The App Store is meant to publish apps for the general public.
If you are building an app for the employees of a specific company, the App Store is not the right place for it.
For apps that aren’t suited for public distribution on the App Store, there are 3 possibilities.
Apple provides 3 ways of distributing the app outside their general store:
- Custom Apps : Distribute your app privately while using App Store Connect and Apple Business Manager.
With Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager, you can privately and securely distribute to specific partners, clients, and franchisees. You can also distribute proprietary apps to your internal employees.
- In House distribution : Distribute the app out of the app store, but with strict eligibility requirements via an Apple Developer Enterprise Program.
- Unlisted distribution : Release your apps that aren’t suited for public distribution as unlisted on the App Store, discoverable only with a direct link. Apps for partner sales tools, employee resources, or research studies are examples of good candidates for unlisted distribution.
In this online help, we will show you how to distribute your unlisted app.
An unlisted app will not appear in the App Store or be displayed in the search results.
The app will only be accessible via a download link.
Warning: This distribution method is direct but not private: an unlisted app can still be downloaded by anyone who has the download link, and this link can be shared.
For a fully private distribution, look at the Custom App distribution option and see what distribution method works best for your app.
Note that even if the app is not visible on the App Store, it is still distributed through App Store Connect and, therefore, must be compliant with the App Store Review guidelines .
Before applying for the unlisted distribution of your app.
The submission process of an unlisted app is mostly the same as the submission process of a public app in App Store Connect.
If you are doing the iOS publication process solo, follow the online help on how to compile your iOS app and how to publish it in App Store Connect .
If you have chosen the GoodBarber Takes Care option for iOS, let the team know in the automatic request ticket that the app should be distributed as unlisted in App Store Connect.
There are a few requirements to meet before you can ask for the unlisted distribution of your app:
-The app must be ready for final distribution: all the metadata (app name, description, keywords, screenshots…) must be completed and the binary must have been sent
-The app must be submitted for review
Note: Requests for apps in a beta or pre-release state will be declined.
Request the unlisted distribution of your app to Apple
Only the owner of the Apple Developer account can access the request form.
1. Connect to your Apple account using the account owner’s credentials
2. Go to https://developer.apple.com/contact/request/unlisted-app/
3. Complete all the fields of the form
You can retrieve your App ID number on App Store Connect in the menu App Information > Apple ID of your app: https://appstoreconnect.apple.com/
4. Validate the form
Apple will verify if your app meets all the requirements to be distributed as unlisted.
This verification can take more than 24h.
Once the verification is over, Apple will send you an email to confirm whether your app is eligible to unlisted distribution.
If your request is validated, your app will automatically become unlisted and a link will be generated so you and your users can access the app on the App Store and on Apple Business Manager or on Apple School Manager. If your app was already published on the App Store, its link will remain the same.
Note if your app was previously submitted for a private distribution (as a Custom App)
If your app was already approved for private download on Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager, you will have to start the publication process over before being able to submit the request for unlisted distribution.
In other words, you will have to create a new App ID , compile the app again , and submit the new binary file as a new app in App Store Connect with the distribution method set to Public. Only then will you be able to send the request form for unlisted distribution to Apple.
If GoodBarber is taking care of the publication for you, just let the team know in the dedicated support ticket .