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Do I need to pay for a developer license to develop personal programs?

Forums > macOS

I have signed some apps that I developed for personal use with a personal certificate. Today, I tried to launch a couple of those apps and got an error. One of them had a problem report that said, in part: "Application Specific Signatures: The code signature is not valid: The operation couldn’t be completed. (OSStatus error -2147409652.)"

The other one popped up a message ... will damage your computer. You should move it to the trash.

Both of these apps used to work. I have discovered that if I rebuild the app, it will start working again.

FWIW, I have one other app that has kept working.

Can someone explain what's going on?


When I was making iOS apps without a developer account, I was limited to 4 apps and they would expire after 7 days and would need to be deleted and reinstalled.


You can make Mac apps without a paid developer account. You need a paid developer account to do the following:

  • Submit an app to the Mac App Store
  • Use Apple capabilities like iCloud and Game Center
  • Sign and notarize your app with a developer ID to work with Apple's Gatekeeper feature

I thought you needed a paid developer account to code sign Mac apps. I haven't tried signing a Mac app with a personal certificate so I don't what the limits are to personal certificates.

I recommend turning off code signing for personal Mac app projects. I can't think of any benefit to code signing an app only you are going to use.


Thanks for the replies.

I did notice that the iOS apps I created did stop working on my iPhone and iPad.

You can sign apps with a personal account. Xcode gives you two choices: Development or Sign to run locally. I had been signing my apps as Development. I just tried creating them with Sign to run locally. I'll see if they stop working.

I didn't realize that you could create apps without signing them, but it appears that you can. Do you think it was the code signing that caused my apps to stop working?


Do you think it was the code signing that caused my apps to stop working?

Yes, I think it was the code signing. The certificate probably expired.


I don't know what signing had to do with it, but the app preview stopped working on a Mac app that I am working on when I removed code signing and I could only get it to work by turning code signing back on.


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