Returning from Call Center World

19 Feb

I’ve just returned from Berlin, where I’ve been attending Call Center World 2009.

This was my tenth-or-so show and very likely my last one. A privilege of not being directly involved business-wise anymore this year allowed me to take a closer look of what the others do and have to offer. During all the past years I’d represented my own company and almost no time to look around.

I’ve got to admit: I’m pretty disappointed.

Technology is changing rapidly. Customers are changing at fast pace. A variety of strong, capable and new channels are evolving. Devices become more and more capable. But Call Center World shows almost no innovation. Avaya keeps on selling ACDs. Others promote USSD based customer service, which is like a reincarnation of Bildschirmtext in the century of ubiquitous connectivity and cell phones that run Google Earth. (If you’d like to get an idea of how USSD based services look on an iPhone, click here. But don’t blame me, please!) (Yes, I do acknowledge that there is a large market for USSD in countries which are considered to be in in the transitional phase between developing and developed status. But I’m talking real innovation here.) Others promote a technology which primarily addresses remote device configuration will revolutionize how customers perceive customer care. I doubt it. That has already been around for years.

Everybody else seems to deliver more of the same. A user interface that’s a bit more glossy is not enough. When are we going to see real Customer Care 2.0 innovation?

Besides the overall disappointment there’s one thing for good: I got in touch with Jonathan Taylor, the CEO of Voxeo Inc. Voxeo recently acquired a company founded in Germany that I’ve been closely watching: VoiceObjects. The way Jonathan moves Voxeo forward is pretty convincing and I’m looking forward to following up on some stuff which they are planning.

My personal résumé:

  • This has been my last Call Center World.
  • The big ones will not do it.
  • Voxeo is now on my personal watch list.
  • There might be an interesting opportunity for a company that has people who have a solid understanding of the customer care related technologies, the customer care market, are great in selling products and a vision, can deliver and have proven to innovate markets. There might be an opportunity for, well, starting something new!
  • I’ve got to think. :-)

Carpe diem.

Is UIButton's backgroundImage broken?

13 Feb

One of the iPhone apps I’m currently involved into requires custom buttons. Not only has our customer asked for a special look & feel, she also wants the buttons to animate smoothly in and out. We’ve decided to implement a custom button class deriving from UIButton as opposed to trying to modify a standard UIButton.

The iPhone devs among my readers know that the SDKs UIButton class is notoriously simple. In fact the only real way to style a button the way you want is to make use of background images for the various UIControlStates (normal, highlighted, etc.).

Here is were we ran into a subtle issue:

Even though UIButton has a property named backgroundImage once you assign a UIImage it does not stay in the background!

If you’re using UIButton‘s title property there’s no problem. Things start to get messy if for whatever reason you don’t want to place text on the button via the standard title property. Why would you not use the title property? Well, in our case we have to use custom fonts. Along with the custom button class we’ve created a custom label class that uses a TTF font embedded in the application bundle. We planned to add the custom label as a subview to UIButton. But as said that does not work because the background image stays in front of the label!

In fact it stays in front of every subview and obscures them all. Even if you try to bring your subviews to front via bringSubviewToFront, they never make it in front of the button’s background image.

Here’s a basic code example (typed from the top of my head, don’t expect it to compile):

  UIButton *myButton = [[UIButton alloc] initWithFrame:CGRectMake(10,10,200,40)];
  UILabel *myLabel = [[UILabel alloc] initWithFrame:CGRectMake(5,5,100,20)];
  myLabel.text = @"Custom Text";
  myButton.backgroundImage = [UIImage imageNamed:@"anyButtonBackground.png"];
  [myButton addSubview:myLabel];
  [myButton bringSubviewToFront:myLabel];
  [self.view addSubview:myButton];

Our expectation was that the label will sit neatly on top of the background image. It does not.

We’ve worked around this by adding the label to the button’s superview from within the custom button class. It automatically calculates the required x/y offset necessary to align superview coordinates with the button’s coordinates.

