Aral Balkan

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Dear Apple, a little help here? How hard can it be to move our developer account to our new not-for-profit?

Still from British TV series Little Britain with the “Computer says no!” woman

Apple: Computer says no?

Dear Apple,

We’re a tiny two-person not-for-profit. We used to be based in the UK, where we were known as (and incorporated as a not-for-profit called Article 12). We left the UK (for reasons) and now we have a not-for-profit here in Ireland called Small Technology Foundation. It’s still just Laura and me (and our huskamute, Oskar).

We have an app called Better Blocker that’s on sale on the iOS and macOS app stores. Some months, the revenue we get from it helps us cover the rent. Better is listed on your Get Started: Safari Extensions page and has three years of history on the App Store.

The problem is that we are now faced with having to take it off the App Store as we don’t seem to have a way to migrate our developer account to our new not-for-profit. We also tried setting up a new developer account for Small Technology Foundation and moving Better over to it but we cannot since Better uses iCloud and apps that use iCloud cannot be moved between developer accounts.

I can see the logistical difficulty of moving apps between different developer accounts if they use iCloud if this is not a feature that’s already built into the platform at Apple. But what I don’t understand is why our developer account cannot be updated to belong to Small Technology Foundation instead of Article 12. Laura and I are co-founders of both not-for-profits (we are in the process of shutting Article 12 down) and we can prepare and sign any necessary contracts for this to happen.

Screenshot of our Apple Developer account, with the company name and address area (redacted) highlighted with red rectangles.

Can we please update these two fields in your database?

So if anyone at Apple is reading this, it would really help a tiny not-for-profit out if you could help us with this. We have been trying to reach out but we haven’t had any luck in actually speaking to a human being about this.

If we cannot move our developer account over, we are either going to have to remove Better from sale and re-publish it under a separate Small Technology Foundation account (which means that people who bought Better will no longer get updates unless they buy the new app and that we will lose three years of history and most likely our placement on the aforementioned Safari Extensions article on or, if we want to avoid the possible backlash of having to do this, remove Better from sale permanently and focus all our energy on our current projects.

I do hope someone from Apple will get in touch and we can simply update our developer account to migrate it to Small Technology Foundation so we can continue to offer Better for sale and focus on building tools to safeguard human rights and democracy in the digital network age.

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