Developing Perspective

#120: Setting up an App Store Developer Account.


00:00:00   Hello and welcome to Developing Perspectives. Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing

00:00:04   news of note in iOS development, Apple, and the like. I'm your host, David Smith. I'm

00:00:08   an independent iOS and Mac developer based in Herndon, Virginia. This is show number

00:00:11   120, and today is Monday, April 15th. Developing Perspective was never longer than 15 minutes,

00:00:17   so let's get started. So recording an episode on April 15th, you can't help but start by

00:00:22   saying if you're in the United States, today is the last day to file your individual tax

00:00:26   And as a good reminder, it is also the due date for your first estimated payment if you

00:00:31   make those.

00:00:32   All right, so the main topic that I am going to be getting into today is something that

00:00:37   I've actually had a fair bit of interest in.

00:00:40   And it's something that I think will be a good walkthrough if you're starting out or

00:00:43   just a good refresher, if it's something you've been thinking about.

00:00:45   And that is I'm going to walk through the process of setting up a business to make apps

00:00:49   -- sell apps in the App Store.

00:00:50   This is something I did in preparation for Feed Wrangler.

00:00:53   I've started a new company developing perspective LLC, quite an original name. And I essentially

00:00:59   I'm splitting it out from my old company, cross forward consulting LLC. And a lot of

00:01:03   that is just to try and that it simplifies a lot of things and cleans a lot of things

00:01:08   up. And that cross forward consulting as a company, as you could tell from its name was

00:01:12   something that I originally created and developed when I was a consultant back in the day that

00:01:17   it's a company with a lot of other other interests, a lot of things that it does. And what I'd

00:01:21   like to do is, you know, sort of moving forward is to streamline a little bit and simplify,

00:01:26   and maybe compartmentalize, you could even say, a lot of what I do into a separate company.

00:01:30   And so that's what I did. That may not make sense for everybody and whatever, but that's

00:01:34   what I did. That's the choice I made. And so here's kind of the process that I went

00:01:37   through for creating that company. And what I was going to do, and I thought would be

00:01:41   interesting, is to start from once I made that decision, to when I was ready to submit

00:01:45   an app to the App Store, which, by the way, I was able to successfully do last Friday.

00:01:49   And so essentially what I did is the first thing you have to do is you have to decide

00:01:52   what kind of business you want to be.

00:01:54   And this is where it's going to start to get into things that are, A, very specific to

00:01:58   the United States.

00:01:59   So I'm sorry if you're in another country, my guess is a lot of these things will be

00:02:01   very different for you.

00:02:02   But hopefully a lot of the Apple related stuff will be similar.

00:02:05   And two, it'll start to get into areas that maybe could be construed as legal advice or

00:02:10   accounting advice or those types of things.

00:02:11   That's not what this is.

00:02:13   As always, you have the sort of the disclaimer, this is just me talking about my experience.

00:02:16   What makes sense for you is of course going to be different.

00:02:19   in general, the sort of the first step you have to do is you have to decide what kind

00:02:21   of an entity you want to be. And for a lot of for most people, it's going to come down

00:02:25   to do you want to just be yourself an individual? Do you want to be an LLC? Or you want to be

00:02:30   a corporation in the United States? Those are kind of the three choices you have with

00:02:34   a few bit of nuances for what kind of corporation you want to be or what kind of LLC you want

00:02:38   to be. Generally speaking, you it's kind of, do you want to be just yourself? Or do you

00:02:42   want to form a business and a company to do that? And generally, in my experience, I've

00:02:46   always wanted to create businesses. I like the sort of the general things of both liability

00:02:51   protection that you in theory get from that. And it also was a really nice way to keep

00:02:55   your finances and things separate from your own personal self. And generally the cost

00:03:01   and the overheads associated with forming a business are relatively low. I live in a

00:03:05   state, Virginia, where it's incredibly low. I think forming an LLC was about $100 and

00:03:11   about maybe 20 minutes, 30 minutes filling out a few online forms. And they emailed me,

00:03:16   know, my certificate of incorporation right away. It was very straightforward. It'll vary

00:03:20   depending on what state you're in. You can get a lawyer to do that to help you out. There's

00:03:23   a lot of services that will form companies for you. But generally speaking, I like the

00:03:27   fact that I created a company to do, you know, to do the work in the business of what I'm

00:03:31   doing, because it separates, it creates this nice separate sort of separation between my

00:03:35   own personal finances and my own personal sort of life and my work life and my sort

00:03:42   of my professional self. And that's also really helpful, you

00:03:45   know, should I ever want to do things with that business in

00:03:48   terms of you know, maybe merge with someone else or grow into

00:03:51   some into a larger company, or be acquired or any of those

00:03:54   types of things. But being having a business that's a sort

00:03:57   of a self sustained separate entity is really helpful for

00:04:00   that. And so that's what I did. So I formed a new LLC,

00:04:03   developing perspective LLC. Once I did that, the next thing I

00:04:05   needed to do was essentially was register with the IRS, which in

00:04:09   the US is the Internal Revenue Service, they're essentially the

00:04:12   government tax agency, and I registered with them to get an EIN number, which is an employer

00:04:17   identification number that allows me to essentially have a separate tax ID for the business as

00:04:22   different from my own social security number, which is an important step.

