iOS 17.5 empowers EU iPhone users with direct app downloads from websites

Apple’s upcoming iOS 17.5 update, which is currently in beta testing, will bring a significant change for iPhone users residing in the European Union.

The update will allow users to download apps directly from developer websites rather than going through the App Store, thanks to a new feature known as “Web Distribution.”

iOS 17

With iOS 17.5 EU users will have more freedom in how they acquire apps

For years, iPhone users have been limited to downloading apps through the tightly controlled App Store. This has given Apple immense power over app discovery, distribution, and in-app purchases.

App Store

However, the EU’s Digital Markets Act is a game changer that will bring significant changes to the tech industry. This legislation aims to prevent large tech companies from acting as gatekeepers and stifling competition.

The European Union is renowned for its stringent regulations concerning fair competition and consumer rights, and it has been leading the way in advocating for greater transparency and choice in digital ecosystems.

Antitrust investigations and legal battles have underscored the urgent need for alternative avenues for app distribution, forcing Apple to reassess its policies and adapt to regulatory demands.

As a result, iOS 17.5 introduces a new feature called “Web Distribution” for iPhone users in the EU. This allows developers to distribute their apps directly through their websites, offering users an alternative way to acquire software.

What developers need to know

Not all developers can just start offering app downloads on their websites. Apple has established some criteria that developers must meet to participate in Web Distribution:

  • Membership Tenure: Developers need to be members of the Apple Developer Program for a minimum of two continuous years.
  • Proven Track Record: They must have at least one app with over one million first installs on EU iPhones in the preceding year.

These requirements ensure a level of experience and an established user base for apps offered outside the App Store.

Benefits and considerations for users

With iOS 17.5, EU iPhone users will now have more freedom in how they acquire apps. They can browse developer websites, potentially discover niche apps that wouldn’t be available on the App Store, and avoid the App Store’s mandatory 30% commission on in-app purchases (though developers might implement their payment systems).

Enhanced privacy and security

While empowering users with the ability to download apps from websites introduces new possibilities, it also raises concerns regarding privacy and security.

Apple has reaffirmed its commitment to safeguarding user data and maintaining stringent security protocols, ensuring that apps distributed through this method undergo rigorous scrutiny to mitigate potential risks.

(Via MacRumors)

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