This Week's Sponsor:


If a device isn’t secure it can’t access your apps. Device Trust for Okta. Watch the demo today!

Apple Patents A Way To Easily Share iOS Apps & Demos

What’s great about the App Store is that it allows for a one-click purchase experience that makes it easy to download apps. Users can browse the App Store on their Macs, PCs, iPhones and iPads, check on new releases and apps they’ve been keeping an eye on, tap a button and download an app. For free apps and those sold at $.99 , it can become quite an addiction.

The App Store, though, doesn’t allow you to share apps with your friends as easily as it lets you buy them. Sure, there’s the possibility to share apps on Twitter and Facebook from iTunes – but that’s not really the best way to let your friends know about a specific app sold in the App Store, nor does it enable you to provide one of your friends an actual copy of the app.

Apps can’t be shared, and a new patent Apple has been granted, published by Patently Apple, is aimed at fixing that.

The patent, published on December 9th, showcases a way to share a fully functional app, a demo version or information about an app with one of your friends through mobile devices. According to the patent, a user will be able to select an app and send it to a “receiver” with just one tap. The app can be an actual copy the other user can run on his device, a limited demo version or a bunch of information with a link back to the app on Apple’s store.

After Aaron selects the application to share, Aaron’s iPhone retrieves sharing preferences from the selected application. If the selected application does not include any specified sharing preferences, the device could select or generate a default preference, such as a preference to not share the application. The application could have preferences that allow sharing fully functional copies of the application. In other cases, the application preferences allow sharing only a limited functionality demo copy, a fully functional copy that expires after a certain period of time, or an application seed that uniquely identifies the application on a server.

As you can guess, this transfer system would communicate with Apple’s servers to identify the users through their Apple ID and sends data back to Apple about the successful sharing process. The “sender” – always according to the patent – can be granted a “bonus” for sharing an app with a friend, such as iTunes credit, free apps or coupon codes.

The patent goes really in-depth and provides lots of additional information about the system designed by Apple which, sadly, we’ll likely never see. At least not in the next few months. It’s great, though, that Apple has been thinking about this – we think it would make for an impressive “Ping for apps”, or something like that.

Just think about sharing games with your friends. That would be huge.

Unlock More with Club MacStories

Founded in 2015, Club MacStories has delivered exclusive content every week for over six years.

In that time, members have enjoyed nearly 400 weekly and monthly newsletters packed with more of your favorite MacStories writing as well as Club-only podcasts, eBooks, discounts on apps, icons, and services. Join today, and you’ll get everything new that we publish every week, plus access to our entire archive of back issues and downloadable perks.

The Club expanded in 2021 with Club MacStories+ and Club Premier. Club MacStories+ members enjoy even more exclusive stories, a vibrant Discord community, a rotating roster of app discounts, and more. And, with Club Premier, you get everything we offer at every Club level plus an extended, ad-free version of our podcast AppStories that is delivered early each week in high-bitrate audio.

Choose the Club plan that’s right for you:

  • Club MacStories: Weekly and monthly newsletters via email and the web that are brimming with app collections, tips, automation workflows, longform writing, a Club-only podcast, periodic giveaways, and more;
  • Club MacStories+: Everything that Club MacStories offers, plus exclusive content like Federico’s Automation Academy and John’s Macintosh Desktop Experience, a powerful web app for searching and exploring over 6 years of content and creating custom RSS feeds of Club content, an active Discord community, and a rotating collection of discounts, and more;
  • Club Premier: Everything in from our other plans and AppStories+, an extended version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered early, ad-free, and in high-bitrate audio.