I have an idea for a personal iOS project that I would like to write and release to the iOS store. I'm the type of developer who enjoys developing and publishing. I want to write quality software and take care of my customers. Assuming that I wrote an application that had reasonable success, there is a fair chance that I would want to sell the ownership rights of the app to another party and I'd use the proceeds to develop my next personal project which, in turn, I'd probably want to sell in the future.

With that said, what are some general guidelines for creating, making and publishing an iOS project that I will eventually want to transfer to another company/developer?

I know this is a bit of a broad question, but I request that the given advice be a general list of tips, suggestions and pitfalls to avoid. If any particular bullet point on your list needs more explanation, I'll either search for the answer or post a new question specific to that requirement.

Thank you!

Note Regarding this Question

I am posting this question on Programmers.SO because I think that this is an issue of software architecting, seeking advice for setting a new application project and publishing a project to the Apple iOS store-- all within the requirements for questions on this site.

UPDATE - 2012-09-14

I would further like to request that if anyone is aware of a good article on a case study of such a transition, I would consider that a good answer as well. Such an article may not have all the answers, but it could outline quite a few of the pitfalls which should be avoided.

Apps are sold to other holding companies on a semi-frequent basis. Often, it happens when a small app becomes a runaway success and a bigger company wants to purchase the ownership and rights.

I've had difficulty finding any information on this topic (probably my poor googling skills.) Most keywords that I tend to search also relate to promoting an app so that people will download it. Thanks for your insight.

  • 1
    I'm posting this as a comment as it probably doesn't constitute a complete answer. Personal projects should follow the same best practices you would follow elsewhere. This will both help you maintain and develop the project as well as act positively on any future sale. With regards to selling the app, the acquirer will probably be a little more focused on the business opportunities rather than intricacies of your code (provided it's not a complete mess). – Anonymous Sep 12 '12 at 13:47
  • Thanks for that tip. I don't believe, though, this is much a question about coding. Instead, it's really about setting up the project (though, including the portion of XCode), how should I publish this app and, I guess in a worst case, should I create a "company" centered around this one application so that it would be easy to transfer to the new owners. I don't know what to do, but I do know that Apple if very limiting in the options that you have in making changes to your published projects. To my knowledge, you can't just give an app to another dev license. – RLH Sep 12 '12 at 13:56
  • Ah I see where you're coming from. Can't help you there I'm afraid. – Anonymous Sep 12 '12 at 14:25

The easiest thing from the app store perspective is to set up a holding company that owns the rights to the app (the brand, source code and any other materials) and which has its own iTunes Connect account. When it comes time to sell the app you sell that company and transfer ownership of the account to the new owner.

This was covered recently by Marco Arment on Build and Analyze. I think it was number 93 but I could be wrong.

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  • This is about what I had expected, however, I was hoping it would have worked a little easier. Sad to see that this is my only/best option. – RLH Sep 14 '12 at 14:02

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