00:04:26   So you go and you just it's the same kind of thing.

00:04:28   You go into the IRS website, there's a few things you fill in, it's relatively straightforward

00:04:31   and you'll end up with a number at the end.

00:04:33   So now essentially, you have everything you need, for the most part to get started with

00:04:37   building, heading towards getting into the App Store and setting up an account there.

00:04:43   This has changed a little bit from a few years ago. And now Apple is essentially has deeply

00:04:49   integrated what's called a DUNS number into the process. And DUNS is a number that are

00:04:54   done in Bradstreet is a company who essentially does credit reports and those types of things

00:04:59   for businesses. So if you can imagine a lot of people have credit reports, you're getting

00:05:03   mortgage or credit card, they'll pull out your credit report from I think Experian or

00:05:07   Equifax or these kinds of companies.

00:05:09   Then Bradstreet is kind of an equivalent for businesses.

00:05:12   And Apple is fairly sort of has bought into them and tied into them as a way of sort of

00:05:17   verify businesses and get some information about them.

00:05:20   This really this only applies if you're forming a business, you can also create a developer

00:05:24   account as an individual.

00:05:26   That's up to you.

00:05:27   That's kind of what you're doing.

00:05:28   If this is maybe just a hobby or something that you don't really need to go whole hog

00:05:31   you can do that and it's a little bit simpler

00:05:33   if you're doing it individual.

00:05:34   But what I'm gonna talk about is pretty much the process

00:05:37   if you are forming a business, if you've done that,

00:05:38   if you're taking this seriously and kind of

00:05:40   going whole hog and building this thing,

00:05:42   this is the process you'll have.

00:05:44   So basically, once you've formed this business,

00:05:47   you've formed this company, and the next thing

00:05:48   you're gonna do is you need a Dunne's number

00:05:50   before you can start the developer

00:05:51   enrollment process with Apple.

00:05:53   And there's actually a form on the Apple website

00:05:56   where you can go in and you can essentially

00:05:58   submit all the information that Dunne and Bradstreet

00:06:00   Street will need and submit that to them via Apple. You can also do this directly via Dun & Brad

00:06:04   Street. If it's a company that's been around for a while, this isn't a new creation, you may actually

00:06:09   have a Duns number that you don't know about. So you can go to Dun & Brad Street and look it up and

00:06:14   see if one exists. And essentially what this allows is it gives Apple an avenue to verify that

00:06:21   you are in fact the business that you're talking about, that you are incorporated, that you do

00:06:25   exist, that a lot of the information that you're doing is valid. But the process for setting it up

00:06:30   It's fairly straightforward, but I will warn you, this whole process can be very time consuming

00:06:35   in terms of calendar time.

00:06:37   It's not a lot of actual time investment, but a lot of the things is you submit it,

00:06:41   you wait, something comes back.

00:06:43   You submit it, you wait, and something else comes back, which means that if you are, the

00:06:47   time to do this is early in the development process.

00:06:50   I think I started this process about six weeks before I was expecting to need to submit,

00:06:56   And it didn't take that long, but it was very helpful

00:06:58   for me to be able to do that upfront,

00:07:01   and so that I didn't have to worry about it.

00:07:02   I've had some friends who kind of,

00:07:04   when they get, they're like, they finish their app,

00:07:05   they're getting ready to submit,

00:07:06   and then they start the process.

00:07:08   And it can be very frustrating that it then takes

00:07:10   a week or two after the fact to actually get it all set up.

00:07:13   So just something to keep in mind.

00:07:14   If you're thinking about this, do it as soon as you can,

00:07:17   because you don't want to be frustrated waiting.

00:07:18   You can't put your app in review.

00:07:20   You can't do anything until you've started all this process.

