Apple has new App Store rules, business terms, and sideloading conditions for EU developer...

Posted:
in iOS edited January 25

Apple has announced iOS 17.4 that includes new options for an alternative App Store in the European Union, plus browsers will no longer have to use Apple's WebKit.

The App Store is changing in Europe.
The App Store is changing in Europe



It was known that Apple would be working to comply with the EU's requirement that it add sideloading, or third-party app stores. Now Apple has revealed that from March 2024, and the release of iOS 17, it will be adding new fees, new options for developers, and is working to maintain privacy safeguards for users.

"The changes we're announcing today comply with the Digital Markets Act's requirements in the European Union," said Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow, "while helping to protect EU users from the unavoidable increased privacy and security threats this regulation brings."

"Our priority remains creating the best, most secure possible experience for our users in the EU and around the world," he continued. "Developers can now learn about the new tools and terms available for alternative app distribution and alternative payment processing, new capabilities for alternative browser engines and contactless payments, and more."

"Importantly," he said, "developers can choose to remain on the same business terms in place today if they prefer."

Apple is now going to notarize all iOS apps, regardless of where they are sold. It says this will mean protecting users from security issues, but will not also include the same App Store Review that Apple now provides.

Developers who want to offer their own marketplace will have to be approved by Apple. Approval requires that developers demonstrate human review of apps before distribution.

If a developer does offer their own marketplace, Apple says it will not be responsible for refunds. Plus Apple features such as Family Purchase Sharing and Ask to Buy, will not be available for apps downloaded outside of the App Store.

However, once a third-party app marketplace has been approved, the developer will be able to release any of its streaming games through it. Previously, each individual game had to be submitted separately, and be a standalone app on the App Store.

How the App Store will look to EU users



From the user's perspective, they will be asked for permission when a developer wants to add a marketplace. Users can also later revoke that permission.

Before a user installed an app from an alternative store, they will have to be shown an App Installation Sheet. This will display information from Apple's notarization system, such as the developer name, and screenshots.

Users will also get three payment options, depending on how developers choose to distribute their apps. They can buy apps via the App Store as now, they can buy via an alternative payment service, or they can click a link to go out to purchase on the developer's website.

They will also be able to set a third-party app marketplace as their default App Store. As part of this, iOS users will be able to select a third-party contactless payment app as their default.

To enable this, Apple is providing developers with access to NFC technology -- without opening up Apple Pay or Wallet.

Apple is also expanding user choice regarding browsers. At present, Safari can be swapped for an alternative via System Settings, but all iOS browsers have had to use Apple's WebKit engine.

Now developers can use alternatives. And the first time a user opens Safari after installing iOS 17.4, they will be prompted to select a default from a list of popular browsers.

Apple is updating iOS, Safari, and the App Store in the EU
Apple is updating iOS, Safari, and the App Store in the EU

New fees for EU developers that choose sideloading



For apps that continued to be sold via the App Store, Apple will reduce its standard commission from 30% to 17%. Apps that now get charged the reduced 15%, will instead be charged 10%.

All apps, including those sold outside of Apple's store will be charged a Core Technology Fee, which is 0.5 Euro per first install of an app annually. Apple will waive that fee for the first one million installs.

This first install is per user account per year, so a user can install an app on multiple devices, and also the developer can release multiple updates, without incurring a further charge. There will be no fee for educational institutions, non-profit or governmental organisations.

Developers who remain in the App Store as now, will also be able opt to pay Apple a further 3% to use the company's payment processing services.

Developers in the App Store will get over 50 new reports regarding engagement, commerce and so on. The data will be provided via a new analytics API.

Apple says that at present, 88% of active developers in the EU pay no fee. The some 9% pay the current 15% rate, and the rest are on the standard 30%.

Following the changes, Apple claims that 99% of all developers in the EU will pay the same or less in fees.

Apple says the changes will go live in the EU in March, but it has now released a developer beta of the required iOS 17.4.



Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    Did I read that right?

    - 88% of developers in the EU pay no fees (meaning they’re free Apps).
    - 9% pay 15% (they’re smaller developers under $1 million in revenues).
    - That leaves only 3% of all developers in the EU who pay the full 30%.

