A Push Notification Certificate is necessary in order to authenticate the push notifications you will send via the Apple Push Notifications service (APNs) to iOS devices belonging to your event’s attendees. Without this certificate, it will not be possible.
There are two prerequisites for this process:
- have an existing App ID registered in your Apple Developer portal
- have a Certificate Signing Request file (CSR) stored on your Mac.
During the certificate creation process, there is a section that explains how to create a CSR file if you do not have one. If you are unsure if your organization has an existing CSR, ask your technical support team. If you do not have one, go ahead and create one during the certificate creation process. See the Annex at the end of this article for instructions.
If you want to create a Push Notification Certificate for your in-house app, e.g. Enterprise Distribution app, then you will need to log into your Enterprise Developer program account. A Push Notification Certificate for an in-house app should have the Enterprise Distribution Team ID associated with it.
In order to create a Push Notification Certificate, follow the steps below.
- Navigate to https://developer.apple.com/account and log in with an account that has access to your Apple Developer Portal. If you are creating a Push Certificate for an in-house app, log in with the Apple ID that you registered for your organization's Enterprise Developer Program.
- Click on 'Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles'.
- The App IDs section in the left menu will already be selected. Above and to the right of the list of App IDs, you see a button with a magnifying glass. Click this and type in the App ID or the Bundle ID of your App ID to find it.
If you have only a few apps, you will be able to see your App ID right away in the list.
- Click on your App ID. This will open and show all the services. Push Notifications are still set to “Configurable”.
- Scroll down to the bottom and click on the 'Edit' button.
- Your App ID is now in Edit Mode. Scroll down and find the Push Notifications section, the box should be checked. You will see two options to create a certificate: Development SSL Certificate and Production SSL Certificate. You are going to create a Production SSL Certificate; click on the button 'Create Certificate'.
- Click on 'Continue' to confirm you have a CSR file ready.
- Click on 'Choose File' and use Finder to find your CSR file, select it, and click on 'Choose' in the dialog window. It will now be visible in the browser.
- Click on 'Generate'. It will take a moment to show the next window.
- Your certificate is ready for download. Click on 'Download'.
- Locate the downloaded file, called “aps.cer”, in your Downloads folder on your Mac and click on it. It will trigger Keychain Access to open and it will ask you if you want to add this certificate to your keychain. Click 'Add'.
- To find the certificate in Keychain Access, you can use the Search field in the top-right of the dialog window. Type in the Bundle ID of the App ID. You can now confirm that the Push Certificate was correctly created, is valid, and has an associated private key.
- Next, you will export this certificate and save it as a .P12 file. First, you must unselect it in the list. Click somewhere below the certificate in an empty space in the Keychain Access dialog window.
- Right-click on the certificate to show the contextual menu. On a Mac you can use the following combinations: click with two fingers on the touchpad; or, hold the Control key and click normally on the certificate. In the menu that appears, select “Export Apple Push Services ...”
- A dialog will open. Select a location to save the file. Give it a recognizable name, for example, “appname_pushcert”. Then click 'Save'.
- Another dialog will open, asking you to enter a password, which will protect the P12 file. Choose a password and enter it twice as requested. Click 'OK'.
- Next, send the saved P12 file in an email to your DoubleDutch contact along with the password you entered in the previous step. The DoubleDutch App Operations team will upload this to the back-end admin system. You will be notified when you can test Push Notifications on your app.
Annex - How to Create a Certificate Signing Request File (CSR)
To manually generate a Push Notification Certificate, you need a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) file from your Mac. To create a CSR file, follow the instructions below to create one using Keychain Access.
- Open a Finder window and click on the Applications folder, then open the Utilities folder and launch Keychain Access.
- Within the Keychain Access drop-down menu, select Keychain Access, then Certificate Assistant, then Request a Certificate from a Certificate Authority.
- A new window dialog will appear and you will need to enter some information.
- In the User Email Address field, enter your email address.
- In the Common Name field, create a name for your private key (e.g., DD-MyCompany-PrivateKey).
- The CA Email Address field should be left empty.
- In the "Request is" group, select the "Saved to disk" option.
- Click 'Continue' within Keychain Access to complete the CSR generating process.
- After clicking 'Continue', you will be asked to give the CSR file a name and choose a location to save it to. Give it a recognizable name, for example, “DD_MyCompany_CSR.certSigningRequest”. Then click 'Save'.
- Then you can use the CSR file to proceed with creating your Push Notification certificate.