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Question. What happens to an app when the provisioning profile used to build it expires? Does the app still launch on the device? Dos the app ever "call home" every few days/weeks to Apple to see if it is still valid?

I would assume that it would not (once its installed, its there), but if the phone was ever lost, and needed to be restored from backup, I would assume that the app would no longer work in this case, as when it calls back to apple, it is deemed not valid.

Forgive my simple question, but is my assumption correct?

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The answer is you won't be able to build new versions of the app until you update the provisioning profile, but anything distributed through the App Store will still operate.

Source: I'm doing an update on an app where all of it's provisioning profiles expired a year and half ago, and it's still being successfully distributed on the App Store.

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The Stack Overflow question "What happens when provision profile expires?" might be related this one.

The app will fail to launch due to the expired profile. The profile expires on its own, so I'd expect that the app does not "call home".

The same should be true when restoring from a backup.

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If you're talking about an app that was released to the App Store, users will still be able to download and use it just fine. The fact that the profile has expired will not affect that. It really just means you won't be able to build a new version of the app with the expired profile.

I currently have an app on the App Store with a profile that expired several months ago. I can still download it and use it, but I cannot build a new version for release until I renew the profile.

Be careful, there seems to be a lot of misinformation about this subject where people say that if you let the profile expire the app will stop working. Maybe that's true for other scenarios, I'm not sure, but it's not the case for apps already uploaded to the App Store.

See Proper way to renew distribution certificate for iOS for more info.

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If it's an enterprise in-house app, the app will fail to launch and crash because the app is on your company's or some other server (that's not Apple's servers) and Apple can't confirm your identity without the provisioning profile, so it will fail to launch.

vs.

If it's Apple's App Store app, then it will still launch because it went through the extensive review process by Apple before being uploaded to the App Store. So even if your provisioning profile expires, the app is still deemed credible because Apple has reviewed it before uploading to Apple's servers.

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