At the end of the day, we ask ourselves: Why does Apple call it a backgroundImage if it is so eager to be the topmost visible element?

And: What do you think? Is it a by design thing or should we file a bug report? I’d love to get your comments!

App Store Valentine Special

13 Feb

Reminder: On Valentine’s Day German developers offer their best iPhone apps for an average discount of up to 80%. Details will be available February, 14th. Visit and grab your copy while the special lasts!

Obviously straight2market’s Visual Dial made it on to the Hall of Fame, too. ;-)

That's why I love the iPhone OS

13 Feb

Google’s Android powered phones have been foreseen to being many things. iPhone competitors for example. Well, only time will show.

Yesterday I ran across a ReadWriteWeb article titled “Android Vulnerability So Dangerous, Owners Warned Not to Use Phone’s Web Browser: Updated”. In pretty good depth it discusses a new vulnerability. Here is one central quote:

Over the weekend at the Schmoocon hacker conference in Washington D.C., security researcher Charlie Miller presented a new vulnerability in Google’s mobile OS Android which allows hackers to remotely take control of the phone’s web browser and related processes. If a phone became compromised, the hackers could gain access to the saved credentials stored in the browser and browser history. They could also snoop on your web transactions, even if encrypted.

(emphasizes by me)

Uups, that’s a bad one. Security companies are already announcing anti-malware suites for Android.

Yes, I am biased. Yes, I’m an Apple addict. Apple’s closed-shop policies might not be the best, but you know what, I rather like to go with an Apple controlled mobile phone software market than having to install Symantec’s AntiVirus on my mobile phone. :-)

You might want to check out the full story yourself.

Livescribe testimonials

11 Feb

Livescribe Pulse smartpen

11 Feb

Livescribe’s Pulse smartpen is a computer inside a pen. Not only does it record what you’re writing it also records the audio and links the two together. By tapping anywhere in your notes it replays exactly what has been said when you were writing the tapped part. Finally it allows you to seamlessly transfer your notes to your PC or Intel based Mac.

I’m attending lots of meetings and regularly visit trade fairs. For years I’ve been trying many things to increase productivity. TabletPCs which promised to replace paper, PDAs which came with good or not-so-good Notepad applications and handwriting recognition that never recognized my handwriting.

None of it really worked for me and besides the fun I had with trying out all the new technology, I did not stick with any of those gadgets.

I’ve been following the company that develops the Pulse smartpen for quite a while. When they first announced their plans back in 2007 I’ve been pretty skeptic. Frankly, my thoughts about the Pulse smartpen have been in the “well, yet another digital pen solution” area.

When puristic blogger Stephan Hochhaus pointed me to the availability of Pulse in Germany I revisited their website – and got intrigued. I did not go for the unimall offer for various reasons. Amazon US grants me free shipping so I instead ordered the 2GB version directly at and four days later the Pulse arrived here in Germany. (Sidenote: Amazon’s logistics constantly amaze me. There’s almost no difference anymore whether you order in the US or in Germany. Besides a temporary advantage of the Dollar of course.)

livescribe Pulse smartpen

Livescribe Pulse smartpen

The product is fantastic. It’s simple to use and fulfills all the promises it makes. It’ll definitely change my (digital) workflow and significantly increase my personal productivity. I’ve used Pulse in various meetings so far and having the audio recording linked to my notes along with the immediate availability of a digital copy on my MacBook Pro is just making things so much more comfortable.

I did not yet drill into some of the other applications like the Translator, Calculator or Piano. Livescribe offers a beta version of its Pen SDK and there seems to be a vibrant developer community already. I’m looking forward to seeing more innovative stuff coming to live for what I consider a really interesting platform.

By the way, here is a screenshot of Livescribe Desktop for the Mac. (As always please click to enlarge.)

