The iOS Developer Program is a program provided by Apple that provides significant benefits beyond that afforded when registering as an Apple Developer. For those who have reached the point in your app development career where you want to run your iOS Apps on a physical device (such as an iPhone, iPad or iPad Mini), make use of some of the physical sensors in those devices (such as the device motion or location tracking), or want to distribute your apps via the App Store, enrolling in the iOS Developer Program is an essential step. With that in mind, this post aims to guide you through this enrollment by outlining the options that are available to you, the costs associated with each enrollment option, as well as providing a detailed walk through of the process itself.
Before we take a look at the enrollment process, we first need to look at the enrollment options that are available. Which you choose depends heavily on your particular circumstances and at the time or writing, Apple provide four to choose from. They are:
- Individual Developer Program
- Company / Organization Developer Program
- Enterprise Program
- University Program
Individual Developer Program
This type of account is really aimed at the individual developer. Enrollment is currently $99/year (or the equivalent in local currency) and is aimed at sole proprietors or developers developing and publishing apps under their own name. This means that when their apps are published in the App Store, their name appears as the publisher. This, along with the Company / Organization Developer Program we’ll look at next, is the cheapest account that will let you deploy and run your apps on a physical hardware device such as an iPhone or iPad and is probably the most suitable membership for those who are just getting started.
Company / Organization Developer Program
The Company / Organization Developer Program is similar to the Individual Developer Program. You should choose this type of account if you are signing up on behalf of a company, non-profit organization, joint venture, partnership or government organization. This type of account is identical in price to individual enrollment ($99/year or the equivalent in local currency) and in almost all aspects the two types of enrollment are identical. The only real differences are that with a company / organization enrollment other users can be assigned to your account and when publishing apps on the App Store, the company name, not the individual is shown as the publisher of the app. The only other difference is the amount of documentation that is required to enroll. Significantly more identify verification documentation is required for a Company / Organization enrollment than for an individual enrollment (which requires little more than a credit card). Whether this is worth it for you is a decision you will have to make.
The third type of iOS Developer Program enrollment available is the Enterprise Enrollment. The main purpose of this type of iOS Developer Program is for companies who want to create proprietary iOS Apps and distribute them internally within their organization. At $299/year (or the equivalent in local currency), this program is more expensive than individual enrollment and does not allow distribution of apps via the App Store. You will usually know if you need to sign up for this type of account.
The final type of iOS Developer Program available from Apple is the University Program. This type of enrollment is really for academic programs at higher education institutes or accredited schools and allows iOS App Development to be added to their curriculum. It doesn’t have anywhere near the same benefits as the other types of iOS Developer Program and does not allow any sort of app publishing (either on an ad-hoc basis or via the App Store) so is only really useful for those who are enrolled in an app development course at school or university.
If you need further information on the different types of iOS Developer Program enrollment more information can be found at https://developer.apple.com/programs/ Personally I found the table at the bottom of the page which provides a side-by-side comparison of each of the enrollment options pretty useful when I was trying to make my decision.
Enrolling in the iOS Developer Program
Now that we have walked through the various options that are available when enrolling in the iOS Developer Program (and you’ve hopefully got an idea of which type of enrollment best suits you), in this section we’re going to take a detailed look at the enrollment process (specifically enrolling as an individual developer in the iOS Developer Program).
Initiating the Enrollment Process
To get started with enrollment process, fire up a browser and visit http://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/.
Feel free to explore the links that Apple provides about the three high-level stages of iOS App Development; Developing, Testing and Distributing and when you’re ready, select ‘Enroll Now’.
There are four major stages to the enrollment process namely:
- Choose Your Enrollment Type (we’ve pretty much covered that in the first part of this post)
- Submit Your Identity and Billing Information
- Agree to the iOS Development Program License Agreement
- Purchase and Activate Your Program
Stage 1: Choosing Your Enrollment Type
The first step is to decide on whether you want to sign in with your existing Apple ID or want to create a new one. If you followed my last post on registering as an Apple Developer you should already have an Apple ID by now so select the first option ‘Sign in with your Apple ID’ and select ‘Continue’.
The next step is to choose between Individual or Company / Organization enrollment. We pretty much covered this in the first section of this post so choose the enrollment type that is most relevant to you. For this example I chose Individual Enrollment by selecting ‘Individual’.
Stage 2: Submit Your Identity and Billing Information
At this point you’ll be prompted to actually log in with your Apple ID. Once done, you’ll be asked for your billing information in order that Apple can verify your identity. Make sure the details you give match the debit or credit card that your using. Things go a whole lot smoother if you do. Trust me.
Once you’ve submitted all your details, you’ll be presented with a choice of which of Developer Programs you want to enroll in. Above and beyond the iOS Developer Programs that we’ve already talked about above, Apple provide a number of other Developer Programs, one targeted at software development of OS X applications and one for developing extensions to the Safari Web Browser. If you want to sign up for either of these feel free (you can always do so at a later date from the Apple Member Center – http://developer.apple.com/membercenter) but before moving on, make sure that you select the check box beside ‘iOS Developer Program’.
You will now have a chance to review your enrollment information such as the Personal Profile, Billing Information and which of the Developer Programs you have decided to enroll in. If any of the details are incorrect, you can always go back in the enrollment process by selecting ‘Go Back’ before re-doing the steps above. Once you’re happy with everything, select ‘Continue’.
Stage 3: Agree to the iOS Developer Program License Agreement
At this stage, Apple will require you to both read and indicate your agreement with the iOS Developer Program License Agreement. Make sure you read this carefully. It’s written in typical legal speak but isn’t actually that bad to read on the whole. Once you’re happy, indicate your agreement by selecting the check box and then selecting ‘I Agree’.
Stage 4: Purchase and Activate Your Program
The final stage of the enrollment process is to purchase your enrollment. This is done through the Apple Online Store and you will be re-directed to the store relevant to your country. Once there, the purchase is like any other item by adding it to your cart and going through the normal Apple Online Store purchase process. Once you have completed your purchase, you will receive an email from the Apple Online Store confirming your purchase.
Now comes the waiting game I’m afraid. I know you’re keen to get on, but activation of your iOS Developer Program Enrollment usually takes around 24-hours. Once you’re enrollment has been processed should receive an activation email from Apple Developer Program Support containing an activation code for your enrollment. Follow the link in the email and you’re all done. Enrollment will be confirmed by another email from Apple welcoming you to the iOS Developer Program. Congratulations, you made it, the power of the App Store and Apples hardware platforms is now at your disposal!
In today’s post we have looked at the four main types of iOS Developer Program that Apple provide. Each have their benefits and which one you choose depends heavily on your individual circumstance. As we’ve seen though, once you have made the decision to enroll in the iOS Developer Program, the process is relatively simple and by doing so you gain the ability to run your applications on physical devices and more importantly, the ability to distribute your apps via the App Store. In the next post we will take our first baby steps in leveraging those benefits by taking a look at the process for downloading and installing Xcode, the development tools that Apple provide for development on the iOS platform.