iPhone and iPad users in the EU will see a host of changes to the Apple App Store infrastructure when iOS 17.4 drops in the coming weeks. However, Brits will not be subject to them, Apple has confirmed.
Due to the Digital Markets Act in the European Union, Apple is being forced to open up to third-party app stores. This means, for the first time, you’ll be able to legally download a developer’s app from a third-party app store or website. Those marketplaces can even be set as the default store on the device.
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Apple is also allowing alternate payment systems on its mobile platform for the first time, giving developers the opportunity to skirt the sizeable cut of in-app purchases that have traditionally gone Apple’s way.
However, because of the additional risks to users Apple says the opening up of its walled garden poses, the company won’t be expanding this initiative to territories outside the EU – i.e. where it doesn’t have to.
“Apple is not offering these changes outside of the EU because this is not the safest system for our users,” the company says in a press release.
“We’ve been very clear about new threats the DMA introduces — including increased risks for malware, fraud and scams, illicit and objectionable content, and reduced ability for Apple to respond to and remove malicious apps. The changes required by the DMA also involve new technologies and processes that are untested and may require further development.”
The changes will come into play before the March 7 deadline set in the European Union and iOS 17.4 will attempt to mitigate some of those risks.
Apple plans to safeguard users from the inherent risks with ceding control of the walled garden. Apple will introduce Notarisation for iOS apps, which will be a baseline approval for all apps regardless of where they’re downloaded from. There’ll also be authorisation required for marketplace developers, and additional malware protections will come into play.