Livescribe Desktop

Livescribe Desktop

The desktop application itself is excellent, too. It has working full text search. So you type in a phrase and it highlights it in all of your handwritten notes. The folks at Livescribe did a fantastic job when it comes to Paper Replay on the desktop. You can generally play back the audio by tapping your notes on the paper and the playback will be done right on the pen. It has build-in speakers that outperform those in your iPhone. :-)

If you listen to Paper Replay via Livescribe Desktop the application does not simply replay the audio stream, in addition it links it exactly to your written words. The result it that it recreates the live situation which is brilliant to follow up on stuff when you’re back in the office.

So you start with a grayed out version of your notes (well, with the default settings it is greened out, see screenshot) and while the audio plays back it slowly colors the words move by move, stroke by stroke. It’s a karaoke kind of experience.

If you’ve got to attend many meetings, order Livescribe Pulse smartpen today!

Listen to what other customers think:

bookworm comes to stanza

11 Feb

What a fantastic post title!

With all the buzz about Amazon’s Kindle 2, I’m really looking forward to the date the device will be available in Germany, as I’ll very likely not go for the possible competitor, developed by German Telekom.

Besides the Kindle 2 hype O’Reilly has silently announced that the Bookworm project is now parts of O’Reilly Labs. Bookworm is an online ePub ebook reading service. Given the fact that I’ve been a happy customer of O’Reilly Safari Books Online, a service providing you with browser based access to thousands of books, and a user of Stanza, the ebook reader for the iPhone, I am extremely pleased that there is a lightweight integration between Stanza and Bookworm.

Getting your favorite books to your iPhone via Bookworm and Stanza is a straightforward process:

Buy your books in the ebook ePub format wherever you want. O’Reilly has a special buy-two get-three offering these days, so I grabbed “Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide”, “Paitning the Web” and “Hackers & Painters” from their ebook store. ePub Books has a good list of stores that feature ePub content.

Visit the Bookworm page with your PC/Mac and upload your ePub files.

Open the Bookworm page on your iPhone. You’ll see a “Read in Stanza” link. Simply click the link and Stanza will be opened. Stanza will add the ebook and you can enjoy it while you’re on the move. Adding Bookworm content to Stanza also brings the advantage that the ebooks are available offline. So be prepared before you board your next flight!

Click to enlarge any of the following screenshots:


Stanza Booklist


Bookworm in Mobile Safari


Reading on my iPhone

Alltop mobile needs a search bar!

11 Feb

Well, the title says it all. I love as it gives immediate access to the most relevant content by categories.

The mobile version does, however, need a search bar. Scrolling through 1000s of categories is not even fun on a touchy iPhone! :-)

Mobile Blogging from here.

Taxiruf 2.2 is out!

10 Feb

TAXIRUF is the first ever application released by straight2market, a company I’m investing into. Not only did it receive some great press coverage but since its first release customers have been asking us for a significant enhancement: Displaying not only phone numbers of cab stations but also their names.



What might seem like a minor enhancement to ask for sometimes turns out to be a lot more painful than assumed initially. As mentioned in the iTunes App Store description TAXIRUF ships with a carefully assembled database containing all German cab stations. We deliberately decided to not simply connect to one of the Google or Yahoo! web services to return cab stations found by these. Many location-based iPhone app competitors do simply that. There are two reasons to not do so:

  1. It does not work when you’re offline. And we want to make sure you get a cap even if there’s no data network.
  2. It tends to return pizza taxis and other stuff simply because the term “taxi” is part of the query.

In December 2008 we decided to add the names of all the stations in our database and ship it as a free update to all existing customers.

So here we go: If you’re in Germany – or plan to visit the country – grab a copy of TAXIRUF (link opens iTunes) and enjoy the added value we’ve just created.

iphone sdk mobile provisioning (0xe800003a, 0xe8000001, …)

07 Feb

November 21st, 2008 Update: Apple has made some significant changes (simplification) with the release of version 2.2 of the iPhone SDK. My following article relates to version 2.1. I’m going to update it accordingly to cover the subtle changes that came with version 2.2 and 2.2.1 soon. Until this note is gone, please do be aware that this post does not relate to the latest version and has been written for version 2.1 – many concepts still do apply, so you might find this an interesting read, anyway.

