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How to distribute custom apps developed for businesses privately via VPP to iOS and tvOS devices?

Custom apps are tailor-made apps explicitly designed to meet the business functionalities with at most security to protect the business data. The admin can privately distribute custom apps developed for iOS or tvOS devices through the Apple Business Manager portal.

To publish an app privately in your Apple Business Manager console, you must first upload the app in Apple Store Connect. Once the app gets approved, it will be available for distribution in your organization’s ABM or ASM console.

Follow the steps to distribute the custom-developed apps for businesses privately,

  1. Publish a custom-made app in Apple Store Connect with set pricing and availability.
  2. Avail the apps from the ABM console.
  3. Distribute apps to targets.

Publish an app in Apple Store Connect with set pricing and availability

Pre-requisites

  • To make the private apps available for only specific businesses, the developer must sign a Paid Application Agreement when they first visits the Apple Store Connect, even if you are offering the app for free.
  • Create an app and submit it for review in the Apple Store Connect.
  • The Apple ID used to publish the app in the Apple Store Connect should be different from the organizational Apple ID for ASM/ABM/VPP login, else Apple will reject the app on review.

Create a new app and configure its build on your Apple Store Connect. To make the app available for the specified organizations,

  1. Go to the Apple Store Connect homepage.
  2. Click on My Apps and select your app from the list.
  3. Under Pricing and Availability, go to App Distribution Methods section.
  4. Select Private.
  5. Choose Organisation ID or Apple ID as the Type and enter the required information.
  6. If the organization to which you want to distribute this app has either an Apple Business/School Manager account, enter the corresponding organization ID.

Note:


If you have already submitted a custom app for review but haven’t got it approved yet, you can follow the same procedure to make it private. However, this option will no longer be available once the app gets approved by Apple.


After setting the pricing and availability, submit the app for review. Once the app gets approved, it will be available for distribution in the specified console.

Avail the apps from the ABM console

To distribute the custom app via Hexnode UEM, you have to first sync your Apple Business Manager account with your Hexnode UEM.

To purchase VPP apps,

  1. On your Apple Business Manager console, go to Content > Custom Apps.
  2. Select the required apps and buy the licenses.

To deploy Apple VPP apps via Hexnode,

  1. Download the VPP token from Apple Business Manager.
  2. Configure VPP settings in Hexnode.
  3. Invite users to VPP.
  4. Sync the VPP account if the VPP account is already added in Hexnode.

Distribute apps to targets

Go to the Apps tab to view the private apps along with the other VPP apps purchased from ABM.
To distribute these apps to iOS devices,

  • On your Hexnode MDM console, go to Policies.
  • Click on New Policy > New Blank Policy, or you can select an existing policy. Provide a policy name and description if you are creating a new policy.
  • Go to iOS > App Management > Mandatory Apps.
  • Click on Configure.
  • Click on + Add > Add App, select the required custom VPP app, and click Done.
  • Go to Policy Targets > Devices > + Add Devices, select the target devices to which these apps have to be deployed.
  • Click on Ok and Save.
  • The apps deployed to the endpoints via the mandatory app policy will get automatically pushed to the device, provided the policy remains associated with the device.

    Apart from devices, you can also assign the policy to users, user groups, device groups, and domains by selecting the corresponding pane from the Policy Targets tab.

    You can also distribute custom apps to iOS and tvOS devices via Remote Actions,

    1. On your Hexnode MDM console, go to Manage > Devices.
    2. Select the iOS devices to which the custom apps have to be installed.
    3. Click on Actions > Install Application.
    4. Select the VPP app that you want to deploy and click Done.