Apple’s App Store now permits unlisted apps

They’re only accessible through a direct link.

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Igor Bonifacic
January 29, 2022 5:43 PM
In this article: news, gear, App Store, Unlisted Apps, Apple
The iPhone 13 Pro, held face up in a person's hand, with the iOS 15 home screen in view.
David Imel for Engadget

Apple has introduced a new feature that could help declutter the App Store somewhat. Per support documentation spotted by MacRumors, the marketplace now supports unlisted apps that users can only access through a direct link. Should a developer feel their software isn’t suited for public use, they can make a request through Apple’s website to distribute it as an unlisted app.

If the company grants the request, the app won’t appear “in any App Store categories, recommendations, charts, search results or other listings,” according to Apple. Outside of a direct link, it’s possible to access unlisted apps through Apple’s Business and School Manager platforms.

The company suggests that the new distribution method is ideal for apps that were designed for specific organizations, special events, research studies and other similar use cases. It notes, however, that unlisted apps aren’t a replacement for its TestFlight process since it will decline software that’s in a pre-release or beta state.

Otherwise, Apple notes it will consider both new and existing apps. Once an app is approved, its status as an unlisted app will apply to any future versions of the software a developer may release. In the case of any existing apps, their App Store link will remain the same.

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