3rd Party App Stores on iPhone: Is iOS Unique?

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Recently, there has been a lot of talk about Apple allowing app side-loading. Now, as time goes on, there is more definitive information about this.

Apple’s official website recently released a press release stating that users in the European Union market can download software from app stores other than the App Store.

This is a significant change for iOS. It means that Apple will lose some control over applications and may potentially reduce some of its revenue.

Third-party app stores on iPhone

According to Apple’s official announcement, these adjustments involve brand new changes to iOS, Safari browser, and the App Store, impacting both developers and users.

These changes include over 600 new APIs, expanded app analytics, support for alternative browser engines, and new options for app payments and distribution of iOS apps.

Third-party app stores on iPhone

Changes to iOS include:

  • Introducing new APIs and tools, allowing developers to offer iOS apps for download from app stores outside of the App Store.
  • Creating a new framework and APIs for alternative app stores, enabling market developers to install and manage app updates on behalf of other developers through their dedicated market applications.
  • Developers will be able to use browser engines outside of WebKit, providing browser apps and in-app browsing experiences.

Changes in the App Store will affect applications for Apple operating systems such as iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

However, for apps using alternative payment methods, Apple will not provide refund, report a problem, family sharing, ask to buy, and other App Store features will not apply to these transactions.

Third-party app stores on iPhone

Apple will also introduce a new selection interface. For users opening the Safari browser for the first time on iOS 17.4 or later versions, a new optional interface will be displayed. This interface will prompt EU users to choose their default browser from a list of options.

In addition, with regard to payment-related issues that many users are concerned about, after the update, developers can add a link on their own website for users to complete transactions, as well as inform users of promotions, discounts, and transactions outside of the app.

Third-party app stores on iPhone

In response to these changes, Apple has also adjusted its fees, reducing the transaction fee for digital goods and services in iOS apps distributed through the App Store to 10% or 15%.

After paying an additional 3% transaction fee for iOS apps distributed through the App Store, developers can use the App Store’s payment processing capabilities. However, if developers use payment service providers within their apps or direct users to their website for transactions, they do not need to pay Apple any additional fees.

Third-party app stores on iPhone

This means that third-party app stores and third-party payment services can be used on iOS.

However, according to current information, users cannot install third-party app stores on iPad, nor can they install apps from other app stores. However, the App Store’s fee adjustment applies to iPad.

Additionally, Apple will also share changes related to contactless payments, allowing the use of NFC technology in banking and wallet applications.

Third-party app stores on iPhone

In addition to these adjustments, the latest news indicates that in iOS 17.4 Beta 1, Apple has adjusted the Siri wake word settings. According to reports from Sina Technology, “After upgrading to iOS 17.4 Beta 1, users can flexibly choose the Siri wake word without needing to say ‘Hey’ anymore.”

Third-party app stores on iPhone

Moreover, several related leaks regarding the upcoming flagship iterations of the iPhone series have surfaced recently. Interested users can stay tuned for more information.

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