While the PC still reigns supreme as the preferred business computer, Apple has recently been making huge strides into the enterprise marketplace. macOS device use and the use of Mac laptop and desktop computers has increased dramatically in recent years, and there are many good reasons for this. The Apple environment provides businesses with powerful tools and enhanced security and makes it easy to integrate new devices and bespoke applications. Developing customised software applications for an Apple platform means visiting the Apple developer website and using the Apple Developer Program. These resources provide developers with all the tools, resources and support they need to develop and distribute applications.

However, the distinction between the Apple developer website and the Apple Developer Program can be difficult to grasp for those who are new to working in the Apple environment. To make things even more confusing, there is also the Apple Developer Enterprise Program to consider. What choice will best suit your needs? In this article, we take an in-depth look at the Apple Developer Program. We’ll explain what it is, how you can use it for your business and how to register. To clarify matters further we will also look at the Apple Developer Enterprise Program. If you are interested in writing applications for Apple devices, then keep reading to learn what you need to know about the Apple Developer Program.

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What is the Apple Developer Program exactly?

If you have ever looked into writing and developing an app for the Apple ecosystem, then chances are you will have visited the Apple developer website. This is a portal operated by Apple that provides software developers with basic tools that they can use for Apple app development. While the Apple developer website is a great place to develop skills to build basic software for Apple, anyone that wishes to expand their knowledge and develop professional grade apps will have to sign up for the Apple Developer Program.

The Apple Developer Program is Apple’s ‘code to customer’ software, to use the company’s own description. This is a fee-based subscription program that provides everything developers need to create an application, test it, and distribute it. 

Strictly speaking, developers can simply use Apple’s Xcode-based Interactive Development Environment to develop Mac and iOS apps without having to become a member of the Apple Developer Program. However, while membership is not required, it is advantageous as becoming a member unlocks many features required to create high-grade apps. 

Membership in the Apple Developer Program:

  • Provides access to beta builds of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS
  • Allows developers the ability to publicly beta test apps with TestFlight
  • Provides access to app extensions such as Apple Pay, Maps, CloudKit, Game Center, etc 
  • Offers code-level support from an Apple developer to troubleshoot code
  • Can publish apps on the Apple App Store
  • macOS app releases outside the App Store
  • Provides developers with ad hoc app distribution services – although this feature is limited to 100 of each device type every year
  • Provides access to Apple Store Connect’s App Analytics program

If you do not become a member of the Apple Developer Program, you will not be able to use any of these features. You will also be unable to distribute your apps on the Apple App Store and so will be unable to monetize them. 

The Apple Developer Program license agreement

If you do wish to become a member of the Apple Developer Program and make full use of the tools and services and distribute your software, certain conditions must be met. Before they can access any features, new users must agree to the Apple Developer Program license agreement. 

The Apple Developer Program license agreement is for the most part a stock standard legal contract that gives the signee the right to develop and install software on Apple products. The agreement has the main purpose of protecting Apple’s own developer software and ensuring that developers do not misuse or distribute these tools in a way that breaches Apple’s copyright and intellectual property rights. 

However, there are also various clauses regarding the use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), data laws, tracking software and advertising identifiers. There is also considerable detail regarding user agreements, in-app purchases, regulatory compliance, and other complex matters. It is advisable that developers take the time to carefully go through the Apple Developer Program license agreement in detail before signing. 

New users must be of legal age in the country in which they reside to accept the agreement. They must have the right to enter into the agreement on their own behalf or on behalf of the company they represent. 

The Apple Developer Program license agreement appears automatically while you are going through the process of becoming a member. New users can download a copy of the agreement to peruse at their convenience and then simply click on ‘Agree’ once they are satisfied that they understand the terms and conditions. 

What is the Apple Developer Enterprise Program?

The Apple Developer Enterprise Program is designed for large enterprises with 100 or more employees. Its main purpose is to distribute internal proprietary applications to employees of the company that has signed up for the program. So, if you work for a large company or run a business with a substantial number of employees, opting for the Apple Developer Enterprise Program is a better option than simply signing up for the normal Apple Developer Program.

The Apple Developer Enterprise Program is only to be used to develop apps for a specific use such as private distribution using a secure internal system or in conjunction with a Mobile Device Management (MDM) system. 

The Apple Developer Program vs the Apple Developer Enterprise Program

The Apple Developer Program is primarily designed for small business owners, developers or self-employed people who wish to create apps for public release on the Apple App Store. While the Apple Developer Enterprise Program is aimed at fulfilling the needs of large enterprises that need to deploy bespoke apps to their employees. For this reason, the Apple Developer Enterprise Program is to be thought of as an app development and deployment tool that works in conjunction with an MDM solution rather than simply a stand-alone app creation and distribution program. 

How much does the Apple Developer Program cost?

When comparing the differences between the Apple Developer Program and the Apple Developer Enterprise Program, the first factor that is apparent is the cost. Since it is designed for use by large companies, the Apple Developer Enterprise Program is considerably more expensive than the Apple Developer Program. At the time of writing, the costs for each of these programs are as below:

  • Apple Developer Program: 99 $US per year
  • Apple Developer Enterprise Program: 299 $US per year

How do you register to use the Apple Developer Program?

To register for the Apple Developer Program as an individual or sole proprietor, you will need to have a passcode or Face ID enabled on your iPhone or iPad. Apple ID with two-factor authentication must be turned on and all your Apple ID information must be up to date. The latest version of the Apple Developer app needs to be installed on your device. Your device will need to be signed in to iCloud. Once that is all done, simply start the Apple Developer app on your device, hit the Account tab and sign in. You will then be asked to agree to the Apple Developer Agreement. After this step, you will need to input your personal information and ID for verification and forward payment details. 

The steps are much the same to join the Apple Developer Enterprise Program, except you must act as a representative of a legal entity such as a company. To be eligible to join the Apple Developer Enterprise Program, a business must have at least 100 employees and be a legal entity, that is, a registered and incorporated company. The program can only be used to create apps for secure in-house use and the business must have adequate MDM security in place to ensure that only authorized employees can download and use the apps and that all membership credentials are protected. A business that wishes to join the Apple Developer Enterprise Program will also have to undergo and pass a verification interview and be subject to ongoing evaluation. 

Further Assistance with Apple application development

Appaloosa can assist your business in making the most of the tools contained in the Apple Developer Program or the Apple Developer Enterprise Program. Our MDM and MAM solutions can integrate seamlessly into the Apple environment and will provide you with complete control over all your corporate devices. 

You can discover the many benefits that Appaloosa can bring to your company simply by visiting our website. To discuss your MDM and Apple app needs, get in touch with one of our friendly team members today to arrange a consultation.

Julien Ott
October 14, 2022