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  • Writer's pictureElise Quevedo

EU News: Apple announces that it will allow the download of applications from other stores

The App Store is no longer the only option that Apple users have to download apps. At least, in the territory of the European Union. The technology company has announced that, starting in March, with the arrival of the next version of its iOS 17.4 operating system, all iPhones will be able to download 'apps' from alternative stores. Something that, to date, was only available to Android users.

It is a transcendental change in the history of Apple and its mobile phones. To date, the company had always refused to open its devices to download 'apps' from points other than the App Store, alleging security problems. If you take the step, it is through the EU Digital Markets Law, which comes into operation in March 2024. The opening will not take place in the rest of the territories, as is the case in the United States.

As the company has detailed in a statement, the App Store will continue to be the only app store pre-installed on iPhones. Those users who want to add other platforms of this type, will have to go to the page of the company on duty and download there the tool that gives access to their alternative 'marketplace'.

Third-party stores, in addition, must first pass a thorough examination by Apple. The same will happen with the applications they host, which will be scanned for computer viruses. The company, of course, will therefore have to authorize those platforms so that they can offer their 'apps' in the iPhone ecosystem. But the controls end here.

Once the user has downloaded the new store on their iPhone, they will be able to install whatever they want on their mobile.

"The changes we announce today comply with the requirements of the Digital Markets Act in the European Union, while helping to protect users in the EU from the inevitable increase in threats to privacy and security that this regulation brings with it," says Phil Schiller, Apple's director of marketing. "Our priority continues to be to create the best and safest possible experience for our users in the EU and around the world," he adds.

There are also changes for developers, who will be able to choose whether to put their 'apps' in third-party stores and/or in the App Store. To date, Apple charged commissions of between 30 and 15% on applications that were not fully free, but this will no longer be the case in the EU and they move between 17 and 10%.

A new commission of 0.50 cents is also added for each annual download once one million is exceeded in a year. And this is the same for the 'apps' from the App Store and those that are installed from third-party stores. However, non-profit organizations, schools and governments are exempt.

Apple will also allow EU iPhone users to select a default web browser and a contactless payment application, which means that EU users can make contactless payments without using the Apple Pay system.


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