Apple’s missing manual: How to set up a Developer Account
In this how-to guide, we’ll show you the steps to set up your Apple Developer account, from requesting your D-U-N-S number to being ready to submit your first app.
January 31, 2018
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, which creates native, branded applications for over 50 music festivals across four continents. To keep those apps affordable – since festivals, as a rule, would rather spend their budget on big artist names – they are built using our Appmiral framework: a set of almost 20 pre-made components that can be combined and branded based on a festival’s needs. Soon enough, Appmiral’s apps started being rejected by Apple.
After many appeals and petitions, Appmiral was given a green light again, provided the apps 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 an example.
What you’ll need:
An Apple ID that is not linked to an Apple Developer account
A D-U-N-S number (company only)
Your company information (company only)
A person with authority to sign legal contracts (company only)
A credit card ($99)
If your company needs to request a D-U-N-S number, the entire process will take two to three weeks. If you already have a D-U-N-S number or are not a company, the entire process usually takes about five business days, sometimes less. Make sure to request an Apple Developer account well in advance of when 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 an existing Apple 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 three security questions, and continue
You will then receive a verification code by mail. Enter it in the following popup and click ‘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.
Companies and educational institutions need a D-U-N-S number to be able 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 be the name Apple uses for your Developer account, as well as the name that appears when you place apps in the App Store. If your company’s legal name and brand name are not 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. Go 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 done this, click ‘Submit’ to continue.
On the following page, you will be asked whether you are an individual or one-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: a company.
First, you’ll have to provide some contact information and confirm that you are either the owner of the company or 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 the Dun & Bradstreet database).
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 the information is 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.
If your request is 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 get 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 provided. 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 done this, 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. While your account is pending, you will not be able to log in to iTunes Connect yet either.
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 future blog post… after we’ve welcomed our own clients to the wonderful world of the Apple Developer Program ;)
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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.