iPhone users in the EU next year will be able to download apps hosted outside of Apple’s official App Store to comply with European regulations, according to BloombergIt’s Mark Gurman.
Also known as sideloading, the change coming sometime in the first half of 2024 will allow customers to download apps without using the App Store, meaning developers won’t have to pay the 15-30 fees. percent of Apple.
In the latest subscriber edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman said Apple will introduce a “highly controlled system” that will allow EU users to install apps hosted elsewhere. Apple will also reportedly tweak Messages and Paid Apps as part of the changes, likely via a localized iOS 17 update.
Gurman’s update contradicts a recent report that suggested the download could arrive with Apple’s iOS 17.2 software update, which is expected to roll out next month. The report confused with the download of some new code having to do with an upcoming framework for organizations to distribute apps to employees.
The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which came into force on November 1, 2022, requires “gatekeeper” companies to open their services and platforms to other companies and developers.
The DMA will have a big impact on Apple’s platforms and could result in Apple making major changes to the App Store, Messages, FaceTime, Siri, and more.
Apple has claimed that the download will “undermine the privacy and security protections” that iPhone users rely on, leaving people vulnerable to malware, scams, data tracking and other issues. Regardless of its stance, Apple must comply with the DMA or risk fines of up to 20 percent of its global revenue if EU laws are violated.
In a December 2022 report, Gurman said Apple was considering implementing security requirements such as verification, a process for which it could charge a fee instead of collecting money for app sales. Apple has a verification system on Mac that allows users to stay safe while also giving them access to apps outside of the Mac App Store.
If other countries introduce similar legislation, alternative app stores may expand beyond the European Union. The United States, for example, is considering legislation that would require Apple to allow downloading.