EU iPhone Users Will Be Allowed to Download Apps Directly from Websites Soon

Apple App Store
In Short
  • Apple is allowing developers to offer their iOS apps for download directly from the website.
  • Later this spring, Apple will launch a new “Web Distribution” feature via a software update that allows developers to distribute their iOS apps from their own website.
  • Developers have to meet certain eligibility criteria and pay the Core Technology Fee.

Recently, Apple has been making some big changes to its core platforms to comply with the European Union’s DMA (Digital Markets Act). With the iOS 17.4 update released last week, Apple made some notable changes to its iPhones and App Store guidelines. This includes support for sideloading on iPhones and alternative payment methods for EU users.

Now, Apple is on its way to making further changes in response to feedback received from developers so far. The most notable change is allowing developers to offer their iOS apps for download directly from the website. For this, Apple will launch a new Web Distribution feature via a software update, later this spring.

App Store Logo

Well, this seems to be one of the most significant DMA-inspired changes yet. As long as the developers are willing to adhere to Apple’s strict guidelines, they can distribute iOS apps in EU markets without the need for a separate app store.

Additionally, there are some other changes that will help developers distribute iOS apps in the EU region.

App Marketplace Changes

Apple announced some sweeping changes to its App Store guidelines earlier this year. Previously, the app marketplace operators had to allow submissions from other developers. But now, Apple says that app marketplaces can choose to offer a catalog of apps solely from the developer of that marketplace. With this immediate change, a company gets the complete freedom to operate an app marketplace and offer its iOS apps for download.

Distribution of Apps From Websites

Developers also have the option to ditch the app marketplace route entirely. As mentioned above, Apple will launch a new “Web Distribution” feature via a software update that allows developers to distribute their iOS apps from their own website. Now, this means rather than going to the App Store or an alternative marketplace, iPhone users in the EU can go to a developer’s website and download an app.

Of course, Apple won’t offer such massive changes for free. If developers want to use the “Web Distribution” feature, they will have to agree to the new App Store business terms. Now, that means, a new commission rate would come into effect for these developers. They will pay the Core Technology Fee of €0.50 for every first annual installation of over one million installs.

Apple Core Technology Fee
Image Courtesy: Apple

Also, the apps have to still meet Apple’s notarization guidelines to protect the platform’s integrity. iPhone users can install apps from a website domain that’s registered in App Store Connect.

“Using App Store Connect, developers can easily download signed binary assets and host them on their website for distribution. To install apps from a developer’s website, users will first need to approve the developer to install apps in Settings on their iPhone. When installing an app, a system sheet will display information that developers have submitted to Apple for review, like the app name, developer name, app description, screenshots, and system age rating.”- Apple

To distribute apps via a website, developers have to meet certain eligibility criteria.

  • Be enrolled in the Apple Developer Program as an organization incorporated, domiciled, and or registered in the EU. The location associated with your legal entity is listed in your Apple Developer account.
  • Be a member of good standing in the Apple Developer Program for two continuous years or more, and have an app that had more than one million first annual installs on iOS in the EU in the prior calendar year.
  • Only offer apps from the developer account.

These are some of the conditions. The Cupertino tech giant has explained all the requirements, fees, waivers, and more in a separate document.

Linking Out

Finally, Apple is also changing its strict guidelines around how they can link to an external webpage to complete transactions. Apple now allows developers to choose “how to design promotions, discounts, and other deals”. This means Apple’s own templates and guidelines are now optional, rather than being forced on the developers. This change is also effective immediately.

Of course, just like other changes, the new iOS app distribution policies are only for app developers in the EU. Also, only users in the EU can enjoy this newly-given freedom. Other developers and users still have to go through Apple’s official App Store.

Well, it’s good to see Apple finally pushing its boundaries and taking a more flexible approach, even if it’s for the sake of escaping a lawsuit. While it doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon, we hope Apple extends these liberties across the globe for its loyal fanbase.

Amongst other changes due to EU’s tech guidelines, Apple is also preparing to allow iPhone users in the EU to uninstall Safari entirely and switch to a third-party web browser.

comment Comments 0
Leave a Reply