Unlisted Apps Can Now Be Distributed to the Apple App Store

The only way to find them will be with a direct link

Unlisted apps won't appear in the App Store or be searchable, but Apple believes they'll be a useful way to distribute something to a much more focused user base.

According to Apple, unlisted app distribution would be handy for sharing apps used for research studies, employee resources, and more. Basically, any situation where you might want to limit an app's reach to very specific individuals or a small group of people. All you have to do is give them the app's link, which can be used either in the App Store, Apple Business Manager, or School Manager.

A closeup on an iPhone displaying an App Store icon.

James Yarema / Unsplash

Developers interested in getting an unlisted link for their app will have to request one from Apple directly. Once approved, and once a link is provided, all that's needed is to share the link with the intended people. If the app is already on the App Store, it will still use the same link—it just won't show up on lists or in searches anymore.

Apple cautions that anyone with the link (intended or not) will be able to find the app, so it might be necessary to add additional methods to prevent unwanted downloads. This could be anything from carefully guarding the link to requiring a sign-in to use the app, but Apple itself doesn't provide any extra options.

If, for any reason, you have an app you'd like to have unlisted but still available for a very specific audience, you can request a link from Apple now. The unlisted app link option is available for all regions that support the Apple App Store.

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