For a company, in order to be able to publish an app for iPhone/iPad to the App Store what hardware does it need to register?

I know that you need to register your development devices. What is the minimum that you need to register? Is a MacBook Air enough? Or do you also need to register an iPhone, iPad?

I am just starting and I prefer to test it on friends devices, as I don't have the money to buy them now...

2 Answers 2


Realistically, you need an Intel Mac, the cheapest possible one will do, and access to at least 1 to 3 iOS devices. One device for the current OS release, one device running the OS release of the oldest OS you plan on supporting, and perhaps one dedicated test device for doing beta OS app testing. If you want to do Universal apps, at least 1 iPad and one non-iPad, as there are many things that can't be fully tested on the iOS Simulator.

Going forward, a Mac that can run Lion may end up being required to keep up with the latest SDK frameworks, codesigning tools and app submission tools.

You need to register any iOS devices that you want to use for app testing. They don't need to belong to you or your company. Multiple developers can register the same shared devices.

You don't need to "register" any Macs. You do need to create and/or copy private keys and certificates to each Mac that you want to use for device testing development or app store submission.

Unrealistically, you could get by with none. No devices or owned Macs are required. (There are online tools that will pretty much construct an entire native app Xcode project.) Have a friend or consultant with a Mac get your certificates and do the final codesigning; and let your customers be your beta testers. But the latter could easily lead to apps that get rejected or that crash for most of your customers. And the non-Mac development tools all have various (some severe) deficiencies.


Technically, the submission of apps and music and books happens over a web page, so you don't need any Mac hardware to publish the end results of your creative work.

For iOS, the Xcode tools run only on Macs, so you simply need to pick a version of Xcode and find a mac that meets the minimum specs. Pretty much any mac made in the last 5 years is good enough. Do make sure the mac will run Lion as you won't want to be stuck on Xcode 3 for long. You do not need to have any iOS devices to submit an app to the App store.

However, having iOS devices is highly encouraged for testing and development, but you don't need one for publication. Testing on actual devices is very important for a quality app as there's no replacement for getting the gestures and the UI tweaked on a real device. Plus, the simulator isn't quite a perfect simulation, especially when it comes to memory, so you may miss bugs you would otherwise find on an iOS device. Apple will surely run your app on several devices and you will lose time and perhaps not be approved if you ship apps that run fine in the simulator, but not so well on real devices.

The simulator runs Intel Processor code, the devices run ARM code - so your one code project gets built into two apps - you only submit the iOS app for approval / distribution and it's better for you to test that exact build and find the bugs yourself rather then when the app is under review.

  • thanks Chris, I have the devices but they are not owned by the company. Will the guys at Apple aprove the app if I didn't register iPhone/iPad? Anyway, in order to register a device, do you have to own it?
    – Ryan
    Oct 27, 2011 at 13:15
  • See updated answer. Oct 27, 2011 at 13:58
  • 1
    @ryan since Apple accepted iPad apps in the App Store, before the device became available, I'd say it's OK to only register a MacBook. Oct 27, 2011 at 14:02
  • I removed the comments on registering iOS devices - it's really not part of the minimal set of hardware apple "makes" you buy. Don't worry about who owns the test devices - all developers get 100 serial numbers they can deploy dev builds to and Apple is aware that beta testers are often not even employees of your company. You can't give them the Xcode tools or disclose NDA topics to them, you can send them your work in progress and let them use it / test it without restriction.
    – bmike
    Oct 27, 2011 at 15:37
  • Good to know about the 100 serial numbers. I had always assumed you could share them outside the company, but was never 100% sure if it was allowed or just tolerated. Oct 27, 2011 at 15:43

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