificates for the development and production (distribution) apps.
 
If your viewer app is already enabled for push, skip this section.
 
  1. Open the iOS Provisioning Portal on the Apple Developer site.
  2. Click App IDs.
  3. Select your existing app and click Configure.
  4. Make sure that iCloud is turned off. If you turn on iCloud, Apple might reject your app.
  5. Select "Enable for App Push Notification service."
  6. Create Apple Push Notification SSL Certificates for both the development and production apps. Apple also refers to the "production" app as the "distribution" app.
The Viewer Builder requires .p12 certificates for both the development and production apps. The process for creating these certificates is similar to the process for creating the certificates for the development and distribution apps. If you need more information on the back-and-forth process between the iOS Provisioning Portal and the Keychain Access utility, see the "Publishing Companion Guide for the iPad PDF" available for download on the DPS Dashboard.
 
You'll need to specify these .p12 push notification files when you enable Newsstand in Viewer Builder.
 
 
Create new .mobileprovision files
If you configured your App ID to enable push, the .mobileprovision files you previously created are no longer valid. It's easy to create new ones. Again, you don't need to create new .p12 certificates for your development and distribution apps unless those certificates have expired.
 
  1. Go to the iOS Provisioning Portal page.
  2. Click Provisioning on the left side of the window, and then click New Profile.
  3. Specify the Profile name (include "dev" and "push" in the name to distinguish it from other files), select the certificate, choose the App ID, and specify the devices you want to provision.
  4. Click Submit. Click Download, and then save the .mobileprovision file to your assets folder.
  5. You have now created the files that the Viewer Builder needs to build the development app.
You'll need to specify these new .mobileprovision files when creating your viewer app in Viewer Builder.
 

 
Create retail subscription in-app purchases

Selling folios in your app requires you to set up in-app purchases on the Apple Developer site. Retail subscription apps require two types of in-app purchases: in-app purchases for individual folios and in-app purchases for subscription durations.
 
If you have a multi-issue viewer app with retail folios, you've already set up the in-app purchases for retail folios. But if you're converting the viewer app to a subscription app, you'll need to create an in-app purchase for subscription durations (see Figure 2). For retail subscription apps, this is called an "Auto-Renewable Subscription."
 
Figure 2. Each in-app purchase duration is associated with a subscription option. In this example, National Geographic offers two duration options.
Figure 2. Each in-app purchase duration is associated with a subscription option. In this example, National Geographic offers two duration options.
 
Create in-app purchases for retail folios
If you already created in-app purchases for retail folios, skip this section.
 
When you're charging money for a retail subscription, you must make sure that each retail folio has an in-app purchase set up.
 
  1. Go to iTunes Connect.
  2. Make sure that you have filled out the necessary banking information to sell content through Apple.
  3. On the iTunes Connect main page, click Manage Your Applications.
  4. Click the viewer application in which you will include retail folios, and click Manage In-App Purchases.
  5. Click Create New to create a new in-app purchase. Click the "Non-Consumable" Select button, and then specify the pricing and language of your issue.
  6. Under Details, specify a Reference Name and Product ID. This Product ID must be identical to the Product ID you use when publishing the folio. Use the "com.publisher.publication.folio" format, such as "com.designer.fashiontoday.2012january." For best results, use all lowercase letters for compatibility with folios that will also be available for purchase in an Android Market app.
  7. Add a language. Under Pricing and Availability, select "Cleared for Sale" so that you can test the app. Choose the price for your folio.
  8. Under Screenshot For Review, specify an image when you're ready to submit your in-app purchase. Apple will not review the in-app purchase until you include the screenshot. Click Save.
  9. In the Folio Producer Organizer, publish the folio as Public and Retail using the same Product ID you used when creating the in-app purchase.
For more details on setting up in-app purchases, see the "Publishing Companion Guide for the iPad PDF" available for download on the DPS Dashboard.
 
 
Create an in-app purchase for subscription durations
If you already created a in-app purchase for subscription durations, skip this section.
 
Use the In App Purchase process on iTunes Connect to set up Apple subscriptions. Apple calls a subscription an "Auto-Renewable Subscription."
 
When you create a subscription, you generate a shared secret, which is a unique code that lets the app communicate with in-app purchase receipts. Specify this shared secret using the Account Administration tool, and then open the Folio Producer Organizer to register the shared secret. You can use the same shared secret for multiple apps.
 
  1. Go to iTunes Connect.
  2. Click Manage Your Applications. In the Manage Your Apps page, click the application in which you want to set up subscriptions.
  3. Click Manage In-App Purchases.
  4. Click "View or Generate a Shared Secret."
  5. Copy your shared secret code. Use the Account Administration tool on the DPS Dashboard to specify your shared secret. After you specify the shared secret information, open the Folio Producer Organizer to authenticate the shared secret.
  6. Click Create New. In the Create New In App Purchase page, select "Auto-Renewable Subscriptions."
  7. Follow the prompts to fill out the rest of the subscription information. Create one or more durations. For each duration, specify a Product ID. We recommend that you use the "com.publisher.publication.duration" format, such as "com.adobe.dpstips.1year."
When you use Viewer Builder to create your subscription app, you specify the duration Product IDs in the Subscription Details panel.
 
If your viewer app has not been approved or previously did not contain retail content, your first in-app purchases must be submitted with a new app version. Select them from the In-App Purchases section of the Version Details page in iTunes Connect, and then click Ready to Upload Binary.
 

