How do I produce an iOS Release Build that my client can sign on their end?

IosXcodeCode SigningApp Store-Connect

Ios Problem Overview

My scenario

I wrote an iOS app for a client. The project is almost over and now it's time for them to put it in the App Store. I've been sending them development builds throughout the development process. Those builds had a bundle id based on my company and my client's project like so: com.mycompany.clientname.projectname. I signed those Ad Hoc builds with an Ad Hoc Distribution Provisioning Profile that I created in my own Provisioning Portal account.

Now that it's time to go to the App Store, I need to do a Release Build and send that for them to sign with their own App Store Distribution Provisioning Profile. This also implies setting a new Bundle ID for the project.

My problem

I need to get a compiled app to the client for them to sign with their provisioning profile. However, I need to set the Bundle ID to what they're going to use first. Let's say it's com.bestclientever.appname. Xcode 4 won't let me archive the project now because doing so requires code signing. I can not code sign it because I can not create a provisioning profile with the same Bundle ID as what they have set up in their Provisioning Portal (the Provisioning Portal enforces uniqueness—as it should).

Have I made any incorrect assumptions or misunderstandings here? ie. Do I really have to set the Bundle ID to what they're going to sign with?

The Question

Is there any way to archive, or otherwise build, an iOS app without code signing it? Like a "sign later" setting or something?

Or, is there a way to build the app with one bundle id but then someone else be able to sign it with a provisioning profile for another bundle id (either by changing the bundle id of the compiled app or some other signing method)?

How can I build the final release build but have someone else sign the app for distribution to the App Store?

What I've tried or explored

  • Acting for the client.
  • With other, less savvy clients, I've ended up just getting their Provisioning Portal and iTunesConnect credentials and just doing the final build as them. That won't fly with this client. It's a big company with strict security guidelines and a lot of red tape.
  • Spoofing as the client.
  • This is similar to the one above and won't work for the same reasons. It sounds really fishy to ask my client "can you export your private keys and send them to me"? This technique is described in this answer:
  • Sending the client my project source code and letting them do the release build.
  • A license to the source code was not in our agreement. Additionally, this client does not want to get involved with source code (hence outsourcing it). I would entertain this as a last-resort option, but there's gotta be a better way!
  • Getting set up as an Admin-level developer in their Developer Member Center.
  • Unfortunately, only the Agent-level user can create a Provisioning Profile (as far as I can tell). It seems like there ought to be a way to either let me create a profile that I can use to sign the build or generate a profile for me. I can't find either option.

Ios Solutions

Solution 1 - Ios

Most of these answers seem complicated and out dated. I think the simple answer is to make an archive with a Developer profile.

This is a solution which I am currently investigating for my own purposes (not fully tested):

You just need developer access (not team agent) to their account and create a Development provisioning profile that authorizes you to build the specified App ID (you need to specify the App ID, because it gets compiled in). Then Archive the app with the Development profile, and share the archive with your client. They can then re-sign the archive with their own Distribution profile.

One complication is that when you build an archive with a developer profile, the entitlement attribute get-task-allow gets set to true, but needs to be set to false for distribution, so you have to work around that by setting it manually your Entitlements.plist - see my question here:

Solution 2 - Ios

I just confirmed at WWDC 2012 that the following technique works. It best satisfies my constraints of little client involvement, low client expertise, a simple signing process, and source code ownership.

  1. Client invites developer to their team in the Member Center as an Admin
  2. Developer accepts the invite (should be in your email)
  3. Developer opens Xcode's Organizer -> Devices Tab -> Provisioning Profiles and hits Refresh in the lower-right corner. Make sure you choose the right team and you should get a few new items.
  4. In Xcode, leave Code Signing Identity settings to their default values (or reset them to iPhone Developer for Any iOS SDK)
  5. Archive the app
  6. In Organizer, right-click the archive and select Show in Finder
  7. Send the .xcarchive file to your client
  8. Client must have Xcode installed
  9. Client double-clicks the .xcarchive file which should open it in Organizer
  10. Client clicks Distribute and signs the app with their identity
  11. Profit

This does require the client to use the Member Center on and to use Xcode a little bit (but just the Organizer!). If your client has technical capability problems at this level then I recommend just taking over and doing it for them (and charging for it!). Ask for their developer login and password and just act on their behalf as if you were an employee.

Ed note: Trading keys around is a terrible compromise because it's more technical and involved for the client and more hacky and risky for the developer. It should be considered a non-option given these two better options.

Solution 3 - Ios

I had the same problem. This was how I finally solved it:

  1. Client created a development certificate.
  2. Client created a development provisioning file using the same App ID as the distribution provisioning file.
  3. Client exported development certificate (.p12).
  4. Client sent me the .p12 file and the development mobile provisioning file.
  5. I imported the clients p12 file into my keychain
  6. I imported the client's provisioning file into Xcode.
  7. Set the code signing Identity for my build configuration to use the client's provisioning file.
  8. I Archived the app.
  9. I Sent the Archive to the client.
  10. The client created their distribution build by signing the app with their distribution provisioning file. (They were distributing the app internally for testing.)

The client was not so concerned with sharing a development certificate as they would be sharing their distribution certificate.

I also had to create entitlements.plist with "Can be debugged" (get-task-allow) set to NO, and reference it in the build configuration (under Code Signing, Code Signing Entitlements).

