When building an iOS App, Apple requires that you obtain a Development or Distribution certificate through their Apple Development Program.

Using only the file itself, how can the type of certificate (Development versus Distribution) be determined?

The intention here is not to rely on filenames or human verification.. I need to write a program that can programmatically determine the type of a given certificate by reading its contents.



You can test the certificate for specific OID entries, or more easily but less robustly, view the contents and pattern match.

To extract the contents of a .cer/DER encoded certificate:

openssl x509 -in [PATH TO CERTIFICATE.cer] -noout -inform der -text
  • Looking at the CN information for the Subject, not the Issuer, will hint at either "iPhone Developer" or "iPhone Distribution" – Chibi Jun 11 at 15:56

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