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I have been confused about the best process for private distribution in iOS - imagine we are a company like Just Eat, where venues can sign up with us and take orders from customers via a customer app. Conversely, they can then see/process their orders via a venue app. It is the venue app I wish to be privately distributed.

Automatically, this points me towards Apple B2B. However, note that we as a company own & supply the iPads, they remain a company asset. As such, we also wish the venues to have a very quick and easy sign up process with us - but information given to me so far suggests that to use Apple B2B this way would require the venues to sign up with their own DUNS number to get the app from us, which isn't the cleanest sign up method for venues?

I would assume that if the iPads are owned by us, that we could just use our own company DUNS number to put the app on the device, and then just lease the iPad to the venues? is this correct, or is there another approach to this (public app store is my last option).

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You get an enterprise account for $299 a year, and that allows you to put any apps, not reviewed, onto any number of devices that are under control of your company. You get an enterprise profile that needs to be installed on those devices.

If Apple catches you installing such a profile outside your company, the profile will be revoked and the apps stop working. Maybe not if you are a big company, but it happened to Facebook.

You’ll need to get some lawyers to read the contract and check if the distribution method you want to use will be allowed by the enterprise license - or ask Apple.

On the other hand, you can put the app just on the App Store and just send a link containing signup information to anyone who would be a legitimate user, making sure that without that link the app won’t be able to connect to your server.

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  • Hi, to enrole in the enterprise program we must have over 100 employees, which we do not - so this isnt an option :( also, apple appear to be terrible at replying to support requests, and when they do reply they just point you to docs that you have already read.
    – james
    Oct 9 '20 at 22:32
  • My company has an enterprise account with much less than 100 employees, but maybe they just didn’t check.
    – gnasher729
    Oct 10 '20 at 0:25
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You can use a MDM (mobile device management) solution such as mobileiron to manage company owned devices.

Including the ability to install internally developed apps that arent on the app store.

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  • Hi, does this mean that I can install the apps into my devices and then still lease those iPads to the venues that register with me? I.e could I add this to private App Store with Apple business manager?
    – james
    Oct 11 '20 at 20:26
  • youll have to check the indivdual products, my experience is from a while ago. But essentially yes, you can install whatever you like via a sideband and lock the devices down
    – Ewan
    Oct 11 '20 at 21:03

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