Given the wide popularity, the enormous amount of comments and personal feedback I’ve received so far for my first post about iPhone mobile provisioning and the ongoing discussions in various developer communities related to this topic, I’ve decided to write a follow-up on how to address mobile provisioning issues that tend to arise time and again.

Before you continue to read, why don’t you kick this article to help others finding it, too:
kick it on

While Apple has made some enhancements to the documentation available via the iPhone Developer Program Portal – you need to be logged in to access the linked content – there still seem to be many problems with respect to setting up and maintaining an iPhone development environment.

I’m trying to provide as much detail as possible for the more subtle parts of the process. I highly recommend to go through all the documentation made available by Apple before consulting my post – specifically you should carefully go through this guide. This post should be considered complimentary.

As always I don’t take any warranty for the material provided here. Use at your own risk!


Here is a brief overview of the environment I’m working with:

  • I’m an approved and paying member of the iPhone Developer Program.
  • I’m using an Intel iMac with Mac OS X 10.5.5, Xcode 3.1.1 and the final version of iPhone SDK 2.1.
  • All my iPhones are running Apple’s regular firmware version 2.1 (5F136). I’ve got legal net-lock and sim-lock free iPhones. No jailbreaks. No hacks.
  • I’m not using any methods to circumvent Apple’s code signing practices and generally do not endorse those.

The Developer Program Portal

Before you begin to develop applications for the iPhone make sure you log into the iPhone Developer Program Portal. Note: There is a difference between the Developer Center and the Developer Program Portal. Access the Program Portal from within the iPhone Dev Center by clicking the iPhone Developer Program Portal link:



iPhone Developer Program

Let me clarify an aspect which has caused some confusion in the past: To start developing for the iPhone you do not need to be a paying, registered member of the iPhone Developer Program. The SDK is available for free and can be downloaded after a brief registration. Once you’ve got the SDK you can create applications and test them on the iPhone Simulator that ships with it.

If, however, you want to deploy your application to an actual device – either an iPhone or an iPod Touch – you need to be a paying, registered developer.

While the simulator is good to get up to speed I highly recommend to not underestimate the differences between the real device and the simulated environment. Simulator applications not only run on a different architecture (Intel vs. ARM) but I’ve also run into situations where stuff perfectly worked in the simulated environment but failed on the device. In addition the layout on the iPhone is sometimes slightly (a few pixels) different than the one on the Simulator. If the UI of your application requires pixel precise positioning, you have to deploy to the device to get things right.

Apple has created a complex security ecosystem to endorse its FairPlay digital rights management and to control digital distribution of iPhone applications.

Certificate Mania and Provisioning Profiles

Let’s clarify some terminology:

Development Certificates

Every approved iPhone developer needs a Development Certificate. The steps required to create your certificate include issuing a certificate signing request using the Certificate Assistant provided by the Mac OS X Keychain Access tool. Follow Apple’s guide to create your certificate. It’s very detailed and appropriate for this part of the process.

Mobile Provisioning Profiles

While the certificates stay on your Mac and are used to digitally sign the applications you’ve created, Mobile Provisioning Profiles are transferred to your development devices. Currently there are three types of mobile provisioning profiles:

Development Provisioning Profiles are used exhaustively during the development of an application. They allow Xcode to directly deploy an application to a development device and attach the debugger. Development Provisioning Profiles only work reliably on devices that have been connected to Xcode at least once and “switched into development devices”. You should in general not use Development Provisioning Profiles to provide your friends with your applications for testing.

