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A customized mobile app for your company's Linchpin intranet can be distributed to employees in a variety of ways.

Overview of deployment options

Customized apps based on Linchpin Mobile can be distributed to employees' mobile devices in a variety of ways. On this page, we present the most common practices and briefly discuss the advantages of each variant so that you can make the best possible decision for your company.


Android

Public Google Play Store

For Android devices, the simplest option is usually distribution via the public Google Play Store. Most employees are familiar with this from their private lives, so they feel right at home. The processes for searching, installing, and updating the customized intranet app for your company are also mostly already well known. Furthermore, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategies can be implemented in this way, which allow employees to install work-related apps on personal Android devices.

When selecting this option, we upload and manage your customized app via the Google Developer Console. It is possible to set up Managed Google Play in order to not list the app publicly but only for your specific company.


Mobile Device Management (MDM)

A customized app based on Linchpin Mobile can of course also be issued to managed employee devices via your company's mobile device management system. This way, corporate IT always keeps track of all Android devices using the mobile intranet app.

When selecting this option, we provide you with an APK / AAB file of your customized app that you can distribute via MDM as you wish.


iOS

For iOS devices, deployment is often more complex because Apple regulates the ecosystem more strictly and thus partially requires distribution paths for certain types of apps. Here you can find the different distribution channels (Public App Store, Unlisted Distribution via AppStore, Custom App via Apple Business, Mobile Device Management) for iOS apps at a glance:


Public App Store

Unlisted Distribution via AppStore

Custom App via Apple Business

MDM

Available for Custom Apps?NoYesYesYes
Requirements
  • App is relevant to the broad public
  • App complies with AppStore Review Guidelines
App complies with AppStore Review Guidelines

Company is enrolled in Apple Business Manager

Devices enrolled in corporate MDM

Target groupAll iOS usersAny iOS user with a link to the app's store presenceAny iOS user provided with a redemption codeAll employees enrolled in MDM
Advantages
  • Easiest way for user to find, install, and update
  • Public visibility for your company
  • Easy way to distribute apps to any employee or partner (no personal redemption codes)
  • Lightweight review process with less requirements regarding public content
  • Easy to integrate with BYOD strategy
  • Lightweight review process with less requirements regarding public content
  • Easy to integrate with BYOD strategy
  • App distribution centrally managed by corporate IT
  • No review process at all
Risks and limitations
  • Apple may reject apps / updates in a strict review process
  • Anybody with the link can download the app (valid login still required)
  • No public visibility for your company
  • International employees need redemption code for app store of their country > Apple Business Account needed for every country your company is located in
  • Manual effort for distributing personal redemption codes to all employees

No feasible support for BYOD > Only employees with managed device have access to the app

Deployment processManaged by us via AppStore ConnectManaged by us via AppStore ConnectManaged by us via AppStore ConnectWe provide you with an IPA file that you can deploy via MDM


In the following sections we provide you with more information on each of the deployment options.


Public iOS App Store

We discontinued publishing Custom Apps via the public iOS App Store because of recurring issues with the obligatory review process by Apple. If this is the only deployment option that works for your company, please let us know so we can work out a solution together.

When publishing a Custom App in the official iOS AppStore, it first requires a review by the Apple app store review team, which will check your app against the applicable app store review guidelines. You can find the current version on the Apple website: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/

One aspect that has led to rejection of custom apps in this review in the past is the lack of public relevance. If such relevance is not given, for example because the target group of the app is restricted too much to the employees of a company, Apple consistently rejects apps for distribution via the iOS app store. Therefore, it is necessary to provide publicly accessible information in the app so that it offers added value to any iOS user. You can read more about this on the page about designing the public content of a custom app: Linchpin Mobile - Custom App - Public app stream.


Unlisted Distribution via AppStore

In 2022 Apple introduced Unlisted Distribution via AppStore as a way to provide iOS users with apps that only target a small group of the ecosystem as a whole (e.g., employees of a specific company). Apps published this way cannot be found in the iOS AppStore search and are not listed in AppStore categories or charts. The only way to install unlisted apps is by following a direct URL to the app that is provided by Apple and that can be shared with your employees. For all details please refer to the Apple Developer website: https://developer.apple.com/support/unlisted-app-distribution/.

We recommend this deployment option for your company's custom app since it is very easy to implement (even with BYOD) as well as intuitive for your employees to install. 


Custom App via Apple Business Manager

This deployment option is suitable for most companies that want to distribute a Custom App based on Linchpin Mobile to their employees. Your company must be enrolled in the Apple Business Program to do this, and can issue redemption codes to install your custom app to any employees. They can then redeem the codes through the regular iOS App Store to download the app. This way, you can even reach employees who don't own a company-managed iOS device (Bring-Your-Own-Device).

Compared to direct publishing of your custom app via the iOS app store, the app is not publicly listed when distributed via Apple Business, so it can only be downloaded by using a redemption code. In return, however, this ensures that the guidelines for the public relevance of your app are interpreted much more moderately - a rejection by the App Store Review Team is hardly to be feared here.

For more information on enrolling in the Apple Business Program and deploying a custom app through this channel, see here: Deploy your iOS Custom App via Apple Business


Mobile Device Management (MDM)

A customized app based on Linchpin Mobile can of course also be issued to managed employee devices via your company's mobile device management system. This way, corporate IT always keeps track of all iOS devices using the mobile intranet app.



This page was last edited on 06/20/2022.