Intro to distributing in-house apps
iOS and iPadOS support wireless installation of custom in-house apps without using a Mac or the App Store. Apps must be in .ipa format and be built with an in-house provisioning profile. Wireless installation requires the following:
An XML manifest file
Use of HTTPS on the website from where the app is downloaded
A network configuration that lets devices access a server at Apple
To install the app users download the manifest file from your website using a special URL prefix. You can distribute the URL for downloading the manifest file by iMessage or a mail message, or by embedding it in another enterprise app you create.
It’s up to you to design and host the website used to distribute apps. Make sure that users are authenticated, perhaps using basic authentication or directory-based authentication, and that the website is accessible from your intranet or the Internet. You can place the app and manifest file in a hidden directory or in any location that’s readable using HTTPS.
Note: If you create a self-service portal, consider adding a Web clip to the user’s Home screen so it’s easy to direct them back to the portal for future information, such as new configuration profiles, recommended App Store apps, and allowing them to enroll in a mobile device management (MDM) solution.