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Apple announces new app distribution options for EU

Apple has announced new app distribution options for EU developers.

In recent months, a European Union ruling has forced Apple into offering a more open marketplace, including allowing third-party app marketplaces and in-app payment services, as well as the ability to sideload apps. The first results of this ruling arrived with iOS 17.4 last week.

Now Apple has elaborated on some of the wider app distribution channels it will permit within the EU. Over on Apple’s developer website, it has announced “More options for apps distributed in the European Union”.

Developers in the region will be able to operate their own alternative app marketplaces, but will only be able to distribute their own apps through them.

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Also, when directing users to make a transaction, developers “can choose how to design promotions, discounts, and other deals.” In other words, Apple’s design templates for such things are now purely optional in the EU.

In addition, Apple has announced the prospect of Web Distribution for EU apps. In an upcoming spring update, authorised developers will be able to distribute their iOS apps to EU users through a website owned by the developer.

Apple says that it will provide the necessary APIs to facilitate such web distribution, which will enable features like the backing up and restoration of users’ apps to be brought across.

The requirements for meeting Apple’s approval for such external app distribution are fairly stringent, it should be noted. Developers will need to have been a member of the Apple Developer Program for at least two unbroken years.

Meanwhile, they must also have an app that secured more than one million first annual installs on iOS in the EU during the previous calendar year.

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