Ad Hoc Distribution Profiles are used to deploy your application to devices outside your development environment, primarily for beta testing. You can register up to 200 devices and use an Ad Hoc Distribution Profile to allow their owners to run your application. Ad Hoc Distribution Profiles usually are installed onto the devices via iTunes or the iPhone Configuration Utility.

App Store Distribution Profiles are used to distribute your application via Apple’s iTunes App Store. They can only be used for this purpose. You cannot install applications bundled with an App Store Distribution Profile manually to any device. It has to go through the App Store.

In short: Use a Development Provisioning Profile yourself, use an Ad Hoc Distribution Profile for your friends and use the App Store Distribution Profile for Sale!

Getting ready

Installing the certificates

  • Go to the Certificates > Development tab.
  • Download the WWDR Intermediate Certificate.
  • Download your personal Development Certificate by clicking the Download button in the Actions column.
  • Install the two downloaded certificates by double-clicking them. This will launch the Keychain Access application. Make sure you install to the login chain which should be selected by default. Validate that your keys have been correctly installed by opening Applications > Utilities > Keychain Access and expanding the iPhone Developer: Your Name section in the login Keychain.

Registering devices

In order to use Development Provisioning and Ad Hoc Distribution Profiles, you need to register the devices with Apple.

  • Open iTunes with your device connected.
  • Select your iPhone in the Devices pane and choose the Summary tab.
  • Click once on the Serial Number: label. Do not click on the serial number, you need to click on the label.
  • iTunes will reveal your Device Identifier.
  • Press Command-C to copy the Device Identifier to the clip board.
  • In the iPhone Developer Program Portal go to Devices > Manage.
  • Click Add Devices.
  • Enter a speaking name into the Device Name field and paste the Device Identifier into the Device ID field.

In case you want to send your app to your friends to involve them into beta testing, ask them for their Device Identifiers and register their devices, too.

Generating Application IDs

App IDs are an important piece of the overall iPhone developer infrastructure and one, where I found many people struggling with subtle details. Unfortunately neither the iPhone Developer Program Portal’s How to section nor Apple’s guides are extremely clear on what needs to be done to get things going.

An App ID is a unique digital fingerprint that OS X iPhone uses to grant your application access to a portion of the Keychain and is one part of your provisioning profiles. In the App IDs section of the iPhone Developer Program Portal create an App ID if you have not yet done so. You can give your App ID an arbitrary Name. The name is used for reference purposes only.

The ID itself however must be unique. Therefore most developers use a reversed version of their domain name (or their companies domain name) as it is pretty common for namespaces. In case you don’t want to register every single application you’re going to build, you can create a single App ID which serves as a namespace for multiple apps. For example, I’m using the following ID:


Important Note: Apple generates a Bundle Seed ID for every App ID you create and appends it to your App ID as a prefix, however, the Bundle Seed ID must not be considered as a part of your App ID. So whenever you’re prompted for your App ID anywhere in Xcode or elsewhere, you must only use your App ID without the Bundle Seed ID. To make this very clear: In my case in the ID column of the Portal it says*. The “C5LRL9WHCV” part is the Apple generated Bundle Seed ID and only the com.straight2market.* part is my App ID namespace!

  • Go ahead and create your App ID by going to App IDs > Manage in the iPhone Developer Program Portal

Setting up Mobile Provisioning Profiles

Next set up at least two Mobile Provisioning Profiles, one for Development and one for Ad Hoc Distribution. Provisioning Profiles serve as the glue between certificates, App IDs and devices and link them together.

Set up your Development Mobile Provisioning Profile first:

  • In the iPhone Developer Program Portal go to Provisioning > Development.
  • Click Add Profile.
  • Enter a speaking Profile Name. I highly recommend to put the term “Development Profile” somewhere into your profile’s name. This will make it more easy to differentiate the profiles later on when you set them up in Xcode. My profile is called “straight2market Dev Profile”.
  • Select which certificate should be used for the profile.
  • Select the App ID for the profile.
  • Check all devices that should become deployable targets for the profile. Note: You might want to register additional devices at a later point of time. This is no problem at all. You can modify an existing profile at any time and include additional devices. Apple will recreate the modified Provisioning Profile instantaneously and you can simply download and use the updated version.

