We have an iOS application that we are looking to possibly distribute to a client through Apple Developer Enterprise Program.

This app is not public, so releasing it on App Store will not work.

Ultimately, we are looking to send an invitation to users through an email, or direct the users to a iOS hosting platform where they can download the app.

If possible, we are not willing to manage device ids. The client will have users outside the organization (contractors) to which they will need to distribute the app.

How can we do this?

  • Why will TestFlight not work for you?
    – fsb
    Oct 22 '19 at 17:04
  • Test Flight requires managing device IDs and our users are not technical enough to do deliver this info to us. There is arounds 75 users and we would not want to manage and support the devices that they are using. Oct 22 '19 at 19:16
  • Just about all MDM allow this easily. Why are you in charge of distributing to an enterprise when they should be managing their devices? (Or is that the answer you seek)
    – bmike
    Oct 23 '19 at 0:23

Your question seems quite unclear as you seem to have given the answer together with the question.

The way to do this is to apply to the Apple Developer Enterprise Program. Using that account you can create an In-House Distribution Certificate that you can use to sign your app with in Xcode.

After you have signed your app, you'll need to create a manifest plist file. Host the app (.ipa) and the manifest (.plist) in a folder on a web server, and send the user's an invitation via email.

The user will then be able to download the app, trust the enterprise profile and eventually run the app.

  • Thank you very much for the comment. We did not know about this possibility, we were of opinion that the client would have to host the distribution platform and we would have to deliver the app to that platform(this is not preferred solution). Could you please, if possible, direct me to Apple's documentation(or any other) that describes that method you have proposed. Again, thank you very much. Oct 23 '19 at 15:35
  • It doesn’t matter who exactly does what in practice - it is the enterprise (I.e. apparently your client) that needs to apply with Apple... but it’s perfectly fine that they hire someone (like you) to host and setup the server containing the app, create the app ipa and manifest, sign the app, etc. Your client just need to create a new user for you in Apple’s developer portal.
    – jksoegaard
    Oct 23 '19 at 16:02
  • So the bottom line - the enterprise(client) needs to apply with Apple, and create user in their developer portal. Without Apple Dev portal that they own, we cannot distribute to them? Oct 23 '19 at 17:16
  • Sure, but not through the enterprise program, which you specifically listed as a requirement. Most everyone else in the world would be using the Apple Business Manager for distributing private apps - so unless you're doing something "very odd", I suggest looking at that.
    – jksoegaard
    Oct 23 '19 at 21:00

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