00:07:23   So anyway, so you go in, you submit this form

00:07:25   Dun & Bradstreet. And you just kind of wait and you wait a little bit and you wait a little

00:07:28   bit. And at some point, you're going to get a phone call at the phone number that you

00:07:32   or this is what happened to me anyway. I got a phone call from a representative at Dun

00:07:36   & Bradstreet and they wanted to talk through a little bit of the business, its background,

00:07:40   if there's other businesses associated with it. It's just sort of a lot of verification

00:07:44   and kind of a brief interview, filling in a few details, being sure they understand

00:07:48   exactly the type of business you are, the size of your business, the kind of revenue

00:07:53   new uni you're expecting to have, all those types of things.

00:07:55   And they're just kind of, it's very pro forma,

00:07:57   but it was just an interview that someone called

00:07:59   and you kind of work your way through.

00:08:02   Then after that, it was a couple of days,

00:08:03   and eventually I got my DUNS number.

00:08:05   And so that was the, once I got through that point,

00:08:07   now I'm finally at the point that I can sign up with Apple

00:08:10   for a developer account.

00:08:11   So you go to developer.apple.com/ios or /mac

00:08:14   if you're going into the Mac developer program,

00:08:16   the process is exactly the same,

00:08:19   but you can kind of just start it for me at a different point.

00:08:22   developer programs are fairly straightforward. You pay $99 a

00:08:25   year, and you have the ability to submit apps to the App Store.

00:08:29   That's essentially sort of the deal. I think your developer

00:08:32   program comes with a few other random things like you can get a

00:08:34   couple of technical support requests, access to maybe I'm

00:08:37   not sure if betas require a paid account or just a free account.

00:08:40   But generally speaking, you need you know, you if you're going to

00:08:43   sell apps or some or distribute apps to the App Store, you need

00:08:46   a paid account for $99 a year, which in general is just sort of

00:08:50   the cost of doing business.

00:08:52   You'll go through the signup process.

00:08:55   And this is one of these things that takes a little while.

00:08:58   You'll go and you'll fill in a bunch of forms.

00:09:00   You'll give them a whole bunch of others--

00:09:02   your DUNS number, your address, who you are,

00:09:04   some contact information.

00:09:06   Then you submit that.

00:09:08   You wait.

00:09:08   I think it gets verified by a person there.

00:09:10   They send you an email back saying, hey, great.

00:09:12   You're approved.

00:09:13   Now keep going.

00:09:14   And then you'll actually go and you'll

00:09:16   take your developer program, put it in a cart, go and buy it.

00:09:19   for, you know, you pay your $99, come back, and you do a lot of back and forth. It's fairly

00:09:23   straightforward, but it takes a bit of time. This is, again, something that you just want

00:09:27   to do when you're not rushed. So do this as early as you can. You go through the process

00:09:32   and you end up at the end with a developer account. So this is something if you go to

00:09:36   developer.apple.com/ios, sign in, suddenly you have a developer account. And suddenly

00:09:41   you can do a bunch of things like you can create, you can add devices to your developer

00:09:46   portal, you can create bundle IDs, provisioning profiles, all those types of things.

00:09:50   Which are important for development. I'm going to be focused more on the iTunes Connect side

00:09:54   though. So the next thing you want to do is you go into iTunes Connect. And iTunes Connect.apple.com

00:09:59   is the place where you actually manage all of the commerce of the App Store. All of those

00:10:04   types of things are all done through iTunes Connect. So developer.apple.com is like the

00:10:08   developer portal. That's where you have all the documentation, you download betas, all

00:10:12   that information. iTunes Connect is the place you go for all of the more app store related

00:10:17   things, both finance and contracts and those types of things, as well as actually managing

00:10:22   your applications, getting sales reports, getting payment reports, etc. So you go into

00:10:27   iTunes Connect and the first thing you're going to want to do is go into the contracts

00:10:31   section, contracts legal and accounting I think it might be called. It's on the left

00:10:35   column. And what you want to do in here is you need to set up a bunch of contracts. Basically

00:10:40   you need to enter into a series of legal agreements with Apple and give them a bunch of information

00:10:44   about yourself before you can actually go about the business of submitting applications.

00:10:48   This is slightly different.

00:10:49   I think if you are doing paid applications or if you're only doing free, so if you're

00:10:52   just signing for an account to distribute a free application, a few of the steps you

00:10:56   don't have to do, which makes sense because if Apple's never going to be paying you, they

00:10:59   don't need to know your bank account information, for example.

00:11:03   But generally speaking, for most people, I would recommend that you just set up the paid

00:11:07   process in general because it gives you a lot of flexibility down the road.

