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How to Generate and Install iPhone Developer Certificates and Profiles

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  Paul Zirkle's Photo
Posted Nov 17 2009 12:50 PM

To publish your application to a phone or to the App Store, you need two signed profiles. One is a developer profile, which you use while developing and testing your app. The other is a distribution profile, which you use when sending your finished application off to the App Store to be published. In a corporate setting, the lead programmer might keep track of the developer profile, whereas the production manager might keep track of the distribution profile.

To create these profiles, you need to generate a certificate that has a public and private key. Apple has to sign the certificate for it to be valid, so first you must use Keychain Access on your Mac to create what is called a Certificate Submission Request, which gets sent to Apple’s developer program. When Apple has reviewed and approved your request, you can download the certificate from the Apple Developer Portal website.

Once you have the signed certificate, you will need an Application Identifier (App ID), a Unique Device Identifier (UDID), and the WWDR certificate.

App ID

The App ID is generated on the Developer Portal to be used in a profile and in your application bundle. An App ID looks like this: com.YourGameCo.YourAwesomeGameName. This is called reverse domain notation, and Java and C# programmers may be familiar with it as the format that package names use in those languages.

If you will be making multiple applications, you can use a wildcard format so that the same developer can use one App ID for multiple applications. A wildcard App ID looks like this: com.YourGameCo.*.

When listed in the Developer Portal, the ID may have 10 alphanumeric characters appended to the front. These are for Apple’s internal use and you can ignore them.

After creating an App ID on the Developer Portal, you must open the Info.plist file in your application bundle and replace the default value of the bundle identifier key with your App ID. If you used a wildcard when creating the App ID on the Portal, you should also replace the asterisk (*) with the name of your game when updating the Info.plist file.


The UDID is a 40-character hex string that you can obtain from the iPhone device you wish to load by attaching it to your Mac and running iTunes or the Xcode Organizer window.


The UDID is used only for the developer profile and is not useful for the distribution profile.

WWDR certificate

Apple’s World Wide Developer Relations (WWDR) certificate is available from Apple at http://developer.app...AppleWWDRCA.cer. Download and install the certificate so that you can use it to certify builds. The WWDR certificate links your development certificate to Apple, completing the trust chain for your application.

Installing the profile

Once you have these three items, you can download a provisioning profile from the Developer Portal. This file will have a .mobileprovision file extension. Once you download this file, double-click it to install the profile. It should load into Xcode’s Organizer and show up there when you connect your iPhone to your computer. Make sure the profile is listed in the device’s installed profiles.

Keep in mind that an application is limited to the devices listed in its developer profile.

iPhone Game Development

Learn more about this topic from iPhone Game Development.

What do you need to know to create a game for the iPhone? Even if you've already built some iPhone applications, developing games using iPhone's gestural interface and limited screen layout requires new skills. Loaded with descriptive examples and clear explanations, iPhone Game Development provides everything from game development basics and iPhone programming fundamentals to guidelines for dealing with special graphics and audio needs, creating in-game physics, and much more.

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