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Apple’s missing manual: How to set up a Developer Account

In this how-to guide, we’ll show you the steps of setting up your Apple Developer account. From requesting your D-U-N-S number to being ready to submit your first app.

14/11/2019
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7
min read
Apple’s missing manual: How to set up a Developer Account

Flashback to June 2017: Apple added a single line to its App Store Review Guidelines that would change everything:

“4.2.6: Apps created from a commercialised template or app generation service will be rejected.”

The change was a blow for our portfolio company Appmiral specifically, which creates native, branded applications for over 50 music festivals across 4 continents. To keep those applications affordable for music festivals (who as a rule, would rather spend their budget on big artist names), the apps are built using our Appmiral framework: a set of almost 20 pre-made components that can be combined and branded based on the festival’s needs. Soon enough, Appmiral’s apps started being rejected by Apple.

After many appeals and petitions, Appmiral is given a green light again, as long as they are submitted by the festival owners themselves, using their own App Store account, or to use its proper name, Apple Developer account ($99) – a not-so-unfortunate side-effect for Apple.

So, because many of our clients will now have to set up an Apple Developer account of their own, we thought we’d go over all the necessary steps for doing so.

In this how-to guide, we’ll be setting up an Apple Developer account using our other portfolio company, Spencer, as our example case.


What will you need:


Duration:

If your company needs to request a D-U-N-S number, the entire process will take 2 to 3 weeks. If you already have a D-U-N-S number or aren’t a company, the entire process usually takes about 5 business days, sometimes less. Do make sure to request an Apple Developer account a lot earlier than you want your app to go live in the App Store. If Apple rejects your request, for whatever reason, you may be in for some slow back-and-forth communication.


1. CREATING AN APPLE ID

If you already have an Apple ID that isn’t linked to a developer account, you can skip this step.


Go to appleid.apple.com to create a new Apple ID. Fill out all the requested personal information and the 3 security questions, and continue.

You will now receive a verification code by mail. Enter it in the following popup and continue.

You should now be able to log in using your Apple ID.


2. REQUESTING A D-U-N-S NUMBER

If your company is a one-person business, you can skip this step.


For companies and educational institutions, a D-U-N-S number is required to sign up for an Apple Developer account. A D-U-N-S number is a unique nine-digit number that identifies your organisation as a legal entity. If your organisation doesn’t already have a D-U-N-S number, you can request one here.

You will need to enter some (legal) information about your business, such as address, contact information, CEO details, number of employees, etc. It’s important to note here that the legal company name you fill out for the D-U-N-S number will also be the name Apple uses for your Developer account, and the name that will appear when you place apps in the App Store. If your company’s legal name and brand name aren’t the same, the only way to change this is by contacting Apple Support once your Developer account has been created and approved. Normally, they will update the account name for you, free of charge.


It can take up to 14 business days before the D-U-N-S information is passed on to Apple, so don’t postpone this step.


3. APPLE DEVELOPER PROGRAM ENROLLMENT

Once you have received your D-U-N-S number, you can start your actual enrollment in the Apple Developer Program. Browse to developer.apple.com/programs/enroll/, scroll down and click ‘Start Your Enrollment’.

If you are not already logged in, you will be asked to sign in with the Apple ID you created in step 1.

If you have never signed in to Apple’s Developer portal with your Apple ID, you will be asked to read and agree with the Apple Developer Agreement. Once you have, click ‘Submit’ to continue.

On the following page, you will be asked whether you are an individual or single-person business, a company, or a government organisation. As mentioned above, as a company you will need a D-U-N-S number. Select the option that applies to you and click ‘Continue’.

For the sake of this guide, we’ll assume you fall under the most complicated scenario: as a company.

First, you’ll have to provide some contact information and confirm that you are either the owner of the company or you have the authority to sign legal agreements.

Next, you are required to enter some information about your organisation, such as the legal name and the D-U-N-S number (which have to match).

On the next page you will see a summary of all the information you just entered. Review all the info, confirm that the address linked to the D-U-N-S number is correct and click ‘Submit’.



If all information was validated by Apple, you will see a message that the enrollment is being processed.




That’s all you can do! Now you just have to wait for Apple to review the request and approve or reject it.


REQUEST APPROVED/REJECTED


Should your request be rejected, you will receive an email explaining the reasoning behind the decision – however, you’ll not always get an explanation of what steps are required to be approved. While you could reply directly to the rejection email, you’ll have faster results by simply calling the phone number that’s included in the email. Mention your case number and ask for a detailed explanation of the steps you need to take to rectify the situation.

If your request has been approved, you will receive a phone call from an Apple employee on the number you entered before. This person will want to talk to the founder/CEO of the company to confirm the information you entered during the enrollment process. After this phone call you will immediately receive an email with a link allowing you to continue the enrollment process.

This time you will be asked to read and agree with the Apple Developer Program License Agreement. Once you have, click ‘Continue’ to proceed.


On the next page, you’ll see an overview of the membership purchase and are given the option to automatically renew the membership each year. Choose whatever option you prefer and continue.


You will now be redirected to the Apple Store website of your country for checkout. Fill in your contact information once again, add the credit card you want to use and continue.

Once the checkout has been completed, your brand new Apple Developer account will now be pending until the purchase has been processed by Apple. This can take up to 48 hours.



