How to Create a Custom App Access Token in Shopify

A custom app is a great way to give access to third parties, and freelancers alike! Doing so allows you to extend the functionality currently offered by Shopify. Whilst a similar process to private apps (now deprecated), the initial setup is different.

We must point out that Shopify API credentials, I.E Shopify API key, and API secret for private apps over basic authentication will still work for legacy integrations, but the new approach requires the need to create a custom app, add permissions, and install. This in turn gives you an access token, the access token is what you would generally forward on to third parties/freelancers.

Shopify really does stress the importance of security, but to echo what Shopify has already stated - Be vigilant and only give permissions to what is needed. To better extend, if you’re creating an access token to forward on, please ensure that you only enable the scopes that are required. I.E Read or Write, or potentially both - Read and Write.

Below you’ll find a walkthrough on how to create a custom app, and access the Shopify access token.

Steps to Create a Custom App Access Token in Shopify

Step 1: Login

Navigate to your admin login page and log in.

Shopify Login

Step 2: Apps

Navigate to the left side panel, scroll to the apps button and click.

Shopify apps button

Step 3: Develop apps

After clicking apps, Find and click the "develop apps for your store" button.

Shopify develop apps button

Step 4: Start development

Here you'll just need to click the "allow custom app development" button.

Shopify Start development button

Step 5: Allow development

A word of caution to ensure you want to proceed. Click the "allow custom app development" button again.

Shopify allow development button

Step 6: Create an App

Click the "create an app" button.

Shopify create an app button

Step 7: App Details

You should now see a popup requesting custom app details. Give the app a name, and assign the app to a Shopify admin, or Shopify staff member.

Shopify custom app details

Step 8: Configure admin API

For the purpose of the demo, we'll select "Configure Admin API Scopes (permissions)".

The Admin API is essentially the back-end (Liaising/Manipulating Data), and store front is generally flows and experiences.

Shopify configure admin AP

Step 9: Scopes (Permissions)

Custom app access - this is what the app can do, or better for words, access! A scope is a permission. Be cautious and only "check" what you need.

Don't forget to save

Shopify custom app Scopes (Permissions)

Step 10: Install

Once you've save (previous step), you'll want the click "Install app".

To note, this does not actually install, but rather creates a connection between the API and the permissions, whilst allocating an access token to your app/instance.

Shopify custom app install

Step 11: Copy the Access Token

Success! You've created a custom app container, ready for API access.

Please note that you'll be able to view the access token once! Copy it, and store it!

This is the token that will be used to access the API.

Shopify custom app access token

The Takeaway

Creating a custom app, and retrieving the access token is a simple step process, we strongly encourage you to really think about who you are giving access to, and exercise extreme caution.

You have a reportability to ensure all customer data is safe, and you protect yourself from malicious intent.

To summarize we've briefly covered:

  • Steps on how to create a custom app access token in Shopify

What next:

Additional Shopify Resources

With Shopify being one of the largest eCommerce platforms on the market means you’ll never be short of resources to learn how to build a profitable eCommerce business.

Kanteneo aims to be the best Shopify blog on the market, but you may require additional resources to help you on that journey. Below we’ve listed a top-selling Shopify book by Veronica Jeans to help you learn how to launch a profitable business.


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Terry Wingfield

A techy at heart, with over 10+ years of software engineering skills, and 5+ years experience in ecommerce, retention, and personalization.