We've pointed out in several of our articles how important it is to have an iPhone or iPad app listed in the Apple Apps Store. The exposure such a listing offers is crucial to an app's success. In order to be able to submit apps to Apple, one must also have an Apple developer account. We've been asked, what's the process? How does one become an Apple developer? Is there a special handshake, a secret decoder ring, or what? Well, today we're gonna share with you what it takes to become an Apple mobile application developer.
At its heart, the process for becoming an Apple developer is easy, quick and painless. It really is just as simple as going to the Apple Developer web page and clicking “Register.” It's a very self-explanatory process; you'll supply your personal or company information, and will be asked to sign off on a legal agreement with Apple. Once you've submitted your developer application (not your "app"), you'll receive an email from Apple asking you to verify your email address. Following through on that email will establish your Apple ID Number, which Apple will use as a unique identifier for you from that point forward.
And that's that; you're an Apple Developer! Now you can download Apple's code and look over their developer guidelines, and submit apps to the apps store, right?
Well...no. The essential Apple developer sign up is just your first step through ten different programs of developing you can do with Apple. Five of these programs deal directly with application development for Apple's iOS mobile operating system, and those are the programs we'll concentrate on today (the other levels are for Mac, Safari browser and accessory developers). So, with no further ado, let's look at the five levels of Apple mobile app developers.
Developer. This is the essential account you create in order to open the door to being an Apple mobile app developer in earnest. This is a free account, and it serves to assign an Apple ID number to you or your company through which Apple can identify you. With a Developer account, you'll have access to information for all the development programs and the related discussion forums.
Individual iOS Developer. This type of account is for the individual developer who'll be creating and submitting iOS mobile applications for listing in the Apple Apps Store. In contrast to the basic Developer program—which in comparison is more informational—you must be enrolled in one of the two iOS Developer programs in order to submit applications to Apple for review and acceptance in their Apps Store. The Individual iOS Developer program has a fee of $99 per year.
Company iOS Developer. This program is very similar in scope to that of the Individual iOS Developer, except it applies to companies that have application development teams who design apps for clients (AppsAustin falls into this category, and is enrolled in this program). The Company iOS Developer program is also $99 a year, and it requires a Dun and Bradstreet (D-U-N-S) number in order to participate. The D-U-N-S number establishes your company as a business entity.
Enterprise iOS Developer. If you're a developer who works for a company that designs proprietary applications to be used solely by the company for business purposes—in other words, enterprise applications—this is the program you would use. Enterprise applications aren't listed in the Apple Apps Store, but Apple does prefer you still follow their guidelines and code suggestions so the apps will run well. The annual fee for this program is $299, and in order to participate you must submit your company's D-U-N-S number.
A very important note here, before we move on: If you're an app developer who creates enterprise apps for someone else, you cannot submit the app through an Enterprise iOS Developer account. In this case, you would create the account under your Company iOS Developer account, and the company would then use their Enterprise iOS Developer account in order to utilize the app. This question has created enough confusion that Apple has addressed it specifically on their Enterprise iOS FAQ page here. (The question is listed second from the bottom.)
University iOS Developer. This program is for institutions of higher learning to use in order to add iOS app development to the curricula of classes. There is no charge for this program. It should be noted, however, that this program is for class use only; if a university or college wants to create apps for business use, they should create an Enterprise iOS Developer account.
If you'd like to see a detailed walk-through of the setup process for Apple Developer accounts, RayWenderlich.com has created a nice and thorough tutorial; you can check it out here.
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