00:11:11   If you decide for whatever reason to, for example,

00:11:14   to register with IAD or all these kind of things, it's good to just have that all

00:11:18   set up, have it in place,

00:11:19   so that you have that flexibility down the road. And it's fairly straightforward. You'll go in,

00:11:22   you'll sign a bunch of agreements, which is the first step,

00:11:24   which is essentially, these are legal agreements between you and Apple

00:11:28   defining the terms of selling in the App Store. You need to go in and set up

00:11:32   your banking information, and this is essentially just a way for Apple

00:11:35   to get a hold of, you know, to pay you money

00:11:38   based on your sales.

00:11:39   And so you need to give them, you know, a routing number

00:11:41   and all this kind of information as you kind of expect

00:11:43   so they can send you your payments, which is great.

00:11:45   And obviously if you're going into this

00:11:47   from a business perspective, it is vitally important

00:11:49   that you get it right and that that's all set up.

00:11:52   Next, you're also gonna need to give them

00:11:53   some tax information, and this varies

00:11:55   from country to country.

00:11:56   In the US, this is essentially just filling out a W9,

00:11:59   which is another IRS form where you'll now put in

00:12:02   the EIN that you got, whatever, you know.

00:12:04   like I talked about seven minutes ago, where you go and you give them your EIN number or

00:12:09   your social security if you're doing it as an individual, and it lets Apple be able to

00:12:14   report things to the IRS as they need to.

00:12:18   And I think that's generally the process.

00:12:19   And now you're sort of, you're set up.

00:12:21   One thing I will mention, and this isn't that actually caught me with when I was setting

00:12:25   up Feed Wrangler, is Feed Wrangler includes an in-app purchase.

00:12:28   And I just wanted to point out that in-app purchases will fail with very strange error

00:12:32   messages if you do not have a paid contract in effect and in force.

00:12:37   And so I had, just because I was where I was in my development cycle while I was doing

00:12:43   this, I'd set up my in-app purchase for the application.

00:12:46   I'd started working on it and then I hadn't actually gone through my contracts yet and

00:12:51   set them up and I kept getting these really strange in-app purchase errors.

00:12:53   And it turned out in-app purchases will fail in your account until you have a paid contract

00:12:58   set up, which makes sense, but was kind of cryptic, and once it was I finally worked

00:13:02   it out, it was easy to fix, but I just wanted to mention that here in case that happens

00:13:05   to you.

00:13:06   But generally, so now once you've got all your contracts set up, your payment information,

00:13:09   your tax information, all that set up, now you're ready to submit your applications,

00:13:13   and you can kind of get started.

00:13:15   And so you go into the Manage My Apps area of iTunes Connect, and you can say I want

00:13:21   to create an app.

00:13:22   One thing it's going to do is it's going to ask you what the display name for your company

00:13:26   or person should be in the store.

00:13:27   And this is one of those things that you get one shot at.

00:13:29   So be very careful about typing it.

00:13:31   Make sure there's no typos, making sure it's

00:13:33   exactly what you want it to be.

00:13:34   And this is essentially just the name

00:13:36   in iTunes in the App Store that would

00:13:37   be displayed next to your app.

00:13:39   So in my case, it was Developing Perspective LLC.

00:13:41   It could be whatever it is that was relevant to you.

00:13:43   But be very careful with that.

00:13:44   And you only get one chance to do it.

00:13:46   So be careful about that.

00:13:48   Then you go and you choose your application.

00:13:50   You'll say, I want to create a new iOS app.

00:13:52   And you'll set it up.

00:13:53   And you go in and you enter in the information,

00:13:55   metadata, title description, screenshots, icon information, those types of things, set

00:14:00   up in-app purchases if you have any.

00:14:03   And from that point, you're essentially, you're set up.

00:14:05   You will go into Xcode, you will actually, you'll go into the developer portal, create

00:14:09   the profiles you need to sign your applications with, and then you'll go into Xcode, build

00:14:14   an archive, take that archive and submit it to App Store, and you'll be waiting for review.

00:14:19   And so that's basically the process.

00:14:20   It's a little bit complicated and a little bit time consuming, like I said, but it's

00:14:25   It's fairly straightforward in that you just kind of work your way through it.

00:14:27   There's an excellent--I'll have a link in the show notes to the sort of--the starting

00:14:31   off page in Apple's documentation that work--walks you through this process.

00:14:35   And it's really like I said, it's--once you--if you follow along, you're fine.

00:14:38   It's just taking--it's just time consuming.

00:14:40   So make sure you do this as early as you can.

00:14:42   All right, that's it for today's show.

00:14:44   As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns or complaints, I'm on Twitter @_DavidSmith.

00:14:47   I'm on AppNet @DavidSmith.

00:14:48   And if you want to email me directly, david@developingperspective.com.

00:14:51   We have a great week.

00:14:53   Happy coding.

00:14:54   Bye.