Distributing Your Mac Apps

The Mac Developer Program makes it easy for you to distribute apps to millions of users around the world. Learn about preparing your apps for distribution on the Mac App Store and using Developer ID to sign applications you distribute outside the Mac App Store.

Mac App Store

The Mac App Store is the easiest way for users to discover, purchase, and download your apps. You can integrate exclusive features into your apps and provide updates to users seamlessly. There are no hosting fees and Apple handles payment processing worldwide. And with the Mac App Store available in over 150 countries and 40 languages, you can showcase your apps to millions.

Preparing Apps for the Mac App Store

To get your app ready for submission to the Mac App Store, be sure to:

Follow the Guidelines

We review all apps submitted to the Mac App Store to ensure that they are reliable, perform as expected, and are free of offensive material. They must also meet important technical, content, and design criteria. Read our guidelines to make sure your app is ready for review.

Integrate App Services

When you distribute apps on the Mac App Store, you can integrate exclusive capabilities into your app. Enable your apps to store content in iCloud. Provide premium content, virtual goods, and subscriptions with In-App Purchases. Add another level of fun to your game with Game Center. Keep users informed with timely and relevant content using Push Notifications.

Sandbox Your App

Enable sandboxing to help protect user data if malicious code exploits your app. Sandboxing allows your app to access what it needs, while limiting access to other system resources and user data. All apps submitted to the Mac App Store require sandboxing. Learn more about the key concepts and benefits of sandboxing, App Sandbox features in OS X, and sandboxing your app within Mac App Store Review Guidelines.

Optimize your app icons for the Retina display.

Make sure to submit app icons for the new high-resolution Retina display. All new app submissions must include a large app icon with a minimum of 1024 x 1024 pixels in your binary bundle. For more information, see the Icon Design Guidelines in the OS X Human Interface Guidelines.

Submit Your App and Information

iTunes Connect is a suite of web-based tools for submitting and managing your apps on the Mac App Store. To distribute your apps, make sure you set up tax and banking information in the Agreements, Tax, and Banking module. And before you submit apps for review, you will need to provide metadata, pricing, keywords, icons, screenshots, and other information.

Outside the Mac App Store

The Mac App Store is the safest place for users to get software for their Mac, but we also want to protect users when they download applications from other places. If you distribute outside the Mac App Store, you can give users the confidence that they can safely install and run your application.

Preparing Your Applications for Distribution

To get your application ready for distribution outside the Mac App Store, be sure to:

Sandbox Your Application (Recommended)

Enable sandboxing to help protect user data if malicious code exploits your application. Sandboxing allows your application to access what it needs, while limiting access to other system resources and user data. Though sandboxing is not required for applications that are distributed outside the Mac App Store, we recommend sandboxing for increased stability and security. Learn more about sandboxing and how to sandbox your application.

Sign Applications and Installer Packages for Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper is a security feature in OS X Mountain Lion and later that gives users control over which applications can be installed on their Mac. Using the Developer ID code signing certificate, Gatekeeper verifies the identity and integrity of applications that users download. Learn more about signing your applications and installer packages with Developer ID.

Features and Requirements

Mac App Store Outside Mac App Store
App Distribution Hosted by Apple Managed by developer
(with Developer ID)
Software Updates Hosted by Apple Managed by developer
Worldwide Payment Processing Managed by Apple Managed by developer
Volume Purchasing and Education Pricing Managed by Apple Managed by developer
App Services (iCloud Storage, In-App Purchase, Game Center, Push Notifications) Available Not Available
App Sandboxing Required Recommended

Mac Developer Program membership is required to access certain tools and resources for Mac App Store distribution and signing applications with Developer ID. Not a member? Learn more