Apple Requiring Developers to Return DTK Mac Minis by March 31

Apple today sent out emails to developers who are in possession of a Developer Transition Kit, asking them to return the machines by March 31. The Developer Transition Kits are Mac minis with A12Z chips that Apple provided for development purposes ahead of the release of the M1 Macs.

mac mini developer transition kit photo feature
Apple in the emails provided developers with shipping instructions, and plans to begin collecting the DTKs starting next week. The DTKs featured 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports and an HDMI 2.0 port in addition to the A12Z chip, which was first used in the 2020 iPad Pro models.

Thanks again for participating in the Universal Quick Start Program and committing to building great apps for Mac. We're following up with shipping instructions to return the Developer Transition Kit (DTK) that was loaned to you as part of the program. Please take a moment to review these details and ship all DTKs back to us by March 31, 2021.

As we mentioned in our last email, upon confirmed return of the DTK, you'll receive a credit for 500USD in the form of a one-time use promo code valid until the end of 2021. You can use it toward the purchase of a new M1 Mac or other Apple products ordered through the Apple Store Online.

To get one of the DTK units, developers were required to pay $500, and to compensate developers for what they spent, Apple is providing a $500 credit that can be put toward the purchase of any Apple product.

Apple originally planned to give developers $200, but later upped that to $500 after developers complained about the low credit amounts and technical issues that were experienced during the testing process.

Developers will now receive a $500 USD credit after the DTK is received, but Apple is not adjusting that amount for developers who are in other countries. Each developer is receiving the equivalent of $500, and as developer Steve Troughton-Smith points out, that does not match the original cost of the DTK for some developers.


Apple first sent out Developer Transition Kits at the end of June, so developers were able to use them for eight months. Developers were meant to have a year with the DTK for app development purposes, but other benefits that include a private discussion forum and technical support will continue to be available for the full 12 month period.

Top Rated Comments

appleguy123 Avatar
41 months ago

Wow. I'm glad I returned that sucker 2 or 3 weeks after first receiving it, for cash, not for Apple Store 'credit'.
Developers paid $500 bucks to break their backs re-building apps for the new M1 and after all that they can't even keep the machine they paid for?!?! WTF Apple. How lame.. These Mac Minis were likely recycled hardware to begin with and I can't imagine that they cost Apple more than $50 a pop to produce. What in the world are they going to do with this 'buyback' of the developer units? Is it possible that there's something 'wrong' with the developer M1's that they want to bring back in-house to prevent outside security firms from discovering?? That was my first thought when hearing this. It is odd to me that they're going through a buy-back program to re-acquire crap Mac Minis that were likely refurbished with the M1s added.

And what's this BS about $500 credit? Why would anyone want $500 credit over $500 US Dollars back for the hardware they originally thought they were buying?
No one thought they were going to keep it. It was explicit it was a lease.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jerryk Avatar
41 months ago

Wow. I'm glad I returned that sucker 2 or 3 weeks after first receiving it, for cash, not for Apple Store 'credit'.
Developers paid $500 bucks to break their backs re-building apps for the new M1 and after all that they can't even keep the machine they paid for?!?! WTF Apple. How lame..
And what's this BS about $500 credit? Why would anyone want $500 credit over $500 US Dollars back for the hardware they originally thought they were buying?
It was very clear in the agreement that you never owned the unit. And at the time many signed up it was $500 to get on the M1 early and no credit.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiseAJ Avatar
41 months ago
$500 USD is a whole lot better than the $0 you were promised when you signed up for the program. Stop complaining. No one forced developers into this.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fomalhaut Avatar
41 months ago

Wow. I'm glad I returned that sucker 2 or 3 weeks after first receiving it, for cash, not for Apple Store 'credit'.
Developers paid $500 bucks to break their backs re-building apps for the new M1 and after all that they can't even keep the machine they paid for?!?! WTF Apple. How lame.. These Mac Minis were likely recycled hardware to begin with and I can't imagine that they cost Apple more than $50 a pop to produce. What in the world are they going to do with this 'buyback' of the developer units? Is it possible that there's something 'wrong' with the developer M1's that they want to bring back in-house to prevent outside security firms from discovering?? That was my first thought when hearing this. It is odd to me that they're going through a buy-back program to re-acquire crap Mac Minis that were likely refurbished with the M1s added.

And what's this BS about $500 credit? Why would anyone want $500 credit over $500 US Dollars back for the hardware they originally thought they were buying?
1) DTK users didn't pay to buy the machine; they paid to lease it for a contractual period. Anyone who signed the contract knows this. Sounds like you didn't sign (or even read) the contract.

2) The DTK isn't a "developer M1" - it has a stock A12Z SoC on a custom daughter-board. I doubt there is any more useful information to be reverse-engineered in the DTK than there would be in an iPad Pro using the same SoC.

3) If you had a DTK that you returned 2-3 weeks after receiving it, you appear to be surprisingly uninformed about what it was, the purpose of the developer program, and the conditions of the program.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farewelwilliams Avatar
41 months ago

Wow. I'm glad I returned that sucker 2 or 3 weeks after first receiving it, for cash, not for Apple Store 'credit'.
Developers paid $500 bucks to break their backs re-building apps for the new M1 and after all that they can't even keep the machine they paid for?!?! WTF Apple. How lame.. These Mac Minis were likely recycled hardware to begin with and I can't imagine that they cost Apple more than $50 a pop to produce. What in the world are they going to do with this 'buyback' of the developer units? Is it possible that there's something 'wrong' with the developer M1's that they want to bring back in-house to prevent outside security firms from discovering?? That was my first thought when hearing this. It is odd to me that they're going through a buy-back program to re-acquire crap Mac Minis that were likely refurbished with the M1s added.

