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The iPhone Is Getting Sideloaded App/App Stores In The EU And The Epic Game Store Is Already Coming Over

Things are getting interesting!

Apple has announced some massive changes to the app store in the EU to comply with the Digital Markets Act.

With the release of iOS 17.4, developers will be able to sideload their own app stores and apps through means outside of the app store for the first time, which obviously Apple is saying will open up the devices to malware, fraud and scams, although they’re doing everything they can to still avoid this.

The changes include:

  • New options for distributing iOS apps from alternative app marketplaces — including new APIs and tools that enable developers to offer their iOS apps for download from alternative app marketplaces.
  • New framework and APIs for creating alternative app marketplaces — enabling marketplace developers to install apps and manage updates on behalf of other developers from their dedicated marketplace app.
  • New frameworks and APIs for alternative browser engines — enabling developers to use browser engines, other than WebKit, for browser apps and apps with in-app browsing experiences.
  • Interoperability request form — where developers can submit additional requests for interoperability with iPhone and iOS hardware and software features.

This also includes allowing developers to take payments outside of apps, which is notoriously what got Apple and Epic into the spat that they are currently in where Fortnite was removed from the app store.

Epic and Tim Sweeney have been one of the most vocal about the app store and they were very quick to announce that the Epic Game Store would launch in Europe and that would obviously allow Fortnite to return to the platform as well, but no doubt other app stores/developers will be doing the same in hopes that this comes to other parts of the world as well.

In addition to this, Apple is also changing the way browsers work in iOS. Whilst previously, you could set another browser as default, the pop-up will now appear the first time you open Safari ensuring that people are aware that they have a choice to choose another browser.

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It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the rest of the world. It’s hard to imagine that this won’t force other markets to put that same pressure on Apple, and they’ll likely bring it to other regions, but no doubt they’ll want to test it in that smaller EU market and see how it goes.