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.

Top Rated Comments

macsorcery Avatar
13 months ago
good. lets get some secret emulators in there. :D
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ouimetnick Avatar
13 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
13 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
13 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
13 months ago

good. lets get some secret emulators in there. :D
I SECOND THAT!!!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DFZD Avatar
13 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)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.3 Now Available for Your iPhone With These 4 New Features

Friday February 3, 2023 1:13 pm PST by
Apple released iOS 16.3 in late January following nearly six weeks of beta testing. The software update is available for the iPhone 8 and newer, and while it is a relatively minor update, it still includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped new features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for...
HomePod 2 White and Midnight Feature Purple Blue

Apple Explains Why HomePod Was Released Again, Wi-Fi 4 Limitation, and More

Thursday February 2, 2023 7:57 am PST by
Apple's VP of hardware engineering Matthew Costello and product marketing employee Alice Chan recently spoke with Men's Journal and TechCrunch about the new second-generation HomePod in wide-ranging interviews about the smart speaker. Apple discontinued the original full-size HomePod in March 2021 after multiple reports indicated that sales of the speaker were lackluster, but Chan told Men's ...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.3.1 Update for iPhone as Wait for iOS 16.4 Beta Continues

Thursday February 2, 2023 6:41 am PST by
Apple appears to be preparing an iOS 16.3.1 update for the iPhone, based on evidence of the software in our website's analytics logs this week. It's unclear when the update will be released, but it will likely be available at some point in February. The same logs have accurately foreshadowed the release of several previous updates, including iOS 16.0.3 and iOS 16.1.1 most recently, so they...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Five New iOS Features Coming to Your iPhone Later This Year

Tuesday January 31, 2023 11:58 am PST by
Apple has previously announced several upcoming iOS features that are expected to be added to the iPhone this year. Some of the features could be introduced with iOS 16.4, which should enter beta testing soon, while others will arrive later in the year. Below, we have recapped five new iOS features that are expected to launch in 2023, such as an Apple Pay Later financing option for purchases ...
Apple Pay Later Quick Green Feature

Apple Pay Later Launching 'Soon'

Thursday February 2, 2023 2:10 pm PST by
The Apple Pay Later service that Apple has in the works is set to launch "soon," Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC ahead of today's earnings call for the first fiscal quarter of 2023. Cook said that Apple employees are beta testing the Apple Pay Later feature, which will help Apple boost services revenue. "It will be launching soon," Cook said. Apple Pay Later was first previewed at the...
webkit vs chromium feature

Google Working on Browser for iOS That Would Break Apple's App Store Rules

Saturday February 4, 2023 1:30 am PST by
Google's Chromium developers are working on an experimental web browser for iOS that would break Apple's browser engine restrictions, The Register reports. The experimental browser, which is being actively pursued by developers, uses Google's Blink engine. Yet if Google attempted to release it on the App Store, it would not pass Apple's App Review process. Apple's App Store rules dictate...