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let’s dev Blog | Business and Enterprise App Distribution on iOS
by Aileen
05. August 2019

Business and Enterprise App Distribution on iOS

Apps are not only part of our private everyday life, mobile applications are also used in the business sector to increase efficiency. Apple provides different programs and platforms for different application scenarios, which should enable the distribution of iOS apps.

The following article presents all currently available distribution channels for business apps on iOS - from public provision in the Apple App Store to apps for internal distribution within the company.

App Store

If the app is aimed at a large number of external customers, distribution via the publicly accessible App Store is the right choice. Before being made available in the App Store, each submitted app must successfully pass Apple's review process. This process verifies that the app being offered complies with App Store guidelines. We have already summarized which information is required for the successful submission of an app to the Apple App Store in an earlier post.

With the category "Business Apps", Apple also provides a separate area within the App Store where enterprise apps can be found, purchased and downloaded by users. It is not only possible to purchase the app manually for individual devices, the purchase can also be centralized in large quantities via the Apple Business Manager.

Custom apps

Enterprise apps that meet specific requirements of defined organizations or user groups, on the other hand, need the option of private and protected deployment. The app developer can add targeted customers to their App Store Connect account for this purpose. Custom apps can be offered for free or at a custom price, just like in the App Store. In-app purchases are also possible. Once the app has been published, the customer has the option of purchasing the app via the Apple Business Manager or distributing it to internal devices via the mobile device management system.

The review process defined by Apple also takes place in advance for private distribution. If the app contains sensitive data and an upstream login, sample data must be submitted to Apple for authentication. Before the final release of the app, additional users can be invited for beta tests.

In-House Distribution

In-house business apps are applications that are used exclusively by employees of the company's own organization and are also provided by in-house developers via an internal app store or mobile device management system. Distribution outside the app store is significantly faster and more flexible for apps with internal uses, as changes to the code can be made at any time. A review process by Apple is also not necessary in this case. Furthermore, the apps are not available in public stores, which is an important aspect especially for confidential applications. However, this means that certain functionalities cannot be used in in-house apps. These include in-app purchases, subscriptions, Apple Pay, and app analytics.

To distribute the apps internally, access to the Apple Developer Enterprise Program is required. Apple defines a number of requirements that companies must meet in order to use the program. For example, the company must be a legally valid organization and there must be a D-U-N-S number. A D-U-N-S number is a unique identification number for companies issued by the company dun and bradstreet (see: https://www.dnb.com/duns-number/get-a-duns.html).

Furthermore, the person responsible for the program must be the owner of the company or have corresponding legal decision-making authority. In addition, a public presence in the form of a company website is mandatory.

Overview of functions and requirements

App Store

Custom App

In-House distribution

Distribution and updates

Apps are provided by Apple in the App Store, users can download app

Apps are provided by Apple using Apple Business Manager, customers can organize distribution and app updates using Mobile Device Management

App are managed and deployed within the organization

Availability

Public availability in over 155 countries and regions

Private deployment available in 65 countries and regions

Private provision to members of own organization

User group

Any customer within the specified countries and regions

Specified companies and all employees of their own organization

Only employees of own organization

App Store Connect

Available

Available

Not available

Apple Pay, in-app purchases, subscriptions, app analytics

Available

Available

Not available

App Review

Required

Required

Not required

Prerequisite for use

Individual entrepreneurs and organizations that are part of the Apple Developer Program

Individual entrepreneurs and organizations that are part of the Apple Developer Program

Organizations that are part of the Apple Developer Program

App Store

Distribution and updates

Apps are provided by Apple in the App Store, users can download app

Availability

Public availability in over 155 countries and regions

User group

Any customer within the specified countries and regions

App Store Connect

Available

Apple Pay, in-app purchases, subscriptions, app analytics

Available

App Review

Required

Prerequisite for use

Individual entrepreneurs and organizations that are part of the Apple Developer Program

Custom App

Distribution and updates

Apps are provided by Apple using Apple Business Manager, customers can organize distribution and app updates using Mobile Device Management

Availability

Private deployment available in 65 countries and regions

User group

Specified companies and all employees of their own organization

App Store Connect

Available

Apple Pay, in-app purchases, subscriptions, app analytics

Available

App Review

Required

Prerequisite for use

Individual entrepreneurs and organizations that are part of the Apple Developer Program

In-House distribution

Distribution and updates

App are managed and deployed within the organization

Availability

Private provision to members of own organization

User group

Only employees of own organization

App Store Connect

Not available

Apple Pay, in-app purchases, subscriptions, app analytics

Not available

App Review

Not applicable

Prerequisite for use

Organizations that are part of the Apple Developer Enterprise Program

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