An Apple iOS Distribution Certificate Dying

In an iPhone developer’s life, there is sometimes mystery around some of the Apple related administrative work that is needed. Certificates expire, Provisioning Profiles have to get regenerated, and test devices come and go.

One interesting question was brought to my attention recently:

If the iOS Distribution Certificate expires, will the iPhone apps in the App Store still work?

Yes. The iPhone apps will still work. From the Apple documentation:

If your Apple Developer Program membership is valid, your existing apps on the App Store will not be affected.

So, it’s well understood that Distribution Certificates expire. What about if someone adds a test device, will that invalidate the iOS Distribution Certificate? The short answer is “no.” Devices are added to Provisioning Profiles as opposed to certificates.

For detailed information, look at the Registering Devices Using Member Center section of the Maintaining Identifiers, Devices, and Profiles Apple documentation and Exporting Your App for Testing (iOS, tvOS, watchOS).

I hope that clears up some of the mystery around an iOS Distribution Certificate dying and point to some helpful Apple documentation.

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