© Unsplash/James Yarema
We knew that the announcement was imminent: in a press release this Thursday, January 25, 2024, Apple announced changes to iOS, Safari and # 8217;App Store” from March of this year – in order to comply, in Europe, with the Digital Markets Act.
The European Union is requiring Apple to open up some of its systems to competition. Among them, the App Store – which until now had a total monopoly on installing apps on iPhone – was to allow the installation of applications by sideloading, that is to say carrying out these installations without going through the official store.
Apple says more about the sideloading of applications on iPhone
A possibility described practically as heresy by the firm which praises the increased security of its closed approach. But you'll have to get used to it, from iOS 17.4 these changes will be “live” in all activated iPhones in Europe. To “reduce the security risks introduced by the DMA”, Apple has planned safeguards. Concretely, to download an alternative application store, you will have to go to the latter's website.
For this first sideloading, Apple requires that the application be subject to strict controls. You can then authorize this application to install any application on your device. Even if the latter contravenes the regulations hitherto imposed by Apple on the App Store. It is also possible to define an alternative store as the default application store on your device.
The other revolution is to be found side of payments. Developers can either continue to use the in-app remuneration system planned by Apple, with its associated conditions (there is talk of fees lowered to 3% on alternative marketplaces). Or use an alternative payment system, without being accountable to the Cupertino company.
The choice of one or another payment system does not depend on the store. A developer on the App Store can, in Europe, offer their own payment system from iOS 17.4. If he uses the default system, the App Store commission drops from 30% to 17%. A rate which increases to 10% for the most modest developers.
Beyond the App Store, Apple is opening up other aspects of its ecosystem. Browsers like Chrome will now be able to use their own rendering engine alternative to WebKit. A first on iPhone. A popup will offer the installation of alternative browsers when you first open Safari. There is also talk of authorizing (this time everywhere in the world) streaming game services.
The other obligation provided for by the DMA, that is to say the opening of the NFC system of iPhones to third-party developers, is approaching and will occur during an update to later update. This will notably allow alternative contactless payment services to coexist with Apple Pay.
- Apple explains how and when European iPhones will be able to install applications outside of the official App Store.
- A highly anticipated change, resulting from the Digital Markets Act.
- This new possibility arrives in March, via iOS 17.4.
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