App Store Now Supports Unlisted Apps Discoverable Only With a Direct Link

Apple recently announced that the App Store now supports unlisted apps discoverable only with a direct link, as outlined on its developer website.

iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue
Developers with apps that aren't suited for public distribution can submit a request on Apple's website to distribute unlisted apps, which don't appear in any App Store categories, recommendations, charts, search results, or other listings. Unlisted apps can also be accessed through Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager.

Apple says apps for specific organizations, special events, research studies, or employee sales tools and resources are good candidates for unlisted distribution. Unlisted apps are supported in all countries where the App Store is available.

Developers can submit Apple's request form for both new and existing apps. If approved, the app's distribution method will change to "Unlisted App" and will apply to any future versions of the app. Unlisted apps are available to anyone who has access to the link, and if the app is already available on the App Store, its current link will remain the same.

Unlisted apps must be ready for final distribution, and requests for apps in a beta or pre-release state will be declined, according to Apple. In other words, unlisted distribution cannot be used for TestFlight-like purposes.

The news was brought to our attention by developer Steve Troughton-Smith.

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Top Rated Comments

4743913 Avatar
32 months ago
good. lets get some secret emulators in there. :D
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ouimetnick Avatar
32 months ago

good. lets get some secret emulators in there. :D
Wishful thinking, those apps still have to go through the regular screening process.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
32 months ago
This reminded me of a VPN (private network) version of the App Store. Imagine being able to collect payments for a personal event via unlisted App- direct link.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TriBruin Avatar
32 months ago
This is a good change. There are a number of Apps that ONLY work when tied to a subscription (usually tied to Enterprise applications). Developers either have to put a single version on the public app store and have angry users post 1 star reviews when the app doesn't work when they download or create business specific app versions and tie them to individual customers.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mrWONERFUL Avatar
32 months ago

good. lets get some secret emulators in there. :D
I SECOND THAT!!!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DFZD Avatar
32 months ago
Now that you can disable App Store's discovery service benefits, there's virtually nothing that is stopping Apple from lowering it's developer commission for apps that don't need to be discovered on the App Store.

Spotify and Netflix users would greatly benefit from this move.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)