iOS 17.5 beta 2 allows sideloading, only in EU

In a significant shift, Apple is loosening its control over app distribution in the EU with the rollout of iOS 17.5 beta 2. This update introduces sideloading, a feature long-demanded by developers and users alike. Sideloading allows users to download apps directly from developer websites, bypassing the traditional App Store. This move comes in response to the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which aims to promote competition and consumer choice in the digital market.

European Union - Apple

To ensure the security and integrity of the platform, Apple has outlined specific criteria for developers wishing to offer apps via web distribution. Developers must be enrolled in the Apple Developer Program for at least two years, have an app with over one million annual first-time installs in the EU, and comply with Apple’s notarization process. Additionally, developers are required to provide transparent data collection policies and offer customer support for apps distributed outside the App Store. Learn more about the criteria here.

Apps offered through Web Distribution must meet Notarization requirements to protect platform integrity, like all iOS apps, and can only be installed from a website domain that the developer has registered in App Store Connect.

Alongside app sideloading, iOS 17.5 introduces the Web Distribution feature, enabling authorized developers to distribute iOS apps directly from their websites. This feature provides developers with an alternative distribution channel while integrating with system functionality for a seamless user experience. Users can expect a familiar installation process, including permission prompts and Face ID authentication, to ensure the security of app installations.

iOS 17

While the introduction of app sideloading and web distribution represents a significant step forward, there are limitations and considerations to be aware of. Developers must adhere to Apple’s guidelines and pay the Core Technology Fee for installs exceeding one million. Furthermore, the availability of these features is currently limited to the EU, with no indication of expansion to other regions.

The Core Technology Fee (CTF) is an element of the business terms in the EU that reflects the value Apple provides developers through ongoing investments in the tools, technologies, and services that enable them to build and share innovative apps with users around the world.

  • Membership in the Apple Developer Program includes one million first annual installs per year for free for apps distributed from the App Store, alternative marketplaces, and/or Web Distribution.
  • Developers will pay a CTF of €0.50 for each first annual install over one million in the past 12 months.

While sideloading presents exciting possibilities for innovation and competition within the app ecosystem, it also necessitates a focus on security and user privacy. Apple’s adaptation to regulations like the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which ultimately led to the introduction of sideloading, exemplifies the ever-evolving landscape of the technology industr

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.

Leave a comment