Similar to Google, Apple has guidelines on what apps need to do in order for them to be listed on the App Store, but what if developers don’t want their apps to be discovered by the general public? What if developers are creating apps on behalf of organizations or researchers that are only meant to be used internally?
The good news for these organizations is that it appears that Apple will now allow them to host apps on the App Store that are unlisted. This means that only users with a direct link to the app will be able to find it and download it, kind of like unlisted YouTube videos which don’t show up in search results.
This means that if researchers want to create an app that they only want participants in a study to download, or organizers want an app that’s only for a particular event, they can submit the app to the App Store and then provide users with a link where they can download the app from.
This is different from Apple’s TestFlight platform which is meant to host apps that are in beta. Apple has made it clear that unlisted apps cannot be beta apps and must still follow the App Store’s guidelines, so for the most part it’s still the same as a regular submission but slightly more private.