Unpublished app deprecation frequently asked questions

An unpublished app was a type of public app that could be installed by one or more merchants. Unpublished apps had the same functionality as other public apps, but weren't required to be reviewed and approved by Shopify to ensure quality and security. Unpublished apps couldn't be created as of December 9, 2019.

Why is Shopify deprecating unpublished apps?

In the interest of merchant trust and security, we require all unpublished apps to be reviewed by the Shopify App Store review team and updated to meet the requirements for either public or custom apps. Public app requirements ensure that Shopify apps provide the best experience across the app lifecycle including branding, installation, onboarding, functionality, and quality.

What steps have been taken so far?

On October 18, 2023, Shopify started reviewing unpublished apps and taking the following steps to ensure that merchants continue to have a safe, simple, and personalized app experience:

  • Apps with zero installs on an active store have had their API access revoked. Instead, you can create new apps for testing on development stores. Test apps in development stores appear as merchant installations in the Partner Dashboard. We are working to make this badging more clear. If you believe any action was taken in error, then reach out to Shopify Support directly by using your Partner Dashboard.
  • Apps installed on one active store or multiple stores in a single organization, can no longer be installed. You'll be notified in the coming months about converting unpublished apps to custom apps. Existing installations won't be affected.
  • Apps installed on active stores in two or more organizations must be submitted for review or sunset. If no action is taken by January 15, 2024 you will receive a notice that API access will be removed, and the apps will be uninstalled from any merchant stores within 30 days. Shopify will provide additional support to minimize partner and merchant impact.

If you believe that any action was taken in error, or have additional concerns, then reach out to Shopify Support directly by using your Shopify Partner Dashboard.

How long do I have to submit my app for review?

Apps that are installed on stores in two organizations or more must be submitted for review or sunset. If no action has been taken by January 15, 2024, then you'll receive a 30-day notice that the app's API access will be revoked and it will be uninstalled from merchant stores. Shopify will provide additional support to minimize Partner and merchant impact.

Will existing merchants with my app installed be impacted?

Existing merchants with your app installed will not be immediately impacted. However, apps installed on stores in two organizations or more that haven't been submitted for review or sunset by Jan 15, 2024 will start getting their API access revoked and be uninstalled from all merchant stores. You will be notified 30 days prior to any changes being made, and Shopify will provide additional support to minimize Partner and merchant impact.

What can I do to ensure that there’s no disruption to merchants who have my app installed?

Create an app listing and submit your app for review. You can set the visibility of your public app to listed or unlisted.

Do existing merchants need to take any action after my app becomes Public?

No, merchants won't need to reinstall or re-accept OAuth permissions after your app has been reviewed and approved.

I received an email that my unpublished app is being deprecated, but I have already deleted that app.

Some developers might have been contacted about previously deleted apps. No further action is required if your app has already been deleted.

I received an email that my unpublished app is not compliant, but the app name is not listed.

You might have received a communication including Unknown App Name or Unnamed App. This is because the app(s) in question did not have a title identifier when originally created.

In your Partner Dashboard in Apps, you can see which apps are unpublished. If you need help confirming which of your apps are impacted, then contact Partner Support.

How does this change impact unpublished apps that developers use as a staging environment?

Unpublished apps used as staging environments that are not installs on an active store will need to be rebuilt as draft apps. For more information, refer to the best practice for testing your app.

Does my app need to be discoverable in the Shopify App Store?

You can choose to make your app unlisted by changing your app’s visibility at in the Shopify App Store at any time.

Controlling access to your app varies based on the app type you choose. For example, you can set the visibility of you public app to unlisted, to allow select merchants to install your app without it being discoverable by others.

Can I sunset my own app?

Yes, as long as this is started before our review. For information about best practice, refer to sunsetting your apps.

My dashboard shows that I have merchant installs. Why is my app being deprecated?

Our Partner Dashboard includes affiliate and test stores in its merchant install count. This is currently being revised and will be fixed in a future update. Apps that are being deprecated have zero active merchant installs.

What resources are available to app developers to support this transition?

The following resources can help you transition an unpublished app to published: