Personal Use

Hi All,
Question please. I am a hobby programmer and have been for many years. I currently have the single use license for Macs for this purpose and have a couple of programs I have developed for my own personal use which I use extensively but have no intention of ever commercialising.

I would like to look at writing them on iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) but again, only for my use, not for sale.

My question is, I realise that commercial iOS apps are submitted to Apple and then made available thru the App Store, but is it possible to develop apps for personal use only and, if so, how would they be deployed onto my devices?

Thanks for any help,

I don’t know about using Xojo… but using Swift and Xcode you can… although I have seen some that I have needed to reinstall every few months… .but since I wrote them it only takes a few seconds.

Thanks for the reply. I’m assuming it would prob be same/similar. Are you able to briefly outline how it works please? I’m contemplating an iOS license but don’t want to commit until I know it works.


If you leave Xojo implications out of it temporarily and consider the Apple XCode requirements, the two common choices when not using the App Store are:

  1. Enroll in the Apple Developer Program. Cost is $99 USD per year, but fee can be waived for some nonprofit, educational, or government entities (more here )

With such a membership, apps you create can be deployed on devices and run for up to a year before you must re-generate and reinstall them. You can deploy only to a limited number of devices.

  1. Use a free membership. Zero cost, but apps must be reinstalled every 7 days. As Dave notes, this can be a fast process but you do need to have your macOS machine available to be able to do it.

The free membership would let you experiment, and then if / when you get tired of weekly reinstalls, decide if you want to justify $99 USD/year and join that instead.

I’d suggest you start by looking at this comparison of Apple membership types. The bottom of that page mentions another alternative which is what some of my corporate clients use: an Enterprise license which lets companies deploy “in-house” apps to an unlimited number of iOS devices. They too have a yearly expiration, but I just put out release updates more often that that so users don’t notice.

A simple web search will point you to tons of results on how to deploy apps to devices. For example, this blog entry seems pretty current.

To develop with Xojo, you will also need XCode and one of the above options anyway. So start by learning about the requirements other than Xojo.

If I recall, to get an Enterprise License, requires you prove to Apple that you are a viable corporation and is not easily obtained.

I invest in the $99 per year option with Apple.

But Barry… I cannot outline how the process works with Xojo, as I do not as I stated use Xojo for iOS devices. But with Swift, its just a matter of clicking “build” (once you install the certificates that Douglas spoke about above)… and yes, it is literally that easy :slight_smile:

The Enterprise license is great for those cases where you have in-house apps to roll out privately to devices. And it is faster to obtain – and cheaper – than it used to be. But it doesn’t apply to the use case of the OP. I don’t think you have to prove the corporation is “viable”. But it does have to be listed on D&B, and you do have to answer a series of questions on how it will be used and why.

I think Apple is more gun-shy now on giving them out because of some high profile cases where the license was abused.

you don’t get listed there if you aren’t a viable corporation :slight_smile:

You can do this with Xojo and a paid Apple membership. What you’ll need is an ad-hoc provisioning profile. With this option, you’ll just need to update the app once a year.

Thanks everybody, especially Douglas for the size of the reply (no disrespect to the others). I actually do have the $99 Apple developer membership as I have tried (and tried and tried and tried …) over the last few years to learn Xcode/Swift etc (wish there was an easy way there, but that’s another conversation). Anyway, I’ll look into all of that, sounds like it will work.

Thanks again everybody :slight_smile: