What you need to know
- Apple now allows developers to mark apps as unlisted.
- Unlisted apps don't appear in search and categories.
- Apps can still be found via their specific URL.
Apple is now allowing developers to mark apps as unlisted, effectively removing them from the App Store unless someone has their URL.
When an app is marked as unlisted it won't appear in any App Store search results, charts, recommendations, or categories. In fact, the only way to access an unlisted app is to click or tap its URL on a website, for example. Apple confirmed the change in new developer documentation.
Release your apps that aren't suited for public distribution as unlisted on the App Store, discoverable only with a direct link. Unlisted apps don't appear in any App Store categories, recommendations, charts, search results, or other listings. They can also be accessed through Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager. Apps for specific organizations, special events, or research studies, or apps used as employee resources or sales tools are good candidates for unlisted distribution.
Developers will need to submit a request to have their app marked as unlisted and that request can be made at any time, even if the app is already visible in the App Store. Apple is also keen to point out that this method of unlisting apps is not designed to give developers a way to offer beta versions via the App Store — TestFlight should still be used. Apps submitted and marked as unlisted will continue to work their way through App Store review and must be finished, functional versions.
The benefits of marking an app as unlisted are obvious and could allow companies to offer apps specifically for in-house use without making them visible to the public, for example.
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