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I would like a confirmation on how the Salesforce Private App Exchange works. To distribute a hybrid iOS app which can be installed on any device, do we still need access to Apple Enterprise distribution (In House profile with no restrictions on UDID)?

When I try to install the app via private App Exchange on a device whose UDID is not included in my provisioning profile, I get an error that the profile is not valid. Has anyone used the private app exchange for enterprise distribution of iOS apps? Looking for a confirmation on whether it's MANDATORY to have an Apple Enterprise distribution with the Private AppExchange or not.

=============== Adding more details in the question in response to Jonathan's reply

Jonathan, thanks for your reply.

My use case is that I custom brand my app for different clients and hence I do NOT want it to be publicly available on App Store. However, I do want any user from those clients to be able to install the apps. Since these clients have a Salesforce org, the private App Exchange seems to be a good option to host the custom IPA files in their respective orgs. My question really is that even with private App Exchange, is it mandatory to use an in-house provisioning profile (that's only possible with an Apple enterprise account) if I do not want to add UDIDs manually.

In other words, I want any user from these client orgs to be able to download and install the app without bothering about the UDIDs. Can you confirm if that's possible using a normal Apple developer account or do I need to sign up as an enterprise developer?

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With Enterprise Distribution:

  • You don't need to include UDIDs in your provisioning profile; any device can install the app
  • You must host the IPA somewhere and provide an installation page (could be just a simple link)
  • Apple can and will lay the smack down on you if they suspect you are circumventing the app store

If you're not using an Enterprise profile, you have to manually collect and include UDIDs of the devices you want to allow in your provisioning profile. This is generally what you do for beta testing an app prior to release.

Long story short, I think your focus on a private Appexchange listing is misplaced. The first question you should answer is whether you're going to list your app publicly on the Apple app store, and if so, why bother with Enterprise distributions?

Enterprise Distributions are intended for apps internal to a single company, as the name suggests. They are not intended for distributing a private app outside the Apple app store.


EDIT: So You'd Like To Brand An App (Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the App Store)

Let's say you have an iOS app that should be branded individually for each of N customers.

A: Solo Enterprise

  • How it works: You have one public Appexchange listing. Each customer installs your package into their org. You brand an iOS app for each customer, sign each app with your Enterprise profile, and send each customer an IPA to distribute to their users.
  • How it ends: Apple revokes your Enterprise account for bypassing the app store.

B: You Have No Chance To Survive Collect Your UDIDs

  • How it works: You have one public Appexchange listing. Each customer installs your package into their org. You brand an iOS app for each customer, build the app, and send them an unsigned binary. Each customer uses their own Apple Dev account to sign the app for their users (100 max devices) or their own Enterprise account (no device limit).
  • How it ends: Ongoing pain with codesigning, perhaps the least enjoyable part of iOS development, and now you have to teach your customer how to do it? Additional time and $ for your customer. You buy some Excedrin.

C: Public

  • How it works: You have one public Appexchange listing. Each customer installs your package into their org, and uses your VF or custom settings or whatever to set their own branding colors, images, and parameters. Your iOS app is listed on the public Apple app store. Anyone can install the app, but they cannot use it in an org without your package installed. When they sign in, the app reads your custom settings and applies the customer's brand. No Enterprise accounts involved.
  • How it ends: $$$

You cannot use an Appexchange listing to host an IPA file. You need generic file storage (I've used S3 for this) and an installation page your users can access on their devices.

From your comments below, it sounds like you are headed towards Option A. It is irrelevant whether your Appexchange listing is public or private or how many listings you maintain; you will inevitably be shut down by Apple. In case it's not obvious, I think only one of the above options is worth your time. :)

Edit the second: There is one additional overwhelming advantage that is unique to Option C: all of your users receive updates simultaneously and can update without waiting on their admin to distribute your IPA to them... unless, of course, you are hosting the IPA file yourself and built your own app updating and notification mechanisms. (You did? STEP BACK FROM THE EDGE!!!)

Option C might be ruled out if you are using private APIs or engaging in certain other skullduggery that Apple frowns upon. (You did? STEP BACK FROM THE EDGE!!!)

  • Jonathan, thanks for your reply. My use case is that I custom brand my app for different clients and hence I do NOT want it to be publicly available on App Store. However, I do want any user from those clients to be able to install the apps. – Gaurav Kheterpal May 29 '14 at 7:23
  • Jonathan - I updated my question and added more details. Can you please provide your inputs accordingly? – Gaurav Kheterpal May 29 '14 at 7:32
  • @GauravKheterpal Jonathan's right on all theses points. There's no way to distribute apps to people outside of your company without using UDIDs and adhoc profiles. Since the app requires salesforce, you could provide your clients with a managed package to install in their org. Then the app can be public if it checks for the package after login; if the org doesn't have the package then lock the app down. – Matt Lacey May 29 '14 at 7:40
  • @LaceySnr - Just so I understand this right, I cannot use private app exchange to distribute apps to people outside my company without using a provisioning profile with their UDIDs in it. Correct? – Gaurav Kheterpal May 29 '14 at 7:47
  • That's correct. It doesn't bypass the mechanisms Apple impose. – Matt Lacey May 29 '14 at 9:06

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