I am beginner Apple developer. I want to develop Mac and iOS software, but not for sale. Only for personal use.

As I see to deploy my iOS program to my iPhone and my iPad I need to get iOS Developer Account.

Do I need a Mac Developer Account if I am not planning to deploy my software to Mac Application Store and if I am planning to use it only in my Macbook?

4 Answers 4


Without a Mac/iOS Developer account you won't:

  • get access to OS X betas
  • be able to publish your apps on the Mac App Store
  • be able to code sign your OS X / iOS apps.

Code signing is needed if you want to run apps with Gate Keeper enabled.

There is no discount if you enroll in both developer programs.

  • Thanks. Is it possible to run my application on my macbook without code signing ?
    – ceth
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 12:03
  • 2
    Yes if you disable GateKeeper. Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 12:03
  • 3
    You don't need a developer account if you don't plan on publishing your app around. You can do it freely indeed. Voted up as I don't add a fourth answer.
    – Rob
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 12:15
  • 4
    You do not need to disable Gatekeeper if you want to run unsigned programs. With the default setting, you can right-click on the app and pick "Open", and that will allow you to run an unsigned program. Once you open it once in this way, you will be able to run it normally in the future. Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 15:23

Apple's developer accounts are unified, so there’s no difference if you want to develop for macOS or iOS or tvOS or watchOS. One fee gets you code signing for all and access to the paid stores if you wish.

Before the unification, If you were an iOS developer, nothing that you did on the iOS side changed when you subsequently enrolled for Mac development.

That being said, everyone can start with free Xcode and make an app for the shipping OS using the free SDK. You don't need to pay for a developer account until you need to sign code for other people or access pre-release SDK. Pay the money only when you hit a roadblock. Same goes for iOS, start free and only pay when you need to do something that the paid account allows. You can even run self signed code on iOS with a personal AppleID for personal testing before you become a paid developer.


To develop for OSX you just need Xcode which is free from the app store.

There is also a free developers account which gives access to some more documentation - but I think that a paid for iOS account will get the same info.

As for iOS you could jailbreak you devices as an alternative to the account see

  • Can you please give more info about free developers accounts ? As I see it is free only for universities.
    – ceth
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 12:08
  • By free he means simple dev accounts without any enrolement. They give you acces to pretty much nothing special. The docs are public, the sample codes too. Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 12:11
  • 1
    @demas I've edited out the three or so follow on questions from your main question. Why not ask a new question asking where apple provides this info or explain what part of the public explanation of the programs has you confused?
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 12:14
  • @demas You can sign-up at Apple's developer site without paying money; this gets you access to released-version (i.e. currently iOS 7 and OS X 10.9) SDKs and a few other things, like WWDC videos. Once you want to sign Mac code, run on an iOS device, sell in the App Stores, access betas, etc. you need to join the relevant Developer Program. The former is termed "registered developer" while the latter is termed "Mac/iOS Developer Program member". Each program is USD$99/year (or your local equivalent).
    – Calrion
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 0:49

No, it is not.

  • You shouldn't have to worry about Gatekeeper with apps you build and run yourself. Xcode must be doing something behind the scenes, but I don't know what. Other people who try to run your app will get the warning, though.

  • All the documentation, etc. is free at https://developer.apple.com (except for some videos, which are not essential by any means). You will need Xcode, which you can get from the Mac App Store. (Be warned, it's a big download!)

  • If you want to submit apps to the App Store, or develop for iOS devices and install your app, you will need to get a paid subscription. (You can actually test your apps on your iOS devices without this, but they will expire after about a week.)

As the Xcode License Agreement says (as of 2017-09-24):

A. Install a reasonable number of copies of the Apple Software on Apple-branded computers that are owned or controlled by You to be used internally by You or Your Authorized Developers only as follows:

(i) You may use the Xcode Developer Tools to test and develop application and other software;

(ii) You may use the macOS SDKs to test and develop application and other software;

(iii) You may use the Apple SDKs (excluding the macOS SDK) solely to test and develop Applications that are specifically for use with the applicable Apple-branded products for which the SDK is targeted, unless otherwise permitted by Apple in writing; and

(iv) You may use the Apple Services solely to test and develop Applications that are specifically for use on Apple-branded products, unless otherwise permitted by Apple in writing.

Except as otherwise expressly set forth in Section 2.2.B., You may not distribute any Applications developed using the Apple SDKs (excluding the macOS SDK) absent entering into a separate written agreement with Apple.

(emphasis mine)

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