The first step in the process of learning to develop iOS 17 based applications involves gaining an understanding of the advantages of enrolling in the Apple Developer Program and deciding the point at which it makes sense to pay to join. With these goals in mind, this chapter will outline the costs and benefits of joining the developer program and, finally, walk through the steps involved in enrolling.
Downloading Xcode 15 and the iOS 17 SDK
The latest versions of both the iOS SDK and Xcode can be downloaded free of charge from the macOS App Store. Since the tools are free, this raises the question of whether to enroll in the Apple Developer Program, or to wait until it becomes necessary later in your app development learning curve.
Apple Developer Program
Membership in the Apple Developer Program currently costs $99 per year to enroll as an individual developer. Organization level membership is also available.
Much can be achieved without the need to pay to join the Apple Developer program. There are, however, areas of app development which cannot be fully tested without program membership. Of particular significance is the fact that Siri integration, iCloud access, Apple Pay, Game Center and In-App Purchasing can only be enabled and tested with Apple Developer Program membership.
Of further significance is the fact that Apple Developer Program members have access to technical support from Apple’s iOS support engineers (though the annual fee initially covers the submission of only two support incident reports, more can be purchased). Membership also includes access to the Apple Developer forums; an invaluable resource both for obtaining assistance and guidance from other iOS developers, and for finding solutions to problems that others have encountered and subsequently resolved.
Program membership also provides early access to the pre-release Beta versions of Xcode, macOS and iOS.
By far the most important aspect of the Apple Developer Program is that membership is a mandatory requirement in order to publish an application for sale or download in the App Store.
Clearly, program membership is going to be required at some point before your application reaches the App Store. The only question remaining is when exactly to sign up.
When to Enroll in the Apple Developer Program?
Clearly, there are many benefits to Apple Developer Program membership and, eventually, membership will be necessary to begin selling your apps. As to whether to pay the enrollment fee now or later will depend on individual circumstances. If you are still in the early stages of learning to develop iOS apps or have yet to come up with a compelling idea for an app to develop then much of what you need is provided without program membership. As your skill level increases and your ideas for apps to develop take shape you can, after all, always enroll in the developer program later.
If, on the other hand, you are confident that you will reach the stage of having an application ready to publish,
or know that you will need access to more advanced features such as Siri support, iCloud storage, In-App Purchasing and Apple Pay then it is worth joining the developer program sooner rather than later.
Enrolling in the Apple Developer Program
If your goal is to develop iOS apps for your employer, then it is first worth checking whether the company already has membership. That being the case, contact the program administrator in your company and ask them to send you an invitation from within the Apple Developer Program Member Center to join the team. Once they have done so, Apple will send you an email entitled You Have Been Invited to Join an Apple Developer Program containing a link to activate your membership. If you or your company is not already a program member, you can enroll online at:
Apple provides enrollment options for businesses and individuals. To enroll as an individual, you will need to provide credit card information in order to verify your identity. To enroll as a company, you must have legal signature authority (or access to someone who does) and be able to provide documentation such as a Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S number and documentation confirming legal entity status.
Acceptance into the developer program as an individual member typically takes less than 24 hours with notification arriving in the form of an activation email from Apple. Enrollment as a company can take considerably longer (sometimes weeks or even months) due to the burden of the additional verification requirements.
While awaiting activation you may log in to the Member Center with restricted access using your Apple ID and password at the following URL:
Once logged in, clicking on the Your Account tab at the top of the page will display the prevailing status of your application to join the developer program as Enrollment Pending. Once the activation email has arrived, log in to the Member Center again and note that access is now available to a wide range of options and resources, as illustrated in Figure 2-1:
An important early step in the iOS 17 application development process involves identifying the best time to enroll in the Apple Developer Program. This chapter has outlined the benefits of joining the program, provided some guidance to keep in mind when considering developer program membership and walked briefly through the enrollment process. The next step is to download and install the iOS 17 SDK and Xcode 15 development environment.