How to Transfer App Ownership

| Blog | May 11, 2012

Transferring App Ownership Process Varies depending on the App Store Polices

There are several things we wanted to outline to help users understand what is currently allowed and not allowed as it relates specifically to transferring ownership of apps from one developer to another in the App Store.  Each app store policies are a bit different and are constantly changing.  Below we outline some of the restrictions of the Apple App Store since they seem to currently have some of the biggest restrictions due to the fact that you can’t easily change the Tax ID information on your developer account.  Google app store is better since they’ve been able to separate things into the Android Developer Console and Google Checkout.  This makes the Tax ID issue easier to deal with and the transfer process a bit more straight forward.

You can also read our FAQ to get more information on how to best use


Things that are permitted in Apple’s App Store

1. Remove your app from your developer account and get it re-listed

This is the easiest thing a developer can do to prepare for an app transfer. This step requires you to un-publish/delete your app from the appstore so that it is not available in the store. You can then transfer the binary to the new owner who can then re-list the app under their own account.

This will result in a loss of any ratings or reviews the original owner may have built up.

2. Sell Your Developer Account

If your a developer and you know that you’ll be selling an app business in the future you may want to consider purchasing a separate developer account under a new Tax ID for this app business by itself.  You will then be able to sell the entire developer account with the app(s) in it allowing the new developer to keep all ratings and reviews.  One potential way you could accomplish this is by following these steps:

Step 1: You and the buyer incorporate a business together and list each other as partners of the new entity

Step 2: Transfer your individual developer account from an individual to the new business account you just incorporated with the buyer.

Step 3: After the app has been transferred successfully you then have the buyer remove you (the seller) as a partner of the new business that was just setup

That’s it!   The new buyer is now in sole possession of the new business, the tax ID, and the app!

3. Setup a new Corp or LLC and have the seller transfer their developer account to the new LLC/Corp.

This will allow you to setup a new entity that can be the home of the new app business.  Have the seller transfer the business over and you retain the business, tax ID, and the app(s)

What is NOT Permitted

  1. Transferring an app from one developer to another developers account.  It will need to be taken down from one account then re-listed.  The only down side is that you lose your reviews and stats.  This will hopefully change soon as App Store policies are constantly changing.  The more pressure they get from the user community the more likely we’ll be able to transfer apps to other accounts with the ability to keep earned stats, reviews, and feedback.
  2. You can’t transfer individual developer accounts to another individual accounts.   In this case the app store would require you to first take the the apps down and re-list them in the new account.  Again once you do this the only downside is you lose the reviews and stats accumulated.
  3. Also, the same holds true with transferring business developer accounts.  You can’t easily have one business account completely acquiring another business account.  The same as point #2.  You’ll need to take down and re-list.


These are current policies and are subject to change.  We highly recommend that developers contact their respective app store to apply pressure on them to make it easier for developers to be able to buy and sell app businesses within the current app store structure.   We believe the industry will slowly adopt new measure to help ease the transfer process.  We’ve already seen how Google is ahead of the curve now as it relates to this matter and we anticipate Apple and other app stores to follow suite with new or even better policies to help appreneurs like ourselves.

About SellMyApplication: (SMA) was founded in 2010 by a small group of app developers based out of Boston, MA USA. We were first to market with the idea of creating a mobile app marketplace for mobile app businesses. Our site is focused on connecting developers interested in buying, selling, trading, or licensing apps they’ve written. SMA has quickly become the leading marketplace with thousands of registered developers and millions of visitors every year.

With you’ll be able to reach a highly targeted audience of app developers, entrepreneurs, and users interested in purchasing code to improve existing projects or expand their reach across to new customers. Read our FAQ to get started.

Want to sell your app business?
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One Response to “How to Transfer App Ownership”

  1. Here’s also a tutorial on how to transfer apps to new iphone

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