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iOS 17.5 will allow something previously unthinkable on iPhone

Apple is getting ready to launch iOS 17.5, which will legally allow a practice Apple frowned deeply upon until very recently.

Users in the EU will be able to sideload apps onto their iPhone from a web link thanks to the new Digital Markets Act rules now in effect on the continent.

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The new Web Distribution protocol for developers is another way for app makers to get apps in the hands of consumers beyond publishing the app to the official App Store or one of the new third-party marketplaces also being allowed under the new legislation.

We’ve known this is coming for a while now, but the iOS 17.5 Beta 2 includes the new feature that’ll make getting an app on an EU user’s iPhone as easy as clicking a link. Apple will also walk users through the permissions they’re giving developers in order to continue the download and install from the non-official portal.

Naturally, Apple will be compensated for this new rule, as 9to5Mac points out. There’ll be a new Core Technology Fee of 50¢ per link for every download over the first million over a twelve month period.

It’ll also require the developer to register a web domain with the App Store Connect database in order for Apple to keep tabs on who’s peddling what to its user base.

Apple tells devs: “Web Distribution lets authorised developers distribute their iOS apps to users in the European Union (EU) directly from a website owned by the developer. Apple will provide developers access to APIs that facilitate the distribution of their apps from the web, integrate with system functionality, and back up and restore users’ apps, once they meet certain requirements designed to help protect users and platform integrity.”

This change won’t affect Brits who, due to Brexit, are not bound by EU laws on the technology marketplace.

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