Understanding The Difference Between Shopify Private and Public Apps

Before diving into making a final choice. What is vital between focusing on the features or the architecture of Shopify apps?

If you need a smooth, solid tech fix that can help you improve your Shopify functionality, choosing between public or private apps will be a hassle. So, you must know what Private and Public Shopify Apps mean and how different they are from each other. 

There are hundreds of apps developed by different developers to help you manage content, merchandise, customers, social media, and more. Even after you know the exact app that can perform your tasks, how do you choose the correct app for your Shopify store?

However, knowing the differences and definitions of various apps such as private and public can help you to evaluate those apps that will integrate best in your store. Moreover, it also gives you the performance and flexibility you need.

Private Shopify Apps Overview

Private Shopify apps are those built exclusively to use on your Shopify store. Public Shopify apps, on the other hand, have been built to work on other stores. Choosing private Shopify apps allows you to add store-specific features to extend your online store, or access the store’s data directly with Shopify’s APIs.

Private Apps Have Different Uses, Such As:

  • They can integrate your store’s data using a custom solution when using to manage products, orders, or inventory.
  • You can migrate your data from other solutions like Magento, Woo-Commerce, Salesforce, and more.
  • You can display your store products and allow users to purchase from your other platforms like websites, apps etc.

These types of apps are custom projects that have been designed specifically for only one store.

  • Private apps, can streamline the functionality of your store and then automate processes depending on specific needs and systems. This is, therefore, a great deal to most stores and especially those having multiple apps that support your business.
  • Private apps can be trusted. Your trusted developer with your specifications will develop these apps. So you can have faith with a high-quality developer.

These apps are not available in the Shopify app marketplace so, not everyone can use them on their store. Only those who are having access to your store can use the private apps. To connect them, you use your store’s private app section found at the admin panel. You can also create a private app by going to the Shopify partner dashboard and selecting private/custom app.

Public Shopify Apps Overview

Public Shopify apps interact with Shopify’s API in multiple stores. These apps are created and authenticated from the Partner’s Dashboard. You can create a public app there, generate credentials, set rules, and can then use it in implementing OAuth.

These types of apps are those that Shopify merchants will recognize. These apps are verified by Shopify and then are made available in the Shopify app marketplace. There may be costs associated depending on how frequently people wish to pay e.g monthly or yearly fees which vary from app to app.

There are a few standards set by Shopify for creating a public app. If a developer submits the app to Shopify’s team for evaluation, they verify it against the rules set by them. Once they approve the app, it gets displayed in Shopify app store for stores you install and use. The drawback of these apps is, since they are made for the public it is difficult to customize each and every public app as per your need. The code is hosted on the cloud and you don’t have access to it, so customization becomes difficult. Also, you have to depend on the app created for any sort of issue fix or customization as only they can access the codebase.

Moreover, everyone can access these types of apps. That is because they have been made so that they can work with various stores. After they have been posted on the Shopify app store, they can be accessed by all.

Differences Between Private And Public Shopify Apps

Difference Between Shopify Private and Public Apps

There are differences between private and public Shopify apps. Here are the differences:

  • Private apps are store specific and can be built only for a particular store. They include some specific requirements that are only for that particular store. Public apps, on the other hand, are those that are developed to be distributed, so that anyone can use them.
  • Another difference is that for private Shopify apps, they don’t have to pass Shopify’s app approval process. The public apps, on the other hand, should be accessed and done thorough processing before being approved for use in the Shopify store.
  • If you’re a private Shopify app developer, you don’t sell the apps in the Shopify store. So, as a user, you won’t have to buy private apps for your Shopify store. However, for public Shopify apps, they are allowed to be sold in the app store.
  • The other difference is that the private apps are created and have to be managed via the merchant’s Shopify admin or in partner’s dashboard under private/custom app section. However, for public Shopify apps, on the other hand, it will be created and then managed from the partner’s Dashboard.

The Final Thought

The choice is always yours to decide which type of app you need. If your goal for creating an app is just related to a single store, then you should opt for the private app route and if it’s intended for general usage by others, create a public application instead. As an innovator in this space, consider signing up with Shopify as a partner developer and develop apps—either private or public ones­—that make use not only of core Shopify APIs but also access its full suite such as Embedded SDKs.

Ultimately whatever technology stack is used does not really matter since all these have been built using official Shopify API’s making them universally accessible on any platform that supports those essential APIs available from their marketplace storefront – regardless of whether they are coded in PHP, Ruby, Python, etc.

In short when building applications meant purely dedicated features, therefore, architecture matters less while the emphasis must strictly be kept around more engaging functionalities that can draw users’ attention instantly- convenience at least adding the most beautiful possible user interface could make difference here!


Q: What is a Shopify Private App?

A: Shopify Private App is an app that is built specifically for a single Shopify store. These apps are not available to the general public and can only be accessed by the store owner and authorized staff.

Q: What is a Public App in Shopify?

A: Shopify Public App is an app that is made available to all Shopify store owners through the Shopify App Store. These apps can be accessed and installed by any Shopify store owner, and they must meet certain guidelines and requirements set by Shopify.

Q: What is the main difference between Shopify Private and Public Apps?

A: The main difference between Shopify Private and Public Apps is their availability. Private Apps are only accessible to a single store, while Public Apps can be installed by any Shopify store owner.

Q: Can We list Private Apps on Shopify App Store?

A: No, Private Apps cannot be listed in the Shopify App Store. They are built specifically for a single store and are not intended for use by other store owners.

Q: Can Public Apps be customized for individual stores?

A: Yes, Public Apps can be customized for individual stores through the use of API keys and webhooks. This allows the app to interact with the specific store’s data and provide a more personalized experience.

Q: Is there any restriction on the functionality of Private Apps?

A: No, there are no restrictions on the functionality of Private Apps. Since they are built specifically for a single store, they can have full access to that store’s data and can perform any function that the store owner authorizes.

Q: Is there any restriction on the functionality of Public Apps?

A: Yes, there are some restrictions on the functionality of Public Apps. Shopify sets certain guidelines and requirements that apps must follow in order to be listed in the App Store, and there are limits on the amount of data that the app can access from the store.

Q: What is the difference between listed and unlisted apps on Shopify?

A: A listed app is an app that is publicly available on the Shopify App Store. This means that any Shopify store owner can discover and install the app on their store.

An unlisted app is an app that is not publicly available on the Shopify App Store. Unlisted apps can only be accessed by the store owner and authorized staff members. These apps can be built for a specific store or used for testing and development purposes.

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