And what's this BS about $500 credit? Why would anyone want $500 credit over $500 US Dollars back for the hardware they originally thought they were buying?
terms have always said the device needed to be return to Apple.

did you not read it?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jamalien Avatar
41 months ago

Wow. I'm glad I returned that sucker 2 or 3 weeks after first receiving it, for cash, not for Apple Store 'credit'.
Developers paid $500 bucks to break their backs re-building apps for the new M1 and after all that they can't even keep the machine they paid for?!?! WTF Apple. How lame.. These Mac Minis were likely recycled hardware to begin with and I can't imagine that they cost Apple more than $50 a pop to produce. What in the world are they going to do with this 'buyback' of the developer units? Is it possible that there's something 'wrong' with the developer M1's that they want to bring back in-house to prevent outside security firms from discovering?? That was my first thought when hearing this. It is odd to me that they're going through a buy-back program to re-acquire crap Mac Minis that were likely refurbished with the M1s added.

And what's this BS about $500 credit? Why would anyone want $500 credit over $500 US Dollars back for the hardware they originally thought they were buying?
No-one originally thought they were buying it, unless they were ignorant. It was a loan out, and was stated clearly from the beginning that you weren't 'buying' the device. Apple's 500$ credit is not warranted or required in any way; you paid to have early access to get your apps on arm promptly. You were made no promises in your contract that any reimbursement would be made after the contract was over. Why do you think you are entitled to cash lol?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

iOS 18 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Friday April 12, 2024 11:11 am PDT by
iOS 18 is expected to be the "biggest" update in the iPhone's history. Below, we recap rumored features and changes for the iPhone. iOS 18 is rumored to include new generative AI features for Siri and many apps, and Apple plans to add RCS support to the Messages app for an improved texting experience between iPhones and Android devices. The update is also expected to introduce a more...
iGBA Feature

Game Boy Emulator for iPhone Now Available in App Store Following Rule Change [Removed]

Sunday April 14, 2024 8:06 am PDT by
A week after Apple updated its App Review Guidelines to permit retro game console emulators, a Game Boy emulator for the iPhone called iGBA has appeared in the App Store worldwide. The emulator is already one of the top free apps on the App Store charts. It was not entirely clear if Apple would allow emulators to work with all and any games, but iGBA is able to load any Game Boy ROMs that...
iGBA Feature

Apple Removes Game Boy Emulator iGBA From App Store Due to Spam and Copyright Violations

Sunday April 14, 2024 9:22 pm PDT by
Apple today said it removed Game Boy emulator iGBA from the App Store for violating the company's App Review Guidelines related to spam (section 4.3) and copyright (section 5.2), but it did not provide any specific details. iGBA was a copycat version of developer Riley Testut's open-source GBA4iOS app. The emulator rose to the top of the App Store charts following its release this weekend,...
iOS NES Emulator Bimmy Feature

NES Emulator for iPhone and iPad Now Available on App Store [Removed]

Tuesday April 16, 2024 11:33 am PDT by
The first approved Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) emulator for the iPhone and iPad was made available on the App Store today following Apple's rule change. The emulator is called Bimmy, and it was developed by Tom Salvo. On the App Store, Bimmy is described as a tool for testing and playing public domain/"homebrew" games created for the NES, but the app allows you to load ROMs for any...
m3 mbp space black

M4 Macs Are Expected to Launch in This Order Starting Later This Year

Sunday April 14, 2024 10:40 am PDT by
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman recently reported that the first Macs with M4 series chips will be released later this year, with more models to follow next year. In his Power On newsletter today, Gurman shared a more specific roadmap for these Macs. Here is the order in which Gurman expects the Macs to launch:1. A low-end 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M4, coming around the end of 2024. 2. A 24-inch ...
iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

Apple's First AI Features in iOS 18 Reportedly Won't Use Cloud Servers

Sunday April 14, 2024 9:52 am PDT by
Apple's first set of new AI features planned for iOS 18 will not rely on cloud servers at all, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. "As the world awaits Apple's big AI unveiling on June 10, it looks like the initial wave of features will work entirely on device," said Gurman, in the Q&A section of his Power On newsletter today. "That means there's no cloud processing component to the...
new best buy blue

Best Buy Opens Up Sitewide Sale With Record Low Prices on M3 MacBook Air, iPad, and Much More

Saturday April 13, 2024 7:41 am PDT by
Best Buy this weekend has a big sale on Apple MacBooks and iPads, including new all-time low prices on the M3 MacBook Air, alongside the best prices we've ever seen on MacBook Pro, iPad, and more. Some of these deals require a My Best Buy Plus or My Best Buy Total membership, which start at $49.99/year. In addition to exclusive access to select discounts, you'll get free 2-day shipping, an...
top stories 13apr2024

Top Stories: M4 Mac Roadmap Leaked, New iPads in Second Week of May, and More

Saturday April 13, 2024 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's hardware roadmap was in the news this week, with things hopefully firming up for a launch of updated iPad Pro and iPad Air models next month while we look ahead to the other iPad models and a full lineup of M4-based Macs arriving starting later this year. We also heard some fresh rumors about iOS 18, due to be unveiled at WWDC in a couple of months, while we took a look at how things ...