Licensing iOS apps

SoftwareKey does not currently have a native iOS licensing library. We haven't had a high demand from our customers due to Apple's guidelines of not allowing third party licensing in apps distributed through their App Store, but we are open to developing native iOS licensing library if it makes business sense.

Currently, our PLUSManaged for .NET Standard library supports Xamarin.iOS and can be used to license iOS apps that are not being distributed through the App Store. See this topic on Protection PLUS 5 SDK for more general information.

Apple App Store Guidelines

Many software publishers want to distribute their iOS apps through the Apple App Store, but if they want to use a third party licensing or sales solution (such as the SoftwareKey System), this is not allowed per Apple's guidelines:

  • 11.1 Apps that unlock or enable additional features or functionality with mechanisms other than the App Store will be rejected
  • 11.13 Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the App, such as a "buy" button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected

Apple wants to enforce their 30% cut of sales made through the App Store, and they are willing to take extreme measures to combat any software publisher who tries to bypass this. A notable example is the case of Epic Games v. Apple. If your application is removed from the App Store, that limits your options for deploying your iOS app to customers.

While it is possible to side-load apps onto iOS devices without using the App Store, this process has various caveats and is not well suited for many cases. For lower volume cases or instances when you are able to install your application for the customer, side-loading may be a potential option your company could investigate.

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