Some iPhone Users Could Bypass App Stores

John Lister's picture

Apple has confirmed some users will be able to download iOS apps from websites rather than an app store. But the relaxation of rules comes with a major limitation.

The new policy applies to European Union countries and is part of Apple's response to the Digital Markets Act. That's a new rule that says operators of services with a very large number of users in Europe must remove some barriers to competition. These generally include opening services up to third party access.

That includes iOS apps were historically Apple has strictly enforced a rule that users can only install apps from its official store. It says that's to guarantee quality and security for users, but critics say it lets Apple use monopoly powers at the expense of app developers, including taking a cut of fees.

More Payment Options

Apple had previously confirmed it would let European users install apps from third-party stores, the big catch being they still needed to be approved by Apple, which would take a (barely reduced) percentage from paid apps.

Now it says it will allow installation of apps downloaded from websites. Unlike in the past, app developers will have more control over how they collect any in-app payments such as subscription charges. They will also be able to directly point user to a payment method for in-app fees that isn't controlled by Apple. (Source:

Sites Must Be Approved

The catch is that the installation will only work if the app is downloaded from a website approved by Apple. To qualify, the developer will need to already have been following Apple's rules for two years and have at least one app installed in Europe more than a million times in the previous year.

Apple won't take its usual commission on apps distributed this way. However, it will charge developers a fee. There will be no charge for the first one million installations in a calendar year, after which developers must pay €0.50 (approximately US$0.53) per installation. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Is Apple acting reasonably? Should it give users complete freedom of what they install on an iPhone or iPad? Should app sales and installation be covered by competition laws at all?

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Colin Sedgwick's picture

I still have a Ipad that won't activate because APPLE does not allow 3rd party repairs outside of the warranty period. When they remove the hardware ID check for Iphones and Ipads then maybe they will be getting to reasonable.

I still note they require more payments for no work though.

Professional Thieves with governments standing back and allowing it.