 
Set up a free subscription

You don't have to sell retail content to get your folio in Newsstand. iGizmo Magazine has a free subscription version of their magazine in Newsstand (see Figure 3).
 
Figure 3. Free subscription app in Apple Newsstand
Figure 3. Free subscription app in Apple Newsstand
 
  1. Go to iTunes Connect.
  2. Click Manage Your Applications. In the Manage Your Apps page, click the application in which you want to set up subscriptions.
  3. Click Manage In-App Purchases.
  4. Click "View or Generate a Shared Secret."
  5. Copy your shared secret code. Use the Account Administration tool on the DPS Dashboard to specify your shared secret. After you specify the shared secret information, open the Folio Producer Organizer to authenticate the shared secret.
  6. Click Create New.
  7. In the Create New In App Purchase page, select "Free Subscription."
  8. Follow the prompts to fill out the rest of the subscription information.
  9. For Product ID. We recommend that you use the "com.publisher.publication.free" format.
When you use Viewer Builder to create your subscription app, you select Free and specify the Product ID in the Subscription Details panel.
 

 
Enable the app for Newsstand

Apple requires you to use iTunes Connect to enable an app for Newsstand. Do this before you submit your distribution viewer app to Apple.
 
  1. In iTunes Connect, click Manage Your Applications.
  2. In the Manage Your Apps page, click the application in which you want to enable Newsstand.
  3. Click Newsstand.
  4. Enable Newsstand and specify a cover image, such as a 1024×768 PNG file, and then follow the prompts.
For each folio that will appear in your Newsstand app, use the Add Issue feature to add the folio and specify a cover image. The cover image you specify is not used. Instead, the folio's cover image is used.
 

 
Create required assets for Newsstand subscriptions

At this point, you should have everything set up on the Apple side to create a subscription app. You should have an App ID configured for push notifications, .p12 push notification certificates, and new mobileprovision files. For a retail Newsstand app, each retail folio must have an in-app purchase set up, and you must have an in-app purchase for one or more subscription durations. For a free Newsstand app, you just need to set up a Free Subscription Product ID. The Viewer Builder requires all these files.
 
The Viewer Builder also requires a few other files for your Newsstand subscription app. Create the following files:
 
  • Portrait Subscription Tile: Create a 331×180-pixel background .jpg image that describes the Apple subscription. This tile appears when the iPad is upright. The entire tile is active as a button.
  • Landscape Subscription Tile: Specify a 468×135-pixel background .jpg image that describes the Apple subscription. This tile appears when the iPad is sideways. The entire tile is active as a button.
  • Newsstand Cover Image: At this time, you specify a Newsstand cover image in both iTunes Connect and the Viewer Builder. In the Viewer Builder, you specify a 96×128 PNG file. In iTunes Connect, you specify a larger PNG file, such as a 1024×768 PNG file (click the info button for details). The cover image you specify in Viewer Builder appears as the default image in Newsstand until it is replaced by a newer cover image of the most recently published folio.
  • Subscription and privacy policies: Create a web page that includes your subscription policy and privacy policy details.

 
Use Viewer Builder to create a new version

Now that you have all the files you need, it's time to build the new version of your viewer. Unless your previous version of the app was a subscription app, you need to create a new instance of the viewer rather than editing the current instance.
 
  1. Open Viewer Builder.
  2. Click New and create a new iPad viewer app.
  3. For Viewer Type, choose Multi-Issue with iTunes Subscription. Fill out the other details on the Basic Details panel.
  4. In the Subscription Details panel, specify the landscape and portrait tiles you created. Select Free or Retail. Select one or more Product IDs you created using iTunes Connect (see Figure 4).
Figure 4. Enter the particulars for your app in Viewer Builder Subscription Details.
Figure 4. Enter the particulars for your app in Viewer Builder Subscription Details.
 
  1. Click Next, specify the icons and splash screens, and then click Next again.
  2. In the Newsstand panel, select Enable Newsstand. Specify the 96×128 cover image, and continue (see Figure 5).
Figure 5. Use the Viewer Builder Newsstand panel to enable the Newsstand and specify your cover icon.
Figure 5. Use the Viewer Builder Newsstand panel to enable the Newsstand and specify your cover icon.
 
  1. In the Provisioning panel, specify the push notification certificates.
  2. Follow the prompts to finish building your app.

 
Use iTunes Connect to update your app

The final step is to submit your new version to Apple. If the previous version of your app was not a subscription, you need to complete a few extra steps to make sure that Apple approves the new version.
 
  1. In Viewer Builder, download and test your development app. Then download your distribution app.
  2. In iTunes Connect, click Manage Your Applications.
  3. In the Manage Your Apps page, click the application you want to update.
  4. For retail subscriptions, click View Details, and then edit your app description field to include key subscription details. You should provide details about subscription options, including specific prices for specific durations. Mention that the subscription renews automatically unless users opt out by turning off auto-renew at least 24 hours before the end of the subscription period, and that users cannot cancel a subscription. Payment is charged to users' iTunes accounts. Provide privacy policy and terms of use information. For examples, see the descriptions of subscription apps such as The New Yorker or National Geographic.
  5. In the app summary page, click Add Version, specify the version number, and then explain what's new in your app. Follow the prompts.
  6. Use the Application Loader to upload the new version of your app.

 
Understand push notifications in Newsstand

With non-Newsstand apps, push notifications display a red badge on the app icon. However, with Newsstand apps, push notifications simply triggers a background download and a new cover image to appear. For more information on push notification options, see Using Apple push notifications with Digital Publishing Suite.