Here’s a screenshot of my Development Provisioning Profile with eight registered iPhones:


You are going to use the Development Mobile Provisioning Profile along with Xcode to deploy directly from Xcode to your device.

Next set up an Ad Hoc Distribution Provisioning Profile to allow distribution of your application to friends and others:

  • Navigate to Provisioning > Distribution in the iPhone Developer Program Portal.
  • Click Add Profile.
  • Select Ad Hoc. (I’m not going to cover App Store distribution in this post!)
  • The rest of the process equals the one for Development Provisioning Profiles.
  • Again, I highly recommend to name your profiles something like “[my company name] Ad Hoc Distribution Profile”.

Download the two profiles you’ve just created and store them in a save location. If you’ve followed my advice and provided speaking profile names, the files you’re going to download will have speaking file names, as well.

Installing Mobile Provisioning Profiles

Once you’ve downloaded the profiles the next step is to install them. The installation requires two steps: First, let Xcode know about the profiles. Second: Sync them to the device(s).

In order to install the profiles to your system you’ve got a couple of options:

  • Drag the .mobileprovision files downloaded from the iPhone Developer Program Portal to the Xcode dock icon.
  • Or: In Xcode select Window > Organizer. In the Devices pane select a connected device. In the Provisioning section of the Summary page click the [+] button. Navigate to your profile file.
  • Or: Drag the .mobileprovision files downloaded from the iPhone Developer Program Portal to the iTunes dock icon.
  • Or: Download the iPhone Configuration Utility which is available as a free download for Mac OS X and Windows. (If you’re managing multiple devices and don’t have Xcode, I recommend to use the iPhone Configuration Utility instead of iTunes as it gives you more control.)

Once you’ve installed the profiles verify that they have been copied (and renamed) to ~/Library/MobileDevice/Provisioning Profiles.

The next time you sync your device (or deploy an application to it via Xcode) the profiles will be installed. Verify that your device shows all of the profiles by going to Settings > General > Profiles.


This installation experience is an area, where I’ve seen people going literally nuts. Especially if you’ve played around with profiles a lot your system might be in a state where nothing seems to work anymore.

You might have seen 0xe800003a or 0xe8000001 error codes and frequently have read the annoying “Your mobile device has encountered an unexpected error (0xE8000001) during the install phase: Verifying application” error message.

Here are the good news: While others have stated they resolved these issues by reinstalling the iPhone SDK or even restoring their iPhone to factory state I never ever had to go that far in order to fix things. I’ve got a pretty complex setup comprising multiple provisioning profiles in parallel and multiple iPhones running more than a single profile. I do use more than a single certificate, too. And while I certainly ran into these errors, too, I’ve always been able to fix everything by just checking all the nitty gritty details and verifying that I’ve got everything configured right. I never needed a restore or reinstall. And you won’t either!

So before you’re deciding to delete stuff and to start over again, I’d like to encourage you to read through the Apple guides and take the stuff provided in this post as additional material and I promise you, you will be operational soon! There should be almost no need to reinstall the SDK or restore the device!

Whatever method you’ve selected to install the profiles, at the end of the day your profiles will be stored in ~/Library/MobileDevice/Provisioning Profiles. During installation your mobile provisioning files get a unique name. If you want to know which file maps to which of your profiles, you can open the files with a text editor (Right-click and Open With… TextEdit) and search for <key>Name</key>. The string immediately following this key maps to the speaking name you’ve selected during profile creation.

Here is an important tip: In case you’re continuously experiencing wired issues, go and empty the ~/Library/MobileDevice/Provisioning Profile folder. Don’t worry! You can download your profiles as often as you want through the Portal. Emptying this folder makes 100% sure that no old, outdated or corrupted provisioning profiles are left. In addition you should manually delete installed profiles from your iPhone by selecting Settings > General > Profiles and Remove for each.

