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IOS App deployment

Posted on 2014-01-03
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Looking for a little guidance on IOS app deployment.

We are writing some apps for clients that are to be business specific so don't want to distribute via the App Store.  

What options are available to us for ad-hoc distributions without having to physically plug in the device to the development machine or ask the user for the profile ID

Thanks
BT
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Question by:brothertom
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Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39753516
If you have an iOS developer license you can create a small pool of test devices (you need to add the unique ID of each device to your Apple Developer Account) and can deploy an app to these devices.

The app can be created as a bundled file and installed via the devices own instance of iTunes or centralised deployment solution ... the devices do not need to plug into the original development PC or network

HOWEVER you cannot do it without the unique device profileID and an apple developer account ... unless you "jailbreak" each device.
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Author Comment

by:brothertom
ID: 39753596
How about the Apple Enterprise solution?    Don't know how that system allows distro without profileID info.  Do you have any experience with it?
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Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39753620
Enterprise accounts are only allowed for D&B rated corporations to distribute apps to employees of that single corporation. So each client corporation will need their own account and it doesn't work well unless all the users devices are connected to that company profile and have a deployment certificate installed on each device.

You would need to use their account for distribution, not you own individual developer account. You can use your own iOS Developer account for development and test distribution to less than 100 devices max.
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Author Comment

by:brothertom
ID: 39753629
OK, but the cost is fairly cheap ($300/year) which I think our clients would be OK with.

So for app deployment, we could have the client buy an Enterprise account from Apple and then distribute our app to their employees via their own infrastructure.

I have found a service called http://diawi.com/ which looks interesting if we can distribute using a profile we can install on the IOS devices.
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Eoin OSullivan earned 2000 total points
ID: 39753641
Yes, the customer could get their own licence for the Enterprise account.

You don't need to use Diawi as Apple have that service in their deployment tools
http://www.apple.com/business/accelerator/deploy/app-distribution.html
http://help.apple.com/iosdeployment-apps/mac/1.1/#app43ad83f9

There are also other distribution tools such as TestFlight
http://testflightapp.com/
or SuperSend
http://www.thebetafamily.com/supersend/
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Author Comment

by:brothertom
ID: 39753679
Good links, thanks.

So my understanding for Wireless deployment using a website (http://www.apple.com/business/accelerator/deploy/app-distribution.html) is that they simply go to an internal website and install.

What mechanism is used to allow the IOS device to install the app without the app first knowing about the device profileID (as in the normal dev program).  Is this requirement simply removed in the Enterprise version (unlikely) or is the IOS device pre-authorised (or similar) using a mobile profile which has previously been installed to allow installation of certain App profile/certificated apps.
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Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39753733
Yes, as long as you have an internal or webserver you can control you can put the files online to enable remote install.

Your 2nd option is correct ... the devices need to have a profile already installed which is issued under the Enterprise Account and this permits them to then install any apps which have been built with the same Enterprise Account deployment certificate.
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Author Comment

by:brothertom
ID: 39753976
I have been researching Mobile Device Management services - most of whom want to manage the whole device (wiping etc) rather than just do app deployment.

As a small vendor, are we able to install (with permission) a profile on almost any IOS device (I expect some policies will not allow this) along side other vendor profiles.  So if you and I wanted to deploy apps to the same device under our own enterprise dev account, we could do this without 'bumping' the other off - in other words, can IOS devices support multiple such profiles from different Enterprise Dev accounts?

If so, sounds fairly straightforward
- Get Enterprise certs from Apple.
- Create suitable profile and get users to install on their IOS devices
- Create app manifest and put on website along with app binary
- Send link of manifest to user
- They visit the link which installs the app.

Is that about it?
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Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 39753987
iOS devices can support multiple standard developer profiles (not sure if they can support multiple enterprise profiles so I cannot guarantee that  - check with apple maybe?)  ... so you have pretty much described the whole process otherwise
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Author Closing Comment

by:brothertom
ID: 39754057
Thanks :)
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