Apple Allows iOS App Downloads Direct from Websites in the EU


Apple has announced that it will soon allow some developers to offer iOS apps for direct download from their websites in EU countries.


This new option will provide developers with an alternative way to distribute iOS apps without needing to use the App Store or third-party app stores.

Apple Allows iOS App Downloads Direct from Websites in the EU

Apple Allow iOS App Downloads Direct from Websites in the EU

Key Details:

  • The new web distribution feature will launch in a software update from Apple “later this spring”.
  • It will only be available to developers who meet certain criteria set by Apple. Mainly larger developers with over 1 million iOS installs per year.
  • Developers must be registered iOS developers with Apple and have a good standing account for 2+ years.
  • Apps must still meet Apple’s security requirements like notarization.
  • Users will need to manually enable a developer in iOS settings before installing their web apps.
  • Apple will still take a commission on downloads over 1 million per year.

Apple’s Strict Rules

While this provides more options for distributing iOS apps, Apple is still keeping tight control:

  • Developers need to be registered business entities in the EU.
  • Only apps belonging to the developer’s account can be offered.
  • Developers must be responsive to Apple about issues with their apps.
  • Apps must follow laws like GDPR data protections.
  • Developers handle app takedown requests themselves.
  • The 1 million installs per year criteria will limit availability to larger developers.

What It Means for Users?

For iPhone users in the EU, this means:

  • More options to get iOS apps outside the App Store.
  • A new way to download apps directly from developer’s sites.
  • Extra steps are needed to enable and install web-distributed apps initially.
  • Potentially cheaper apps without App Store commissions.

What It Means for Developers?

For iOS developers, this provides:

  • An App Store alternative for EU distribution.
  • Avoiding commissions on under 1 million installs per year.
  • More control over the distribution and pricing of apps.
  • Still need to follow Apple’s guidelines and app review.

Response to EU Regulations

This move appears to be Apple complying with EU regulations while still maintaining control:

  • Allows app installs outside the App Store to satisfy EU rules.
  • Restrictions limit availability to only larger developers.
  • Commissions still apply to popular apps.
  • Web apps must adhere to App Store quality requirements.

Epic Games Impact

It is unclear if Epic Games will qualify to use web distribution with its ongoing feud with Apple. Criteria that may exclude Epic include:

  • Needing a developer account in good standing.
  • Requiring 2+ years of good behavior.
  • Only offering apps belonging to the developer.

This could prevent Epic from launching its planned iOS game store over the web for now.


The Future

How widely adopted iOS web distribution will depend on:

  • If Apple expands availability beyond only big developers.
  • How difficult the additional steps are for users.
  • How many developers view it as worthwhile?

For now, it provides an alternative, but still controlled by Apple, way to get iOS apps in the EU.

Its success will likely depend on whether Apple scales back restrictions over time in response to developer and user feedback.



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