Apple introduces new way of distributing apps via App Store – Unlisted app distribution

Apple adds new option to distribute iOS apps. Previously, developers were able to use public App Store, use Custom App distribution (to Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager connected organizations) or use Enterprise Developer Program and handle distribution internally.

All of these methods had their pros and cons, and limitations.

Now Apple introduces new option – Unlisted app distribution. This option provides a way of distribution via App Store without limiting your app availability to specific organizations, but app also is not presented in search results, charts, recommendations and could be discovered only by direct link.

These apps could be used by Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager deployments.

Apps for specific organizations, special events, or research studies, or apps used as employee resources or sales tools are good candidates for unlisted distribution.

Apple Developer

In order to distribute apps via this option, Account Holder should request the link via special form.

Apps distributed via this approach will follow App Store review according to App Store Review Guidelines. However, it is expected, that some sections will not be applicable – such as account registration or "guest" access in the same way as in Custom App distribution.

Please note that unlisted apps must be ready for final distribution. Requests for apps in a beta or pre-release state will be declined.

Apple Developer

Unlisted apps could be accessed by anyone with the link, so app should have proper authorization mechanisms in place.

Apple Developer: Unlisted app distribution

Unlisted app distribution request form: Unlisted App Request

Apple launches Business Essentials program

Apple introduced new program for small businesses – Business Essentials. This program provides iCloud storage, device management and device support to organizations with up to 500 employees.

A set of three simple Apple Business Essentials plans enable businesses to cover every employee and device in their organization. Plans can be customized to support each user with up to three devices and up to 2TB of secure storage in iCloud, starting at $2.99 per month, with optional AppleCare+ for Apple Business Essentials.

Apple Press Release

Service is currently available in beta (and, therefore, lacks AppleCare+ support).