During this time, you can log in to Apple Developer, but you will not be able to add any application IDs, certificates or anything else that is required to prepare your app for the App Store. As long as your account is pending you will also not be able to log in to iTunes Connect yet.


Once your purchase has been processed, you will receive yet another mail, welcoming you to the Apple Developer Program and to iTunes Connect.


And that’s it – you’re now (finally) ready to submit an application to the App Store! Maybe we’ll detail that process in a next blog post… After we’ve welcomed our own clients to the wonderful world of the Apple Developer Program ;)


New look for modals in iOS apps

With iOS 13, Apple brings a new look to modals, i.e. when you need to focus your user’s attention on making a choice or performing a task other than their current task. Going forward, the ‘sheet’ presentation style – right-hand screen in the screenshot below – will become the default design, and the recommended style for non-complex tasks.

iOS modals

While the top edge of the underlying content remains visible, all uncovered areas are dimmed to focus the user and prevent interaction with them. Users can still tap a button to dismiss the card and return to the previous screen, but they can also do so by swiping down.

What can I do?

While this won’t bring any dramatic changes, take the opportunity to make sure you’re delivering the best user experience. Keep the following tips in mind:

Android catches up on restrictions to background activity

With Android 10, apps running in the background will no longer be able to start activities.

This brings Android more in line with Apple’s strict guidelines for how and when apps can run in the background, the goal being to minimise interruptions for users and give them more in control of what’s shown on their screen.

If your app only starts activities as a direct result of user interaction, then most likely your app won’t be affected by this change.

However, apps with alarm functions will be severely impacted, since the alarm functionality will no longer work unless the app is opened in the foreground.

What can I do?

If your app needs to start in the background, create a notification to let the user know what’s happening or what they need to do.

And while this may require changes to your app, remember that it also brings benefits from both a user experience and app developer perspective:

New foreground services attributes for android 10

When your app uses a foreground service to let your users know about activities going on in the background, e.g. a data sync for Fitbit or location tracking for a running app, Android 10 needs to know the type of foreground service.

What can I do?

Make sure to include the foregroundServiceType in the service tag of the AndroidManifest. Available types include phoneCall, mediaPlayback, location, dataSync, and connectedDevice.

Apple takes your privacy to the next level

Privacy is one of the hottest topics around, and Apple has recognised that control over our own data and information is critical to today’s users. The new ‘Sign In with Apple’ option, and changes to location permissions are two features that need to be on your radar.

Sign In with Apple

Apple has developed a unique approach to compete with social login, i.e. using existing information from a social media account like Facebook, Twitter or Google+, to sign in to a third-party app or website.

With ‘Sign In with Apple’, users can use their Apple ID to sign in to iOS apps and websites. Using this option, apps can only ask for a user’s name and email address – no more sharing friend lists or date of birth. And going one step further, users can even request that Apple creates a unique ‘burner’ email address that forwards to the user’s real one, keeping real email addresses out of spammers’ hands.

As of iOS 13, apps in the AppStore that already provide third-party login will have to offer ‘Sign In with Apple’ as one of the login options, and app updates will be rejected if this is not the case. Note that this will also apply to webview login for iOS apps.

Location permissions

Changes to location permission settings with iOS 13 put the user right back in the driving seat when it comes to determining just what location information is tracked and when.

This permission will be stored during the session (and a limited time after) and will let the app access the user’s location. When the user closes the app, the location permissions are set to ‘not determined’, and when he/she reopens the app, the same pop-up will be displayed, asking once again for permission to use the location.

While of course you would like your users to grant more permanent permissions, this one-off chance lowers the bar for them to give your app’s location features a try. And if they like what you do, maybe they’ll be back!

Foreground location permission


Background location permission

What can I do?

First of all, take the opportunity now to review your location code to make sure you’re only requesting this data when it can bring real value for the user. And where the user experience really can be enhanced by sharing their location – or conversely, be greatly limited by not sharing – help your users understand this by being open with them, and explaining it to them (well, the main points!).

They’ll be much more likely to grant permission – even if the first few times it’s only ‘Allow Once’ – if they trust you and believe in the benefits. If you don’t take action, the introduction of the map feature could result in users seeing worrying amounts of location tracking, and subsequently, revoking permissions.

Also, keep a careful eye on the ‘Allow once’ feature – make sure that the OS doesn’t change the location permissions to notAuthorized instead of notDetermined after the session. If this happens – or if in the future this evolves to ‘Allow only once & don’t ask again’ – location access would be denied after the first session, and the user might not even be aware of the limitations.

Again, make sure your users understand how sharing their location benefits them!

Ready, set ... Go!

Are you ready to embrace the changes that iOS 13 and Android 10 are bringing? Not quite?

If you’re looking for extra support on any of the features mentioned above – or any others that these new releases will bring – don’t hesitate to contact us. Drop us a line at antwerp@novemberfive.co and we’ll be happy to arrange a chat!

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Written by

David De Bels

David

Product Owner at Appmiral

After many years at November Five, David joined our venture Appmiral as product owner. Starting from the years of experience as iOS engineer, the very diversified responsibility that comes with building a future-proof product offering at Appmiral is exactly cut out for him. From now on the festival season will not be celebrated with general beers, there’s always a Duvel available when David’s joining.