Setting up Xcode

If you’ve made it up to this point, half of your journey is done. Overall the next part – getting Xcode up to speed – is pretty straight forward. There are again some subtle details you should be aware of, but again, it can be done. You don’t have to reinstall the SDK. You don’t have to restore your device. Just be patient and follow along. :-)

Provisioning Profiles

The first thing you want to make sure is that Xcode knows about your provisioning profiles. Launch Xcode. Go to Window > Organizer. Select your connected iPhone in the Devices pane. Make sure you see both profiles in the Provisioning area of the Summary page and both are checked:

Note: I’ve got an additional, grayed out profile here which I use for iTunes App Store distribution. You might not find that in your environment.

The next time Xcode talks to your device it’ll make sure that the checked profiles will be installed in case they are not there yet. As a reaction to this post ZDNet’s Ed Burnette remarked, that in his situation he had to manually delete the profiles and add them again. So in case you already had profiles installed, you might want to remove them here and add them again.

Project Settings in Xcode

Let me say this first: If you found this post, you’ve been there, you’ve done this before. You might have gone through this a couple of times. Please, stay tuned and do it again. I promise, at the end you’ll have a working environment.

Open your Xcode project. In case you’ve got none at hand, just create a new one to follow along.

There are a couple of things you have to do before you can compile for device deployment. Unfortunately there also is a difference between deploying for Ad Hoc Distribution and deploying simply to your connected development device. I’ll guide you through both.

Deploying to your locally connected development device

You got to tell Xcode about the App ID you’re going to use. Remember: You’ve created a wildcard App ID (com.straight2market.*) in the iPhone Developer Program Portal before.

In the Resources group of the Xcode Project Explorer find the Info.plist property list and select it. The Property List editor will show you the contents of the file. Make sure that the Bundle identifier falls into the namespace you’ve creates via the wildcard App ID.

By default it is:


If for example you’ve created the App ID com.straight2market.* and are going to create a calculator app, you might want to change it into com.straight2market.Calculator. As long as the Bundle identifier matches your App ID namespace it’s fine. Please note that Bundle identifiers have to be unique on the device. Therefore two apps must not share the same Bundle identifier.

Note: It is perfectly legal to just directly type in the Bundle identifier with the Property List editor. Yet there is a more elegant alternative. As you can see in the above screenshot by default Xcode uses a placeholder named ${PRODUCT_NAME:identifier}. You can set the contents for this placeholder by right-clicking the top most node in the project tree and selecting Get Info (or going to Project > Edit Project Settings), selecting the Build page and typing Product Name into the search field. The value you’re assigning here will be taken by Xcode to replace the variable in Info.plist.

So, here is what I usually do:

1. Change the Bundle identifier property in Info.plist:


2. Configure the application name in the Build settings for the project:


Important Note:

One of the aspects I’ve found not widely known but causing much confusion is that while Xcode lets you edit Build settings and others for the non active configuration, you should not do so! This is so super important, that I’d like to go into more detail.

In various Xcode windows you can see and change the active configuration (highlighted in red below).


When you go to Project > Edit Project Settings (or right-click on the root node in the project tree and select Get Info) you can adjust various settings. The editor allows you to modify everything for each configuration. So if for example your active configuration is Debug you could still make changes to the Release configuration.


Make sure, you’re making changes to the active configuration. This might be fixed in future Xcode versions but currently if you edit settings for a non active configuration, Xcode sometimes gets things wrong. As an example Xcode might not offer you the correct Mobile Provisioning Profiles. I’ve also seen projects where instead of the correct names of the profiles their unique identifier was shown, some 30 digit hexadecimal code. This might lead to all sorts of issues later on and actually can cause code signing to fail.

Again: In case you want to make changes to the Project Settings of a non active configuration, first activate the configuration and then adjust its changes.

