Today I Learned: You Cannot Transfer Ownership of iOS Applications

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Today I Learned: You Cannot Transfer Ownership of iOS Applications


25 May, 2012


I have recently completed my first iOS application on behalf of Furnishly, the local furniture exchange. All the release bugs have been worked out and the app is available on the app store. Yesterday, I started looking into how to transfer all the assets over to the owner of Furnishly so he could continue development and review download data on iTunes connect.

On github, this was a snap. Simply go into the administration section for the private repository, scroll down to the Danger Zone and click the transfer button under transfer ownership. Then type in the name of the repository and the new owners user name and hit transfer. Simple, easy.

In iTunes connect, it is a completely different story. There is no obvious way to transfer the application in the UI. Searching around in the FAQ surfaced this gem.

_I sold my app to another developer and can no longer distribute it on the App Store. Can I transfer the app to the new developer's iTunes Connect account? _ No, you can’t transfer the app to another developer account on iTunes Connect. To add the app to another account, remove the app from the current account and upload it to the new iTunes Connect account.

Note that uploading the app to a new iTunes Connect account will disable current customers from receiving automatic and free updates of your application. All customer reviews, rating, and ranking information will be reset. You will not be able to reuse the app name and SKU in the old account. If you have uploaded a binary or used the app with the iAd Network, your Bundle ID will not be reusable either.

So apparently the way to transfer ownership of this app to the non technical owner is to:

  1. ask him to create a apple developer account
  2. wait to get accepted
  3. generate new application keys
  4. rebuild the application with the new keys
  5. delete the old application build from my account
  6. resubmit the new application via his account

Oh and all the folks that have downloaded the app in the mean time from my account are pretty much never going to get an update. All the ratings you might have received will disappear.

Seriously this is a horrible way to handle what seems to me would be a common occurrence. Did Zinga have to follow this process when they bought DrawSomething?

Anyone have advice?

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Bobby Johnson

About Author

I am a passionate engineer with an interest in shipping quality software, building strong collaborative teams and continuous improvement of my skills, team and the product.

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