How do I implement deferred deep linking in an iOS app?


I want to implement deferred deep linking in my iOS app as a means of tracking referrals. When a user of my app wants to refer a friend, I’ll generate a URL that has a unique referral code. When the other person receives the link and opens it, I want it to take them to my app’s page in the App Store. Then if they install my app, when it first opens, I need a way for it to read the referral code from the original URL.

I’ve found may pages about deferred deep linking on the web but none that really explain how to do it. Instead, these pages all end up telling you to install some third-party code or use some commercial service. This isn’t what I’m after. I want to learn how to do this myself.

There are lots of old pages out there that recommend convoluted and error-prone solutions, like tracking the user’s IP address, putting the referral code into the clipboard, or somehow obtaining it from a cookie in a web view. I don’t think these are the correct solutions to be using in 2022.

If anyone can recommend the appropriate resource, I’d appreciate it.

If it is the case that Apple simply doesn’t want us to do this and doesn’t provide any support for it, then I’d like to know that too. I was under the impression that they did, but maybe I’m wrong.