Shipping B2B iOS apps

My company has been working on an iOS app to work with some of our products. It’s not intended for the general public. The app is customized per organization (customer) and is intended for use by people with various types of associations with the organization (could be employees, students, visitors, etc.).

Because some of the organizations are commercial entities (i.e. not educational, etc.), Apple considers those versions of the app to be B2B and won’t allow us to publish them to the App Store. We’ve looked into the Volume Purchasing Program, but we’re not sure it’s feasible to require each of the organizations to sign up for the VPP program just to receive access to one app.

Does anyone have any experience with situations similar to ours? Looking for some direction here.


We’ve a similar use case. I think there are three ways. In all of them you need to deliver the app through a simple https download via a manifest.plist. There are services available to help you with that but it’s quite easy to do yourself.

  1. Quick and dirty: Add each device id to your dev account and just compile and deliver the app as file download through a manifest.plist.

  2. Proper way as intended by Apple: Each of your customers applies for an enterprise account. You compile your app for each customer with the matching certificate from their enterprise account.

  3. Probably best way for you: Your company applies for an enterprise account and delivers all the different apps with your account/certificate. However, Apple is not that easy to work with unless you are a “big-enough” company. Which is usually the limiting factor for this approach.

We are using way 2. Each customer applies and manages their own account since we don’t qualify ourselves (3 man company).

We use @MSchmidt’s #3 method, and that’s what I recommend.

I haven’t encountered any requirements for company size, though. I believe the only requirements are that it’s a valid business applying, and that you have a DUNS number. Then, a membership fee of $299 USD per year.

You can find out more here.

In full disclosure, the company I’m working with using the enterprise account is very large.