Apple has recently announced that it will now allow unlisted app distribution to developers. This means developers will now be able to unlist their app from the App Store and only offer downloads via a direct download link.
When an app has been unlisted it will not show up in App Store’s search result, categories, charts, recommendations or other listings. Developers will be able to share direct URL links with users who can access the app’s page with that URL and download the app on their device. In addition to direct download link the app will also be accessible through Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager.
The Unlisted app distribution is going to make it easier for organizations, research studies, special event organizers and businesses to privately distribute their app to staff, employees or participants without making it widely available on the App Store.
This feature will also make app distribution easier on employee owned devices that are not eligible to be managed through Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager.
The feature is available on all regions where App Store is available.
In order to get an unlisted app link developers need to submit a request on this page, after which they will receive a link to their unlisted app. For apps that are already publicly available on the App Store developers can submit a request to Apple to make them private and unlist them from the App Store.
For apps that are already available privately on Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager developers need to create a new app record in App Store Connect and set distribution method to public before submitting a request for unlisted app link.
If your app was already approved for private download on Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager, you’ll need to create a new app record in App Store Connect, upload your binary, and set the distribution method to Public before completing the request form.– Apple