Developers are now able to distribute unlisted apps on the App Store that only specific users - those with a direct link - can find.
In order to obtain a link developers must submit a request to Apple, however, the firm has stated that "beta or pre-release state" requests will be declined.
For the general public, apps that are unlisted will not show up in search results, charts, categories, or anywhere on the App Store without the link. Instead, Apple has suggested that the feature be used to distribute apps amongst limited audiences, such as part-time employees, conference attendees, or students.
Additionally, the unlisted apps will be accessible by administrators on Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager.
Given that, by default, anyone with the direct link will be able to access and download the associated unlisted app, Apple has advised developers to "implement a mechanism" to prevent unauthorised users gaining access.
Up and running
With this change, a big benefit to developers will be that employee-owned devices can run unlisted apps even if they are "not eligible" to be managed through Apple School Manager or Apple Business Manager.
When apps are ready for distribution, developers can request the release of an unlisted app through the Apple Developer site. Different steps are then required depending on whether the app is already public or only approved for private download on Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager.
Recently, Apple submitted plans to comply with new legislation in South Korea that requires alternate payment systems on app marketplaces.