How to build an ipa without any intention of releasing to the app store?

Issue

I want to create an app which can be put on a website for users to be downloaded and not to be downloaded from the play store or from the app store, like the way Dream11 does it. I have created an app that works perfectly in the debug mode in both iOS and Android and the flutter build for Android works amazing too. The ‘flutter build ipa’ command is causing an error-

No valid code signing certificates were found
You can connect to your Apple Developer account by signing in with your Apple ID
in Xcode and create an iOS Development Certificate as well as a Provisioning 
Profile for your project by:
  1- Open the Flutter project's Xcode target with
       open ios/Runner.xcworkspace
  2- Select the 'Runner' project in the navigator then the 'Runner' target
     in the project settings
  3- Make sure a 'Development Team' is selected under Signing & Capabilities > Team. 
     You may need to:
         - Log in with your Apple ID in Xcode first
         - Ensure you have a valid unique Bundle ID
         - Register your device with your Apple Developer Account
         - Let Xcode automatically provision a profile for your app
  4- Build or run your project again
  5- Trust your newly created Development Certificate on your iOS device
     via Settings > General > Device Management > [your new certificate] > Trust

For more information, please visit:
  https://developer.apple.com/library/content/documentation/IDEs/Conceptual/
  AppDistributionGuide/MaintainingCertificates/MaintainingCertificates.html

Or run on an iOS simulator without code signing

Now I am confused whether or not to do these as I won’t be releasing on the app store. Is this compulsory to do irrespective of whether the app goes to the app store or not or is there a workaround to create a build version of the app for the iOS?

Solution

You really have four options.

  1. Release through App Store
  2. Apple has a rather new program for releasing private apps through the App Store
  3. Release through test flight
  4. Create an enterprise developer account

All of these options require a developer account.

Answered By – picciano

Answer Checked By – Willingham (FlutterFixes Volunteer)

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