Distribution Provisioning Profile Woes

Managing App IDs and provisioning profiles has come on a lot from when I first started iOS development almost three years ago. Xcode now does a fair amount of the heavy lifting for you, creating App IDs and development provisioning profiles automatically as and when they’re needed. This is great, removing some of the administrative burden and getting new projects running on devices as quickly as possible.

It has become so easy, in fact, that I thought I could just start submitting apps to the App store for testing based on simply setting the Team setting in the General tab of the target in Xcode. There was nothing really telling me that I couldn’t do this—this process will work just fine until you want some advanced entitlements (like iCloud), at which point trying to upload it to iTunes will result in no matching provisioning profiles found for application errors.

When I looked carefully at the error, I noticed that it was trying to use the wildcard provisioning profile which isn’t allowed when it comes to certain entitlements.

After much deleting of the automatically generated App IDs and provisioning profiles, I realised that you still needed to manually create a distribution profile with your distribution certificate even though the Code Signing Entities in the Build Settings tab now always just say iOS Developer now and the Provisioning Profile says automatic. There are few clues that multiple provisioning profiles were even necessary any more.

Anyway, it’s my fault for making the assumption that differentiated provisioning profiles were a thing of the past—I thought I had reached the point of never needing to reach for the Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles section of the Developer Portal again—but maybe this will help someone else come to the realisation sooner that, when it comes to distribution profiles, you always need to make sure you have one set up and you have to do this manually.


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