Official: Apple Introduces Sideloading on iPhones with iOS 17.4 in Europe

Sideloading on iphones official
In Short
  • Apple announces that sideloading is coming to iPhones in Europe with the release of iOS 17.4.
  • Apple has also slashed its commission charges and will now take 10-17% commissions from app developers as compared to 30%, which it previously charged.
  • Users in Europe will also be allowed to choose any third-party web browser as the default browser.

Today, Apple has announced that it is bringing changes to iOS, Safari, and App Store in the Europe region with the rollout of iOS 17.4 to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA). One of the most notable changes that Apple has introduced with iOS 17.4 is the ability to download apps from third-party app stores aka sideloading. Here are all the changes announced by Apple today.

Sideloading Arrives on iPhones with iOS 17.4

In a blog post, Apple announced that it is bringing new options for distributing iOS apps from alternative app stores in Europe. Developers can use new APIs and tools that will allow them to offer apps from third-party app stores or “alternative app marketplaces” as Apple refers to it. Third-party app stores will also be able to use new frameworks and APIs to install and manage app updates on behalf of developers hosting their apps on their platforms. Previously, it was reported that Apple would charge developers for sideloading apps.

However, in the recent announcement, Apple said that it would just charge a meager sum of €0.50 as a Core Technology Fee from developers for each first annual install per year over a 1 million threshold. This fee will be applicable to all iOS apps distributed from the App Store or any other third-party app store.

Reduced App Store Commissions

As Apple has found itself surrounded by antitrust lawsuits, in order to appease regulators, Apple has announced that it is reducing its commissions from 30% to 10% or 17% on transactions for digital goods and services. This step will surely boost the morale of developers who often accuse Apple of charging hefty commissions.

External Payment Options in App Store

After the court ruled that Apple would have to allow users to choose third-party payment options offered by app developers within the app, Apple is modifying its App Store guidelines for the same. Now, app developers will be allowed to process payments from within the app and without visiting the App Store. Moreover, app developers can also inform users in the EU of promotions, discounts, and deals that are available outside the app. Earlier, Apple prohibited developers from showing deals and offers on apps that would require users to visit any external website. Apple will not charge commissions on external payment systems.

Choice of Default Browser

Starting with iOS 17.4, Apple will allow users in Europe to choose a browser other than Safari as their default browser. Upon installing iOS 17.4, when users will open Safari, they will be presented with a choice screen that will allow them to choose the default browser from the list of options available.

While Apple has overhauled App Store guidelines and Safari to comply with DMA, it reiterates that Apple will now have less control over apps that can scam or abuse customers. It further mentions that apps that use browser engines other than Apple’s own WebKit might result in a negative user experience “including impacts to system performance and battery life“.

You can read in detail about all the changes coming to the App Store, sideloading in iOS 17, and new payment processing options at Apple’s blog post.

Apple is now rolling out iOS 17.4 beta to developers.

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