Sideloading coming to iPhone, but there will be new fees and restrictions

In response to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) set to take effect by March 7, Apple is gearing up to implement changes that will allow sideloading outside its App Store.

This move comes after the EU enforced legislation allowing users to download apps to their devices without relying on the App Store. Despite the shift in policy, Apple is planning to maintain control by introducing new fees and restrictions for apps downloaded from external sources.

App Store sideloading

iOS 17.4 could enable sideloading for users, Apple will likely introduce caveats to protect its ecosystem

Apple initially reduced commissions to 27% following a court ruling allowing app developers to point to their own payment options via the web. Now, reports suggest that Apple is considering a similar approach for apps downloaded outside the App Store. This move is seen as an attempt to continue taking a commission on in-app purchases and other sales, even for apps discovered and installed from external websites.

The DMA aims to level the playing field between tech giants like Apple and businesses wanting to conduct operations on their platforms. While Apple has expressed concerns about potential security risks, the legislation will enable users to download apps directly to their devices without going through the App Store. This significant change will reshape how iOS apps are discovered, marketed, and accessed.

iOS App Store - Apple

As Apple plans to introduce new fees and restrictions for sideloading, several tech companies, including Microsoft, Meta, and Spotify, are exploring ways to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the new legislation. However, Apple’s intentions to maintain oversight and collect fees from developers could pose challenges for companies seeking to operate independently of the App Store.

With the deadline to comply with the EU regulations approaching, Apple is expected to make changes with the release of iOS 17.4. The tech giant will likely implement restrictions and fees for app sideloading, aligning with its strategy in the United States, where developers can offer alternative payment options but are still subject to a fee and specific guidelines.

(via The Wall Street Journal)

About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

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