Revolutionary changes in iOS: Sideloading is coming, Apple introduces new fees
A major announcement from Apple has confirmed that sideloading, or the ability to install apps from alternative stores, will be available to iPhone users with the arrival of iOS 17.4 this March. However, this news will only apply to users in the 27 countries of the European Union and will come with complex rules. In addition, Apple, seemingly disregarding European directives, is introducing a new fee for developers of the most downloaded apps.
Although it will be possible to download apps from alternative stores, users will have to go through Apple’s approval process, which involves manually granting permission to download additional apps after installation. This means that despite the expansion of sideloading options, Apple will still control the distribution of apps on its platform.
Apple’s security statement includes 22 mentions of the word ‘risk’, suggesting that the adoption of sideloading in the EU is seen as a necessity rather than a voluntary choice. Apple emphasises the protection of users from various risks such as malware, fraud and illegal content. In this context, it is introducing new security measures, including notarisation for iOS apps, authorisation of developers on app stores and disclosure of information on alternative payment methods.
The new rules on app distribution will only apply to Europe. Developers who choose to distribute apps through the App Store will pay a 17% fee on digital products and services instead of the previous 30%. For those who fall under the App Store Small Business programme, the fees will be reduced to 10%. In addition, a new Core Technology Fee is being introduced, which will be paid by developers for each app installation exceeding one million downloads in a year.
As part of the new options for users, Apple is opening up the NFC chip for alternative payment methods and allowing alternative browsers that don’t have WebKit at their core to be downloaded. This will be the first time users will encounter full-fledged web browser competition on their iOS devices.
Representing one of the most important updates for European users, iOS 17.4 is expected to be available in March this year. Apple is thus responding to pressure and demands from European regulators and users for more openness and competition on its platform.
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