The month before your membership in the iOS Developer program expires Apple begins to gently remind you that renewal is coming up. If you don’t want to experience an “interruption in service” you better renew as soon as possible.
There are however a few gotchas that I’d like to point out to you … watch your provisioned devices as well as your DTS tickets!
As an individual or company developer you can register up to 100 devices per year for development purposes. While you register devices (manually or through Xcode) the counter counts down from 100 to 0. You can see the current number of this counter on the iOS Provisioning Portal.
Those devices begin to pile up over time and by your second or third year of doing iOS development you might find that you are approaching the limit of new devices that you can add. Even removing them does not increase the counter. It is only when you renew your program that this gets set back to 100.
Step 1: Remove as many of the devices from the list of registered devices as you can.
You probably have tons of devices of your clients in there that had been used for testing apps which have long since been published to the app store. Also there might be many devices that you don’t actually own any more or have handed off to your relatives when you got the latest and greatest new Apple device for your own (and for “testing purposes”) use.
After your renewal got activated (seems to be a manual process that takes some time) the remaining device counter should snap back to 100. This is actually the first time that I am closely watching this number myself because in previous years I had been sufficiently far away from not being able to add new devices.
Step 2: Find some good uses for your Technical Support Incidents
Your year of program membership also comes with 2 tech inquiries. You can see the available amount and history for each of the developer programs you are a member of in the Member Center. Both the Mac and the iOS programs afford you with 2 such incidents.
Those incidents are really fabulous, often they are even more valuable than speaking to an engineer at WWDC. I had a very enjoyable experience with the very incident I sent in November 2010. At that time I wanted to know how to animate in a date picker over a table view to enter a date. Within a few days I had gotten an answer of sorts and the solution even ended up in the developer samples.
Apple describes the services such:
The Apple Developer Technical Support (DTS) team is made up of highly qualified engineers with development expertise in key Apple technologies. Whether you need direct one-on-one support troubleshooting issues, hands-on assistance to accelerate a project, or helpful guidance to the right documentation and sample code, Apple engineers are ready to help you.
You can also file tech incidents if you are not sure if the problem is in Apple’s code or in your own. If the fault lies with Apple then they will credit back the incident to your balance. I filed two new cases this week, both with good chances of them actually being Apple bugs.
When you renew your program tech incidents from the previous year are lost and you end up with 2. Nobody can save these up for a better use. Of course you can always BUY MORE. The 2-Pack costs 79 Euros at present which is more than you paid for the membership.
The point that I am trying to make here is that these incidents are a valuable and perishable good that you should not let go to waste. Use them for anything that you always wanted to have an Apple engineer explain to you.
There is one more thing that I am trying to test this year. We sent off two iOS incidents and then I purchased the program extension. I am interested to find out this: if it turns out that one of the cases is an Apple bug and I get it credited back, will I then end up with a higher number of incidents for next year?
Cases you don’t use will perish and not removed devices will bog down your list. Before renewing your developer program you should clean up your provisioned devices as well as make use of your tech incidents. Because these things are not immediately obvious I think they constitute good advice.