Apple will let developers distribute iOS apps directly from the web

Apple will let developers distribute iOS apps directly from the web


12 March 2024

Starting this spring, Apple will allow developers to distribute their iOS apps directly to EU customers through a developer-owned website. Apple aims to expand its iPhone app download options as part of the Digital Markets Act, which includes alternative app markets for EU users.

Here's what Apple revealed on its developer blog:

Web Distribution, available with a software update later this spring, will let authorized developers distribute their iOS apps to EU users directly from a website owned by the developer. Apple will provide authorized developers access to APIs that facilitate the distribution of their apps from the web, integrate with system functionality, back up and restore users’ apps, and more.

In addition to a software upgrade, which may be included with iOS 17.5, developers must agree to the Alternative Terms Addendum for Apps in the EU. Developers that accept this update are no longer bound by App Store standards, although there are significant drawbacks to this "freedom" option.

That being said, here's what the flexibility implies for these creators when downloading iPhone apps in the EU:

  • Alternative app markets may only feature apps developed by the marketplace itself.
  • When guiding customers to purchase digital products or services on an external webpage, developers can customize promotions, discounts, and offers. Apple's design templates, which are tailored for key purchasing and promotional use cases, are now optional.

However, when EU customers acquire iPhone applications in the near future, their experience will be comparable to that of everyone else using the Mac. Despite the Mac App Store, you may obtain the software directly from the developer's website.

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