Learn about custom apps in Apple School Manager
Custom apps are apps developed to meet your organisation’s specific educational needs by you or a third-party developer. They are distributed privately and securely to members of your organisation through Apple School Manager. Your developers submit custom apps through App Store Connect and assign the apps to your Apple School Manager account. Once approved, they are available to your organisation, so that only you can view and access them.
Custom apps allow you to leverage the scale and ease of use of the App Store while also providing:
security features for sensitive or private school data
a tailored look and feel, such as your school logo or branding
unique features for students and teachers within your organisation
specific functionality for a class or workflow
special configuration for IT environments.
Important information about custom apps
App review: each custom app, as well as each updated version submitted for custom distribution, goes through the app review process with Apple. The same app review guidelines for App Store apps apply to custom apps. The review process typically takes one or two days. For more information about the app review process, see the App Review website.
App security: if your app contains sensitive business data, you should include an authentication mechanism within the app. Apple highly recommends using best practices for in-app authentication and encryption. For more information on secure coding best practices, see the Security Framework article on the Apple Developer website.
App verification: to verify that custom apps meet the review guidelines, Apple needs to sign in and operate the app. Work with your developer or partner to determine how to meet this requirement with appropriate handling of proprietary or sensitive business data. You should provide generic test accounts or sanitised sample data to protect confidentiality for the purposes of app review.
Distribution: custom apps are distributed privately within the Apps and Books section of Apple School Manager. IT teams can leverage the same app distribution model as App Store apps, including device-based assignments and managed app capabilities. Developers designate organisations that are allowed to access the app and can privately distribute to a specific organisation. If you are supporting a global user base, it is important to mark the app as globally available when submitting through App Store Connect.