Last Thursday, Apple announced changes to iOS, Safari, and the App Store in response to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).
The new changes will come into effect for all new Apple devices purchased in March 2024 as part of Apple’s iOS 17.4 operating system.
Apple To Allow Users To Install Third-Party Apps In Europe
For those unaware, Apple is required to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) that was approved in July 2022, which aims to regulate the power of big tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon to ensure fair competition.
The new changes will allow iPhone users in Europe to download apps from third-party app stores that may not strictly adhere to Apple App Store’s guidelines. However, they would need Apple’s approval to ensure user safety. Further, users will be required to explicitly grant permission to download apps to their devices after downloading them. Also, users can make a non-App Store marketplace the default place to buy apps on their iPhones over Apple’s App Store.
In a statement, Phil Schiller, the Apple executive in charge of its App Store, made clear that the company some of these changes will pose a risk to users.
“The changes we’re announcing today comply with the Digital Markets Act’s requirements in the European Union, while helping to protect EU users from the unavoidable increased privacy and security threats this regulation brings,” he said.
“This includes new avenues for malware, fraud and scams, illicit and harmful content, and other privacy and security threats. These changes also compromise Apple’s ability to detect, prevent, and take action against malicious apps on iOS and to support users impacted by issues with apps downloaded outside of the App Store.”
Moving to developers, they can use Apple’s payment services and in-app purchases or include a third-party payment processor within an App Store app without incurring any fees from Apple.
To ensure security, all apps must go through a check (called Notarization), while Apple’s systems will manage distribution through third-party marketplaces. Also, Apple will collect a reduced commission of 17% from in-app transactions involving digital goods and services, and developers who are eligible for specific discount programs through Apple will need to pay 10%.