A Topic for GoodBarber Ninjas: How to Transfer Your iOS App From one Apple Developer Account to Another
Written by Deborah Ferri-Pisani on Monday, July 7th 2014
The other day, on the GoodBarber Support, one of our beloved Ninjas asked me what he needed to do in order to transfer his iOS app to another Apple Developer Account.
This is not a complicated thing to do, when you know how to do it.
This is why I decided to write this note for you guys!
What does transferring my app mean, and why would I do that?
Transferring your app to another Apple Developer Account means that you transfer the ownership of the app from your account to somebody else’s.
The new owner of the app becomes legally responsible for it, and is also in charge of its future management and updates.
Here is an example:
Imagine you created an app so successful someone offers you a great deal to buy it.
As you know, when you sell an app, you don’t just sell the app itself.
If your app is successful, it also has a lot of users. Maybe the buyer has interest in the large incomes generated by ads, thanks to this big number of users.
Also, the more the app is popular and well rated on the store, the more people download it!
Whatever the reason is, you don’t want to take your app out of the store to be able to sell it to a third party, right?
You either don’t want to take the risk to lose your users, or the comments and ratings associated with your app.
Well, good news for you, there is a simple solution!
All you need to do is transfer your app to the buyer’s own Apple Developer Account, and Apple takes care of all these problems for you!
How the transfer works
Better say it twice: the recipient of your app needs to have a developer account, and it needs to be valid (and so does yours!)
It means that none of your Apple developer accounts must be pending for validation or modification.
The app transfer is initiated by the Team Agent who owns the app. In my example, it is the seller.
Apple defines the Team Agent as the person legally in charge of the app and owning the access to the iTunes Connect account where the app is published.
To allow the transfer request, the recipient Team Agent (aka the buyer) must provide his Apple ID and Team ID to the Team Agent who initiates of the transfer.
Once the seller has made the transfer request, the buyer will have to accept it.
Regarding the app status, when the seller initiates the transfer, it can be any of the status listed bellow, providing the app has been published at least once on the App Store before being transferred:
Your app remains on the store while being transferred
You don’t want your app to be taken out of the store to be able to transfer it, do you?
Don’t worry, Apple is clever: not only can the users keep downloading your app while it’s being transferred, but they can also continue to send notes and reviews about it!
Naturally, once the transfer is done, all your existing users will also be able to download the forthcoming updates of the app. And, hopefully, keep on giving it terrific feedback ;)
Also, you can sell or give more than one app to another developer, since there is no limit to the number of apps you can transfer. The only obligation you have is to transfer them one by one.
A few precautions before starting the transfer
Apple advises to take a few precautions before starting the transfer of your app, and so do we.
Save the information you will need after your app is transferred such as: the Catalog Report (available on the homepage of the iTunes Connect account where the app is currently published), the dates of release of the app on the store, and also information regarding the sales and downloads of the app.
Once this is done, you can request the app transfer.
Let’s get technical 1 - On the sender’s side
Here is how you initiate the transfer.
Go to your iTunes Connect account and click on “Manage Your Apps”; then select the app to be transferred. Click on “Transfer App”.
Verify that the app status is one of the here above list and that both your account and the seller’s are valid like we said before. If everything is ok, click on “Continue”.
Check all the information, the terms of agreement, and select “I have read and agree to the agreement presented above.”
Then you can click on “Request for transfer” and on “Done” to come back to the app presentation page.
During the time of the transfer, the app status doesn’t change, but the mention “Pending transfer” is added. You also have the possibility to modify the price of your app on the store during this period.
Let’s get technical 2 - On the recipient’s side
The recipient of the app must accept the transfer request within 60 days. When he logs in to his iTunes Connect account, a notification informs him that an app is in pending transfer.
In the message displayed, click on “Contract, Tax and Banking”
In the section Transfer Agreement, subsection “Contract in Process”, select the app in pending transfer and click on “Review”.
Then fill the information about your app like in a regular submission, accept the terms of agreement and validate.
The transfer can take up to 2 business days, and during this time the app status is “Processing App Transfer”.
The discussions in progress in the Resolution Center will be closed, as well as the possibility to modify the app metadata.
Once the transfer is over, the app now belongs to the recipient.
It no longer appears in the initial account.
Pay attention to the Push Notification feature!
It is very important that the recipient of the app is well informed of every additional features of the app, so these features can be maintained after the app is updated on the store.
The best example here is the Push Notification feature, which is very useful to stimulate the users' engagement and, of course, available in all the apps created with GoodBarber.
As you may already know, the SSL Push Certificate is created using the App ID of your app.
The App ID is automatically transferred to the recipient’s Member Center at the same time the app is transferred to their iTunes Connect account.
However, the SSL Push Certificate associated to the App ID isn’t transferred. This is the reason why, in order to maintain the push notifications in the app, the recipient will have to create a new push certificate.
So, that’s it!
No so complicated, right? Anyway, if you follow these instructions, you should be able to transfer your app to another Apple Developer account like a boss... or like a Ninja! ;-)