Another aspect many people don’t understand is why some settings appear in bold and others don’t. The answer is easy: Xcode allows to define project settings on various levels. You edit the top most level if you go through Project > Edit Project Settings or right-click on the top project node and select Get Info. You can also adjust settings on a lower level. If you right-click the project node in the Targets group, you can override settings for individual targets.

XCode indicates adjustments made on the current level in bold.

If you made sure that you’re editing the active configuration, there are a couple of things you’ve got to do. Unfortunately things are different depending on whether you configure for development, for Ad Hoc distribution and for App Store distribution. Here is a run down on all three options:

Setting up for development

To be clear: With “setting up for development” I mean you’re setting up a configuration which will allow you to directly deploy to the device from within Xcode. You’re not planning to hand over built apps to your friends. You’re not planning to upload to iTunes Connect!

Go to Project > Edit Project Settings (or right-click the top most node in the project explorer and select Get Info).

Verify you’re changing the active configuration. (Sorry if I repeat myself here.)

Scroll down to the Code Signing section. Change the value of the Any iPhone OS Device property in the Code Signing Identity section from whatever it says to exactly:

iPhone Developer: <your name>

Replace <your name> with precisely the name you’ve used to create your certificate. If you’re not sure use the Mac OS X Keychain Access utility to look it up. Also make sure that there is a blank between the colon and the name. Here is how I’ve set up things:

The name in my certificate:


And the settings in Xcode:


Next in the Code Signing Provisioning Profile section change the value for the Any iPhone OS Device property to reflect your developer mobile provisioning profile:


I once again – I promise it’s the last time – I want to repeat that you have to make sure you change settings for the active configuration. I’ve seen many people stating that their profiles did not show up in the list. There are two main root causes for this:

1. You have a typo in the value you’ve set for the Code Signing Identity. Xcode compares the name you’ve entered with the names assigned to the profiles. If there is no case-sensitive match, it’ll not offer you to set the profile.

2. If you’re not editing settings for the active configuration, Xcode sometimes does not offer anything else than the Default Provisioning Profile for Code Signing Identity.

You’re done for the development set up!

Setting up for Ad Hoc distribution

Ad Hoc distribution allows you to hand out your application to friends and allow them to beta test it.

Go to Project > Edit Project Settings and select the Configurations page. If you’ve started with a clean project you most likely find two configurations, Debug and Release. Select Release and hit Duplicate (it’s at the bottom of the Project Info window). Name the duplicated configuration Ad Hoc Distribution. Actually the name is not important and used for reference purposes only but it makes life easier if you stick to clearly speaking names.


Switch to the Device / Ad Hoc Distribution configuration, thus making it active:


Open the project settings again. On the Build page make sure you are editing the active configuration. In the Code Signing section for the Code Signing Entitlements property set the value to dist.plist. In the Code Signing Identity section for the Any iPhone OS Device property set the value to exactly:

iPhone Distribution: <your name>

For the Any iPhone OS Device property in the Code Signing Provisioning Profile select your Ad Hoc distribution profile.


Again: If the Ad Hoc profile you’ve created does not show up here, chances are, you’re not editing the active configuration.

As the final step you’ve got to add the dist.plist Entitlement file: Right-click on the top most project node and select Add > New File… . Under iPhone OS select the Code Signing category and choose Entitlements.


Name the new file dist.plist. The name is not important as long as it matches the settings you’ve made before for the Code Signing Entitlements property.


Hit Finish. Double-click the newly created file to open it with the Property List Editor. Deselect (!) the get-task-allow property checkbox.

You’re done for the Ad Hoc Provisioning Profile!

This article has originally appeared in November 2008 on the previous incarnation of my blog and since then received lots of comments from all over the globe. The comments are still available here. If you’d like to add a comment please add it to this updated version of the article as comments on my old site have been closed.

Last but not least, in case you find this article helpful and it might even have saved you valuable time, feel free to donate.