What is a "managed" app in the AppExchange? - Answers - Salesforce Trailblazer Community
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Bill DolbyBill Dolby 

What is a "managed" app in the AppExchange?

Is anyone there?
Amanda SummersAmanda Summers
Packages come in two forms—unmanaged and managed:
Unmanaged packages
Unmanaged packages are typically used to distribute open-source projects or application templates to provide developers with the basic building blocks for an application. Once the components are installed from an unmanaged package, the components can be edited in the organization they are installed in. The developer who created and uploaded the unmanaged package has no control over the installed components, and can't change or upgrade them. Unmanaged packages should not be used to migrate components from a sandbox to production organization. Instead, see Change Sets.
Managed packages
Managed packages are typically used by salesforce.com partners to distribute and sell applications to customers. These packages must be created from a Developer Edition organization. Using the AppExchange and the License Management Application (LMA), developers can sell and manage user-based licenses to the app. Managed packages are also fully upgradeable. To ensure seamless upgrades, certain destructive changes, like removing objects or fields, can not be performed.
Managed packages also offer the following benefits:
  • Intellectual property protection for Apex
  • Built-in versioning support for API accessible components
  • The ability to branch and patch a previous version
  • The ability to seamlessly push patch updates to subscribers
  • Unique naming of all components to ensure conflict-free installs
The upside to managed apps is that they usually have fully thought out the processes and hopefully update the service.  The downside is that most of them cost and they block some customizations that you want to make for your org.