How to let Apple test my "for YNAB" app for free?



As you may know, if some features in an iOS app are blocked, Apple requests a demo account to be able to test them before they approve the app to be live on the App Store.


In the case of making an app "for YNAB", almost everything is blocked behind the login which means I have to provide Apple with a YNAB account to test.


The problem is, that means I have a subscription every year for an account I don't need just to keep my apps going and keep my updates getting approved.


For the purpose of my own testing, I usually simply use some test budgets on my personal account that I already pay for but I can't give that to Apple ;) 

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  • I think you could just sign up for a 30 day free trial account.  I did this in order to test my web app integration to make sure it worked properly with multiple accounts.  YNAB doesn't ask for any credit card information, so you just need a unique e-mail address each time (which, if you use gmail, you can just do by appending a `+` and some text after your username, e.g. `[email protected]`).

  • Thanks for replying, that doesn't solve the problem, I need the account to be active and working at all times since Apple testers need to test it in order to approve it to go live to the App Store and that applies to every time I submit an update to the app to the store.

    • Boda Hi there! I just wanted to let you know that we're looking into how we might be able to help with this. Thanks for your patience and for your interest in developing an app that works with YNAB.

      • Boda
      • boda
      • 13 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Matthew Thank you! I would appreciate it if you can submit an answer here once there is one cause otherwise I can't submit anything to the App Store :)

  • Hey @boda! I'm jumping in from our API team, and wanted to let you know two things:

    1. We've run into issues before where Apple won’t typically let developers submit for review until we review your app and lift restricted mode on our end. I just wanted to mention it (since it's tangentially related!) so that it was on your radar. You can see the criteria and process for submitting that for review to YNAB here

    2. I looked into what a few other app developers have done who list in the App Store, and most do what Emanuel Borsboom mentioned- creating a trial account for testing and then updating those credentials if they ever make an update requiring review, though a few of our developers do pay for a second testing account that they run their API through and then also supply credentials under that account. 

    I also wanted to let you know that I did note this conversation as feedback and passed it on to our API team for future consideration. So far, this hasn't been an issue that has come up so I am glad you raised it. 

    If you have any other questions, definitely let us know! I can't wait to see what you're building. 

      • Boda
      • boda
      • 12 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Chrissy Chrissy Thank you! It sounds like plenty of workarounds to submit an app that I think you (YNAB) should make it much much smoother and easier for developers to create these apps without this hassle. At the end, I assume the goal of your API is to use the force multiplier of letting people develop YNAB budgeting tools as well rather than waiting for what the business decides should be invested in.


      Honestly I don't feel like paying $83 a year just for Apple to test cause for me I can test on another budget in my account. I already pay Apple €100 a year for the developer account.


      Also for the restrictions, good to know. I actually read the criteria already in the past but I thought I will send you the app the day it's live, how can you test it before it goes live? Through TestFlight or how does it work for you?

    • Boda Yes, we can review it via Testflight if it's a mobile app, or if it's something for a Mac you can send us a direct download link (or via Dropbox, etc.). 

      And thanks again for the feedback! We'll definitely consider the options there! In the meantime, you can always reach us directly at [email protected], too.

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