I've agreed to build an iPhone app for a client that was referred to me. I'm a full-time software engineer by day, but this is only my 2nd iPhone app and I agreed to do it without upfront funding as it would give me a project to further learn the API as well as increase my portfolio of iPhone apps.

The client suggested as payment, that we split the profits 50/50. Normally I would not think this was fair but in a situation like this, I was ok with it since my family's life does not depend on it.

As we are nearing the end of development on the app, I asked the client if they would prefer their personal name be put on the project, or if they minded that it was my name (since I have the developer license). Naturally, they requested their name. I've not told them all that that entails because I would relinquish management of the app and profit divisions to them.

My question to this community, and pardon if this is not the proper place, is am I going about this the right way?

Should I request a partnership be setup?

Should I insist my developer name goes on it? What would you do?

Additionally, I'm going off of his word that this is a niche product with high demand (its in the medical field) so we will be able to charge a bit more for it.

  • 3
    1. Make them pay for the developer account. You're giving up something (less discoverability for your other apps) for this. 2. The ownership of the app is entirely independent from the name it appears under in iTunes. You own the app... start a separate iTunes dev account in their name which you both control, but retain the copyright and ownership of the product and code. Ideally put your agreement in writing somehow. I wouldn't bother with a contract for something informal like this, but I'd want to have it in emails if nothing else. There is a field for "copyright" when you submit your app.
    – Kenny Winker
    Nov 3 '11 at 3:53
  • 1
    I'd sure as hell bother with a contract, even if it's just a few handwritten lines. You don't want an app being a surprising success, making a few million bucks, and having a he-said-she-said court battle.
    – ceejayoz
    Nov 3 '11 at 4:07
  • @KennyWinker Could you make your comment into an answer, so I can upvote it? Nov 3 '11 at 6:30
  • The "product" portion of the app (all the editorial and photography) is the client's and they are putting a lot of work into that. The code is obviously mine. So, should the copyright be under the name and the developer by mine? Or the other way around?
    – Kyle Hayes
    Nov 3 '11 at 15:03

I had exactly the same situation.

  1. You are the developer and more important - a 50% partner. there is no reason in the world to register the app on their name.
  2. You can open a new user in iTunes connect with permissions to view financial reports on the app and a different bank account.
  3. request a partnership be setup before you upload the app. Always trust people, and if your partnership is important to you, set up a contract that will prevent you from conflicts when the money will start, (and i wish for you it will), to fly in.

Good luck


If you think there might be a decent possibility of significant revenue, do a contract, incorporate with both of you as shareholders, and put the app under a company account.

If not, does it really matter whose account? (consider admin work, bank fees, tax reporting, branding, who will do the marketing, the extra $99/annum, & etc.)

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