I have updated my iPod to iOS 9 and want to make my own apps for it, however, I do not want to pay for a developer account because of how much it costs. I read that in Xcode 7 that you can develop apps for iOS without a developer account, this does not seem the case for me, instead when I try and build my test application (a blank single view application) I get an error saying 'no code signing identities found' and requires me to 'join a program'.

Is there a way I can develop applications without paying for a developers account (is there a 'free' option in the program options or not? Don't want to go through the steps and find out I was charged $99!)

  • 2
    The reasons to choose android over iOS are slowly crumbling - I would have liked to see this sooner, but it's a welcome step forward to let people run code on their devices.
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 20:05
  • @bmike It would be good to one day be able to 'sideload' applications without Xcode.
    – iProgram
    Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 20:06
  • Progress continues with free app distribution and waivers for non-profits, governments and educational developers. developer.apple.com/support/membership-fee-waiver
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 20:49

5 Answers 5


You don't need to pay for a Apple developer store certificate for personal use and there are waivers for what in the pas was paid-only features of the developer program as well.

Your personal AppleID is good enough to sign apps in Xcode and load them on a limited number of devices (5 or so) from your Mac to get started with developing. Once you need TestFlight or want to make a signed app that is reviewed - you need to pay or obtain a waiver, but please do get started for free.

Apple now waives the fee for accredited non profit and educational groups. This includes App Store distribution of free apps.

Here’s how I would undo a previous paid AppleID - you might need Apple Developer support to help you release your AppleID from the paid program if you are reusing the same AppleID (and I encourage always reusing the same and not making new accounts when you run into a hiccup like this).

Instead, delete all Xcode copies you might have installed earlier - whether they are from the Mac App Store or downloaded and then install Xcode 7 from the Mac App store:

Once it downloads, run the app and go to the settings:

  • click Accounts
  • click the + in the lower left and add an Apple ID
  • enter a personal Apple ID, the one you use for the App Store is fine to reuse
  • you're done

When you build an app for iOS, connect the iOS device and choose that AppleID to sign the app when asked.

enter image description here

  • 3
    Sorry, but this didn't work for me. I think you need to be aware of the configuration around provisioning profiles here, as I continue getting this error: "No non–expired provisioning profiles were found." Also, according to the documentation, a development certificate is required for a provisioning profile to be created. "For example, Xcode automatically registers your device and requests your development certificate, both of which are needed to create a team provisioning profile."
    – AlxVallejo
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 17:37
  • 1
    I think you can only use three devices for development when you're not paying for a developer account.
    – Flimm
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 12:08
  • is this works? did anyone else who has tried this?
    – Amare
    Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 13:36
  • Any chance you qualify for the fee waiver @AlxVallejo ?
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 20:47

please follow the below steps :-

Requirements: You must be running iOS 9 on your devices (iPhone or iPad), latest Xcode 7 and you’ll need a free developer account, which lets you “test on device”.

Step 1: Launch your application which you want to run on device.

Step 2: Connect your iOS device via USB.

Step 3: In the drop down device selection menu, select your device (not a simulator).

Step 4: Wait as Xcode 7 indexes and processes symbol files. This may take a while as well, so be patient. Once complete, the status will say Ready.

Step 5: Click the Play button (Run application). You’ll likely get an error that says “failed to code sign”. That’s okay. Click Fix Issue and click Add to log in with your developer account. Remember, you don’t need a paid developer account, but you will need a free developer account (Apple ID). If you don’t have a developer account, create one by clicking Join a Program instead.

Step 6: Once you log in, click the Play button again to proceed with the compile. You may receive another error that says An App ID with Identifier…is not available. Please enter a different string. To fix this, click the General tab, and give the Bundle Identifier a unique name (delete the name between the two dots and add your own name. Leave the prefix and suffix as it is).

Step 7: Click the Play button once more. The compile should complete, and you’ll see the app that you compiled appear on your iOS device’s Home screen.

Step 8: You’ll need to enable access to the app by trusting the developer on your iOS device. This can be done by going to Settings → General → Profile and tapping on the Developer app and granting access.

Step 9: Launch the app on your device Home screen, and iOS should allow you to use it. Happy code signing :).

Note: you cannot test Push Notification and In-App purchase on Free Membership Account.

  • Welcome to Ask Different! Please don't give link-only answers. We're looking for answers that provide explanations as to why it answers the question as well as why it's the best answer. Links can change over time and then we'll lose the question-answer context. See How to Answer for info on what makes up a good answer. - From Review -
    – fsb
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 14:17
  • @Fbara thanks for your advice. Please take a look on my Ans now am edited. :) Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 6:19
  • Thanks. It's ok to have links in an answer, it's just preferred to add the 'meat' of the info to the answer, too. Also, you state 'please follow the below links' but the link isn't there. Either remove the sentence or add the link(s) to the answer.
    – fsb
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 13:15

You can develop apps for your own iOS device be registering on https://developer.apple.com/resources/.

enter image description here

Enrollment to any specific developer programs is a separate steps which you don't have to do. Happy coding.


Update 2020/11/6 :

  • You can develop on Xcode 7 on the Mac for iOS devices without having entered the developer program, billed 99€/$ per year. You will be able to test freely your program in simulated iOS devices and on a device connected to your Mac.
  • You can build your app to execute on the iOS device you connected, once away from your Mac. However, by default, this is only temporary and will only last for 7 days. After that time, your application will not launch anymore on your device. You'll need to reconnect your device and rebuild it in Xcode. This is due to Apple generating a temporary profile for you allowing the iPhone to recognize the app. I've not been made aware of anyway to get around this default behavior, and from what I've been said it is not possible without jailbreaking your iPhone.
  • As a consequence, you can develop an app freely though Xcode, but you can't really use it freely, even on your own device.

The solution that has been marked works. But instead of re-downloading it, you can remove temporary files that Xcode creates on first start. It can be done using apps like CleanMyMac.

  1. Select Xcode, then it will find relative files
  2. select all other than actual Xcode.app binary file
  3. Uninstall them

And you are ready to go with fresh install of Xcode

enter image description here

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