Apple gives developers the ability to distribute custom apps to schools


Apple devices are now even more useful in schools.
Photo: Apple

Apple School Manager now gives developers the ability to distribute custom apps to schools for the first time.

The change will allow app-makers to better meet the individual needs of educational institutions, Apple said. It paves the way for new software that offers specific functionality for certain organizations.

Apple School Manager is a platform that schools can use to manage their Apple devices, apps, and accounts. It’s web-based so it’s easily accessible, and it supports iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac, and Apple TV.

The system allows schools to purchase apps in volume so that they can be used by multiple students and teachers. Until this week, however, they only had access to software already in the App Store.

That’s no longer the case.

Schools can now obtain custom apps

A big School Manager update, rolled out on Thursday, comes with a couple of important new features. One gives schools the ability to distribute their own apps for internal use for the first time.

The other gives third-party developers the ability to privately distribute custom apps to schools. This means schools can commission their own software, complete with all the features they need.

Apps can be built with a custom look and feel specific to each school, and with special configurations or security features to suit certain IT environments. It’s a big win for educational institutions.

Developers can make custom apps available to schools within App Store Connect — the same platform they use to submit apps to the App Store. They must sign a Paid Applications Agreement first if they want to assign apps to specific organizations, however.

More information is available in Apple’s Developer portal, where there is an updated article on distributing apps on Apple School Manager.