It’s no secret that Apple has been the target of criticism in the European Union for several months due to issues with monopolistic and anti-competitive activity involving their products (iOS, App Store, Safari, and even iMessage).
By iOS 17.4, Apple’s time was up, and they had to adjust to the EU’s evolving legal and regulatory environment.
Apple recently released significant disclosures about their new rules surrounding payment processors and third-party iOS app stores in advance of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which takes effect on March 6, 2024.
Things will change significantly if you live in the EU and are interested in sideloading iOS software.
iOS 17’s third-party app stores are heavily limited
As it was expected, Apple did not make it easy for the general public to sideload IPA applications in peace. Third-party App Stores will still have to sign up with Apple, they will have to have a hefty budget (and show Apple proof), and the apps will be heavily scrutinized so no chance of jailbreaking apps, modded apps, or tweaks.
Similar to how Apple notarizes macOS software, applications created and shared through third-party app stores will go through this process.
A suspicious or dangerous software may still be rejected throughout this notarization procedure, which consists of multiple security and safety tests.
At the end of the day, we doubt there will be too many official / Apple-approved third-party App Stores since it’s so expensive and difficult to open one. Apple likely made it as hard as possible for this to happen so that they protect their official App Store from competition.
How much would it cost iOS developers to publish apps to a third-party App Store?
Apple does establish a new Core Technology Fee that is 0.50 euros per install per account, but it will not charge a fee for software installed through third-party app stores or for alternative payment methods. The value of the platform as a whole as well as products like Xcode and Developer tools is reflected in this annual cost.
All developers will not be charged for the first one million installs; but, after that point, a new core price will apply.
The 30% commission that Apple charges developers to distribute their apps through the App Store is also being reduced. Now, the developers will just have to pay 17%. Additionally, the 15% commission that small firms were formerly required to pay for memberships has been lowered to 10%.
If you are a developer in the EU, you will have to decide whether to accept the new conditions (17% / 10%) or stick with the existing terms (30% / 15%).
So to recap, as a developer if you don’t pay Apple to use their App Store you will pay to use their platforms and development tools. Either way, you pay.
Will this only be available in the EU?
Apple will likely region-lock this feature heavily. They can use the SIM card, Location Services, and even device Serial Number to ensure only European devices sold and operating within the EU have this feature to begin with.
Still, it’s probably nothing you would want in the first place. This doesn’t provide true sideloading of IPAs like you would do on Android with APK apps. The average user will still have to choose between getting the app from the App Store, or an Apple-approved third-party App Store.
Since the third-party stores will still be vetted by Apple and require approvals, you won’t find any cool stuff such as jailbreaks, modded apps and games, tweaks, etc.
So what is the best alternative?
That’s simple – FlekSt0re. It works on all devices, doesn’t have region locks, you can choose what IPA files to sign and install, use a certificate, install modded apps, jailbreaks, etc.
FlekStore has a large app catalog allowing you to get any popular app, jailbreak, tweak, or modded app available. If you wanna sign your own, you can do it without even using a computer.
Yes, FlekSt0re is not an Apple-approved third-party AppStore, but that also means it doesn’t have to limit its catalog, pay Apple anything or have the developers restricted in any way.
I have personally tested FlekSt0re and I am very happy with their service because the apps just work. If there’s something wrong they do provide fast customer service. You can try FlekSt0re here.
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