Distributing IOS .ipa apps with OTA-Over the Air instead of Apple app store

Does anyone have experience distributing IOS apps on platform other than the Apple store? If so please share your experience. Below is one method I am considering. From https://docs.monaca.io/en/products_guide/monaca_ide/deploy/non_market_deploy/

Comments? Has anyone had an app published on Apple Store in the last 60 days? Roger Green, Thailand

Install using OTA Deployment

OTA (Over-The-Air) Deployment enables you to install your built apps (ad-hoc build) via HTTPS.

  1. Build your application with either debug or ad-hoc build. For more details about iOS build process, please refer to Building an iOS App.
  2. Download the .ipa file after the build completes.
  3. Upload the .ipa file to the site you want.
  4. Create a .plist file for this built application. The .plist file should look like this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">

While creating .plist file, please pay attention to these points:

  • .plist file must be accessed via https protocol.
  • update bundle-identifier with the App ID.
  • specify correct path to the .ipa file.
  1. Upload the .plist file to the site you want. Make sure this file must be accessed via HTTPS protocol.

  2. Create a webpage embedded the link to the uploaded .plist file using special itms-services:// protocol. See blow example:

<a href="itms-services://?action=download-manifest&amp; 
  1. After you get the link, use your device to access the link. Then, you will be prompted to install the application. See below example:

The biggest issues with deploying apps to Apple App Store:

  1. If you deploy too many from the same account (e.g. Kalaam) , they we consider that you are spamming the store. They don’t want services publishing apps, they want the content holder to do it. They aren’t against templated apps anymore.
  2. The process of getting an app store account is either to publish under a person’s name or organization. If organization, you have to have a D.U.N.S number for your organization. It costs $99/year for the account unless you are a registered non-profit organization (need IRS proof).
  3. The design of your app has to be sufficiently different from a book (or they will say you should publish in iBooks Store – which requires ISBN). Normally having 1) synchronize audio playback with downloading audio from the internet is sufficient and 2) multiple collections with synchronized viewing of text.


Once an app is on the Apple app store does the developer need to continue to pay the $99 developer program fee each year to keep the app on the store?

Is there any service besides Kalaam that could help us get an ios app published?

Roger Green


The fee is $99/year. However, you can get a fee waiver from Apple if the organization is non-profit and the app is published for free.

We are updating the App Publishing Service to handle multiple account and multiple organizations. We haven’t added support for iOS, but I believe it will be added in 2019. We have redone the workflow engine so that we can handle multiple types of products (e.g. publish to play store, publish to iOS app store, publish to kalaam website, etc). There will be more details later when ready (targeting EMDC).


One need may be for organizations like Wycliffe Thailand to qualify with Apple as non-profit. Wycliffe Thailand is a registered non-profit foundation, but only in Thailand. They have no USA registration. If you could help with clarifying the easiest pathway for organizations like this to register with Apple that would be a big help. One difficulty overseas non-profits may face is that all their legal documents are often in another language and script. These documents are complex here in Thailand and not easily translated into English. Hopefully Apple will not require documents in English.

Many Christians in Thailand use Iphones. Currently we direct them to Youversion and bible.is. Both of these sites have serious drawbacks compared to the app, but at least they can use them on an iphone.

Thanks for all the enhancements planned for App publishing

Roger Green