Distributing software on macOS

Learn how the Mac App Store beautifully showcases your apps and makes them even easier to find, and how Developer ID and notarization make it safer for users to install apps that you distribute yourself.

Mac App Store

The Mac App Store makes it simple for customers to discover, purchase, and download your apps, and easily keep them updated. Organized around the specific things customers love to do on Mac, along with insightful stories, curated collections, and videos, the Mac App Store beautifully showcases your apps and makes them even easier to find.

Learn how to submit your apps

iPhone and iPad apps on Apple silicon Macs

The Mac App Store brings iPhone and iPad apps to Apple silicon Macs — so your apps can reach even more users worldwide. By default, your apps will be published automatically on the Mac App Store. Confirm that your apps gracefully handle cases where iPhone and iPad features are not available on Mac.

iPad apps that support modern technologies like keyboard input, multitasking, size classes, and SwiftUI will automatically inherit great macOS features like resizability and full screen mode.

Learn more

Web Extensions

Safari Web Extensions can add custom functionality to Safari 14 using the same WebExtensions API used in other browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. And with a new conversion tool in Xcode 12, you can quickly bring your existing extensions to Safari and make them available on the Mac App Store.

Learn more about web extensions

Outside the Mac App Store

While the Mac App Store is the safest place for users to get software for their Mac, you may choose to distribute your Mac apps in other ways. Gatekeeper on macOS helps protect users from downloading and installing malicious software by checking for a Developer ID certificate. Make sure to test your apps with the latest version of macOS and sign your apps, plug-ins, or installer packages to let Gatekeeper know they’re safe to install.

You can also give users even more confidence in your apps by submitting them to Apple to be notarized.

Learn more about Developer ID

Features and Requirements

Mac App Store Outside Mac App Store
App distribution Hosted by Apple Managed by developer
(with Developer ID)
App sandboxing Required Recommended
App Store services (in-app purchase and Game Center) Available Not available
Customer support for billing issues and app downloads Available Managed by developer
iPhone and iPad apps Available Not available
Marketing resources Available Managed by developer
Software updates Hosted by Apple Managed by developer
Volume purchasing and education pricing Managed by Apple Managed by developer
Web extensions Available Available
Worldwide payment processing Managed by Apple Managed by developer
64-bit Required Recommended