The App Store supports apps that can only be discovered through a direct link
Apple allows developers to hide apps in the App Store
It appears that developers with apps not suitable for public distribution will be able to submit a request on Apple’s website to distribute unlisted apps, which do not appear in any App Store categories, recommendations, charts, search results or other listings. Unlisted apps can also be accessed through Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager.
While developers want apps published on the App Store to reach the largest number of users, this is not always the goal for some developers because sometimes, the purpose of apps is to share them only to a group of users, such as a team for beta use before public release.
Or they can be temporary implementations of specific events, internal exams, as part of an educational program, etc. In this case, Apple now allows apps to be uploaded to the App Store, but they remain hidden so that they can only be accessed via special links.
That is, it will not be listed in the App Store in general for all users. And if someone searches for this app, they won’t find it, and only people who have the link will be able to download it to their device.
MacRumors says that apps for specific organizations, special events, research studies, or employee sales tools and resources are good apps for unlisted distribution. Unlisted apps are supported in all countries where the App Store is available.
In addition, developers can submit an Apple application form for both new and existing applications. If approved, the application distribution method will change to “Unlisted Application” and will apply to any future versions of the Application. Unlisted apps are available to anyone with access to the link, and if the app is already available on the App Store, the existing link will remain.
Unlisted apps must be ready for final distribution, the site says, and requests for apps in beta or pre-release status will be rejected, according to Apple. In other words, the unlisted distribution cannot be used for TestFlight-like purposes.
Hide apps in the App Store
For an app to be hidden in the App Store, developers must ask Apple not to list it in the App Store in general. Once you provide Apple the developer with the link, you can share it with the group of users you want.
The developer should consider that the app will be available to anyone with the link, so they will have to take extra security measures, so that no uninvited user can access the app.
Of course, these apps must go through a review, as Apple wants to make sure they meet the store’s requirements.