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Apple iOS 17.4: Opening Doors to Alternative App Marketplaces in the EU

Big Changes for iPhone Users in the European Union as Apple Complies with Digital Markets Act

NEWS  Apple  January 26, 2024  Reading time: 2 Minute(s)

mdo Max (RS editor)

Apple is set to release the first beta of iOS 17.4, bringing substantial changes to the iPhone, the App Store, and more specifically for users within the European Union. These changes are in response to the looming March 7 deadline for Apple to comply with the Digital Markets Act in the EU, emphasizing the tech giant's commitment to regulatory adherence and user protection.


Opening Doors to Alternative App Marketplaces

A key highlight of iOS 17.4 is Apple's decision to open the iPhone to what it terms "alternative app marketplaces". This marks a historic shift as Apple allows developers to offer their iOS apps for download from alternative sources, fostering competition and protecting intellectual property.

Notarization: A Pillar of Security

To ensure the integrity and security of apps, Apple has introduced a meticulous notarization process. Regardless of the distribution source, every app must meet stringent requirements, including accuracy, functionality, safety, security, and privacy. This notarization process aims to provide users with a secure and reliable app experience while preventing potential harm and maintaining privacy standards.

Empowering Developers

Developers of alternative app marketplaces are entrusted with meeting ongoing requirements to safeguard users and developers. Apple offers authorized marketplace developers access to new frameworks and APIs, facilitating the secure retrieval of notarized apps. The integration of App Store Connect distribution tools empowers developers to notify users of app updates, ensuring continuous improvement of functionality.


apple store

Zero Commission Outside the App Store

Apple's generosity extends beyond the opening of the iPhone to third-party app stores. For apps distributed outside the App Store, Apple will impose a 0% commission, providing developers with greater flexibility and potentially reducing costs for both developers and consumers.

Core Technology Fee and User Customization

However, there's a catch for alternative app marketplaces. Developers are required to pay a new Core Technology Fee of €0.50 per annual install for the download of the alternative app store itself. Meanwhile, users gain the ability to customize and manage their allowed marketplace developers and apps, offering a personalized experience within the device's settings.

Enhanced User Control and Transparency

iOS 17.4 introduces an improved app installation experience, enabling users to authorize installations and gain insights into apps and alternative app marketplaces. A new system sheet displays vital information submitted by developers, including app name, developer name, app description, screenshots, and system age rating, enhancing transparency for users.


Managing Default Marketplaces

To further enhance user control, Apple allows users to manage their default marketplace. Certain platform features, like Spotlight, are integrated with the user's default marketplace, streamlining the app-finding process. The default setting also ensures that app installation sheets are automatically turned off for installations from the user's default marketplace.



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