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Apple on Thursday announced an upgrade to Apple School Manager that allows developers to better serve educational institutions through the distribution of customized apps.
Announced in a post to Apple's developer portal, the new feature enables app makers to create and privately distribute custom apps to one or more organizations through the company's Apple School Manager platform. The capability allows developers to fulfill the needs of individual institutions, Apple says.
"You can offer a tailored look and feel, specific functionality for a process or workflow, special configuration for IT environments, security features for company data, and custom features for partners, clients, dealers, franchises, or employees," Apple explains.
Schools can also use the feature to distribute their own apps for internal use.
Once an app is completed, devs are able to authorize downloads by target organizations in App Store Connect. Selected schools are granted access to the app through Apple Business Manger or Apple School Manager and can distribute the software via Mobile Device Management or via redemption code.
Apple notes developers will need to fill out a Paid Applications Agreement if they want to make an app available only to specific organizations. This rule applies to both paid and free apps.
Apple School Manager debuted in beta form in 2016. The website, styled after Apple's business app distribution platform, acts as a central hub for educational administrators tasked with managing large-scale mobile device ecosystems. School Manager provides tools for creating and monitoring Managed Apple IDs, managing MDM enrollment, buying and distributing apps and e-books, building custom courses and more.