Solution 4 - Ios

I believe I have found a way to do exactly what you want, I haven't done extensive testing or tried to upload to the app store but from the testing I have done it seems to be good. The resign and the addition of my provisioning profile is working as I can install it on my devices defined in the AdHoc profile with no manual profile installation needed. Second test was I got an iPad and an iPhone version of an app with the same bundle ID from xCode, at first I could not have both in iTunes but after the resign and bundle ID change I was able to have both installed. I also tried changing the app name and that worked as well, it showed on the device and in iTunes with the new name. Below is my script, it's designed to resign a specific app for me, so the profile and bundleID are hardcoded. I flip between an iPhone and iPad version of the app so I added that as a parameter to the script. But you should be able to take the principles I have here and refine them for yourself.

The guts of this builds upon articles like Further adventures in resigning for iOS from Dan's Dev Diary and very similar to Erica Sadun's App Signer listed above. The main addition I made was the editing of the Info.plist prior to resigning.



echo "Going to take the app $1 and resign it as $DestFile"

if [ "$2" = "iphone" ] ; then
        echo "Using iPhone Profile"
        ProvProfile="/Users/YOURNAME/Library/MobileDevice/Provisioning Profiles/PROVISIONINGPROFILE.mobileprovision"
elif [ "$2" = "ipad" ] ; then
        echo "Using iPad Profile"
        ProvProfile="/Users/YOURNAME/Library/MobileDevice/Provisioning Profiles/PROVISIONINGPROFILE_iPad.mobileprovision"
        echo "You must enter either iphone or ipad as the second parameter to choose the profile to sign with."
        exit 1

rm -f Resigned.ipa
unzip -q $1 -d temparea
cd temparea/Payload
echo "*** Original Signing ***"
echo "************************"
codesign -d -vv $AppInternalName/
cp "$ProvProfile" ./$AppInternalName/embedded.mobileprovision
export EMBEDDED_PROFILE_NAME=embedded.mobileprovision
export CODESIGN_ALLOCATE=/Developer/Platforms/iPhoneOS.platform/Developer/usr/bin/codesign_allocate

#Update the Info.plist with the new Bundle ID
sed 's/>ORIGINAL BUNDLEID HERE</>'$BundleID'</' ./$AppInternalName/Info.plist >./$AppInternalName/
mv -f ./$AppInternalName/ ./$AppInternalName/Info.plist

# this will do a rename of the app if needed
# sed 's/>ORIGINAL APP NAME</>NEW APP NAME</' ./$AppInternalName/Info.plist >./$AppInternalName/
# mv -f ./$AppInternalName/ ./$AppInternalName/Info.plist

# echo "Hit enter to proceed with signing."
# read TMP
codesign -f -vv -s "$SigningCertName" -i $BundleID $AppInternalName

echo "*** New Signing ***"
echo "*******************"
codesign -d -vv $AppInternalName/
cd ..
zip -r -q ../ .
cd ..
rm -R temparea
mv $DestFile
echo "New IPA Created, $DestFile"

Solution 5 - Ios

Best alternative way would be to ask the client to export his distribution certificate private key into .p12 file and send it across to you alongwith the distribution profile with which you can generate a App Store distribution build for your client.

Best of luck!!

Regards, Sam

Solution 6 - Ios

Ok, found a way to do it without sharing provisioning profiles or certificates.

The idea is to insert a "run script" build phase to trick XCode into signing an App it didn't compile, so you can send a compiled (unsigned) App to the client, and then their XCode signs that App with their cert and profile.

How to do it:

Step 1: Make XCode generate an unsigned Release .app (I'll call this "App A"). See "To Disable Code Signing" here:

Step 2: Create a new XCode iOS project and remove from it all build phases you can, so it creates an empty .app file (I'll call this "App B")

Step 3: Add a "run script" build phase to Project B which copies the contents of "App A" into "App B". In my case I used this:


Step 4: Send the "B" XCode project to the client, with all the necessary files.

Step 5: The client builds the B project. Under the hood, XCode will run the "run script" command, then sign the resulting app, and the client gets a perfectly signed App.

And that's it :)

Solution 7 - Ios

iResign works quite well.

It allows you to change the bundle id and add entitlements when signing. Probably would work for your use case.

That being said, the xcarchive solution is more canonical. Be aware that sharing the xcarchive file gives them the dsym.

If you have any #ifdef DEBUG statements in your code, make sure they are disabled in the build you give them.

Solution 8 - Ios

Huh, all these look way more complicated then they have to. I use this this:

xcodebuild -scheme "$SCHEME" clean archive \ 
           -archivePath "build/$SCHEME" \
           -workspace $PRODUCT_NAME.xcworkspace \
           -allowProvisioningUpdates \ 
           -configuration Release \
           PRODUCT_NAME="$SCHEME" \ 
           CODE_SIGN_IDENTITY="" \ 

Solution 9 - Ios

I've been there. Options 2 or 3 are out of question. Option 4 would be ideal, but as you wrote, Apple will not let the agent delegate her privileges to create distribution profiles.

So basically, your only option is for you to get the distribution profile defined with their account. In order for you to handle it, you would need to login as their agent, which is not an option.

So they will have to do it. There is no way around that.

They will also have to invite you as a member of their product development team on their account. You will need to be an admin. That's mean you will have to send a signing certificate request as outlined by Apple.

Finally, they will have to download and send you the distribution provisioning profiles they created.

With all that, you will be able to sign your application with their resources.

Solution 10 - Ios

I just got off the phone with Apple. They say this is the only way to do it:

The client adds you to their team, and gives you specific privileges.


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