I have an app available on the App Store and regardless of the reason, I want it to be "Sold out" for the next month while still having the ability to release updates.

Is this possible and if yes, what’s the best way to go about this?

I am considering changing the price of the app to the max tier and writing "Sold out, restocking on xx.xx.xxxx" in the promotional text.

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    This screams of an XY problem. I would seriously think about making a question that includes your real problem with the reasoning behind it. – MiniRagnarok Nov 1 at 13:05
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    Regardless of platform and purpose, "Sold out" and "restocking" are terms which are non-existent in the digital services market. What did you sell out of, electrons? Maybe if your app was at max server capacity and you provided a tangible number such as "100,000 users reached, registration has been suspended until further notice" would be somewhat plausible but even that is nonsense. Continuous delivery and pre-planning for expansion is the name of this digital game so tread lightly with your faux messages because users have other choices available to them. – MonkeyZeus Nov 1 at 13:10
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    @MonkeyZeus: plenty of ones, but fresh out of zeros. Try again tomorrow! – Paul D. Waite Nov 1 at 14:21
up vote 22 down vote accepted

I want it to be "Sold out" for the next month while still having the ability to release updates.

There is no such provision available on the App Store, hosting the app while users can’t purchase/install it. Most likely explanation would be that it interferes with the overall UX and has the potential of causing confusion.

I am considering changing the price of the app to the max tier and writing "Sold out, restocking on xx.xx.xxxx" in the promotional text.

Hiking the price temporarily would not be an advisable approach. It will likely bring negative publicity to the app. This approach (especially with regard to the promotional text) could also cause the app update to get rejected.

If you would like to control when the app update gets released on the App Store, you can choose to manually release instead of automatically release when approved when submitting the app update.

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    I appreciate the response. I'll leave the question up for a day before marking this as the accepted answer to see if anyone else has an idea as to what I can do. – Swift Geek Nov 1 at 12:12
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    @SwiftGeek As MiniRagnarok noted in the comments to the question above, it would probably help to edit the question and add details about what you're actually trying to do, for which marking the app "sold out" is your proposed solution. There may be a much simpler and more elegant solution available, but without knowing the actual problem, we may never know to suggest it. – Steve-O Nov 1 at 13:51
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    this could also be a ploy to generate more sales. Tell the public this app is so popular that it's sold out. Then raise the price due to its popularity. But as has been pointed out already not a believable ploy for digital sales. – jmh Nov 2 at 1:11
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    I'm curious if it'd be possible to region-lock the app to the whole world? – ChatterOne Nov 2 at 10:19
  • @ChatterOne What do you mean by that? – Nimesh Neema Nov 2 at 10:27

Since you won't say why you want to do this, I must assume you are running a cloud service that has reached its capacity. Congratulations on your newfound popularity!

While you work on improving your backend, I recommend that you write some logic into your app that will show the user a friendly specialized screen whenever your servers are at- or over-capacity, letting them know that they did nothing wrong and your service will be back soon. This way, they already have the app installed and can instantly start using it when you eventually get the problem solved.

This is better than saying "Sold Out" or "Out of Stock" on the App Store page. What does that imply? Does it mean that there was only ever a limited number, so no one else will ever get any? Does it mean the potential user should check back later? What if they forget to check back once you're back up and running?

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    Buying an app and then being a welcomed with a "sorry we're over capacity, you might be able to use us some other, unspecified time" seems like a guarantee to ruin your reputation. Assuming this is a free app, this is probably fine though. – Voo Nov 2 at 14:59
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    @Voo "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." Obviously the ideal answer is "Start out with better servers", but if you can't, the next best thing is to let your users clamor for your service while you get it up and running. In fact, Apple, Google, and other big companies do exactly this; they just call it beta testing, and the app screen says something like "You're in line for the beta" or "you need an invitation". – Ben Leggiero Nov 2 at 15:05

Apple doesn't support having an app appear in the app store unless it's available for download. "Sold out" or other terms meaning "it's listed but you can't get it right now" are not possible.

You could remove the app from sale but still release updates. In the "territories" section of App Store Connect, un-check every territory. That will remove it from sale and prevent it from appearing in the app store. However you can still update the app, and current users can still get updates.

But what it comes down to is, if you don't want people do download the app, you can't also have it appear in the store.

You probably don't have enough control over your app once it's in the AppStore. Compare with, say, Disney, which can simply turn off access to their streaming & download servers if they want to stop selling digital copies of a movie.

Since I doubt you want to pull your app off the AppStore and then re-submit it later on, you are pretty much stuck with Nimesh's suggestion.

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