    Can someone explain how this helps small developers when only 3% of all developers are paying 30% fees? Seems clear to me that the whiners at the top who make the most money are the ones complaining and these changes will do nothing to help the other 97%.
    killroyAlex1Naderutter9secondkox2applebynaturebyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 22
    red oakred oak Posts: 1,093member
    Lot to digest 

    It looks like they put Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Spotify, Netflix in a corner.   All large, free apps.  Either they continue with the current terms as they are.   Or, they go with the new plan and have to start paying Apple $.50 per download 

    Hot Take:  pretty creative 
    killroy9secondkox2pulseimagesbyronlappleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 22
    Did I read that right?

    - 88% of developers in the EU pay no fees (meaning they’re free Apps).
    - 9% pay 15% (they’re smaller developers under $1 million in revenues).
    - That leaves only 3% of all developers in the EU who pay the full 30%.

    Can someone explain how this helps small developers when only 3% of all developers are paying 30% fees? Seems clear to me that the whiners at the top who make the most money are the ones complaining and these changes will do nothing to help the other 97%.
    The 9% will probably now pay 10% instead of 15%.
    The 3% will now pay 17% instead of 30%.
    MORE IMPORTANT: Apple will not review the content of Apps that come from 3rd part app stores (so the apps need only to comply with the 3rd party app store guideline and the law) so there is no single company that decides which app is "legal" or not!
    edited January 25 killroyAlex1Nwilliamlondonpulseimagesbyronl
  • Reply 4 of 22
    xyzzy-xxx said:
    Did I read that right?

    - 88% of developers in the EU pay no fees (meaning they’re free Apps).
    - 9% pay 15% (they’re smaller developers under $1 million in revenues).
    - That leaves only 3% of all developers in the EU who pay the full 30%.

    Can someone explain how this helps small developers when only 3% of all developers are paying 30% fees? Seems clear to me that the whiners at the top who make the most money are the ones complaining and these changes will do nothing to help the other 97%.
    The 9% will probably now pay 10% instead of 15%.
    The 3% will now pay 17% instead of 15%.
    MORE IMPORTANT: Apple will not review the content of Apps that come from 3rd part app stores (so the apps need only to comply with the 3rd party app store guideline and the law) so there is no single company that decides which app is "legal" or not!
    The 9% will pay either 0% or 10%, depending on whether they want to use their own store and payment procesing or continue to use the App Store (with an aditional 3% to use Apple's Payment Processing if using the App Store).

    The 3% will pay 17% instead of 30%, not 15%.

    Importantly, from the Apple Press Release for this (Apple announces changes to iOS, Safari, and the App Store in the European Union - Apple):

    "Notarization for iOS apps — a baseline review that applies to all apps, regardless of their distribution channel, focused on platform integrity and protecting users. Notarization involves a combination of automated checks and human review."
    edited January 25 killroyAlex1Nwilliamlondon9secondkox2byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 22
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,775member
    I said years ago this would happen if Apple continued as they were, and many of the less… pragmatic here laughed at that said nope never. Well here we are. Apple forced other’s hand. Will be interesting to see how it turns out for users, and if the supposed invasion of malware will happen as those with a rather less balanced view predicted. I doubt it somehow. 

    I do think there will be less use of things like Apple Pay though, forcing card users to use the NFC features in the provider’s app. And that will be crappy, no doubt. 
    Alex1N9secondkox2muthuk_vanalingambyronl
  • Reply 6 of 22
    blitz1blitz1 Posts: 439member
    EU - Apple: 3-0.

    Thank you EU for making iPhone/iOS a more open environment.
    Now on to repairability 
    edited January 25 nubusAfarstarpascal007ctt_zhavon b7williamlondon9secondkox2CheeseFreezebyronlelijahg
  • Reply 7 of 22
    nubusnubus Posts: 418member
    Very impressive. I do hope the choice of browser will get Apple to work harder on Webkit/Safari. Also nice that companies don't need to refuel games through Apple. Even Tesla doesn't operate like that.

    This might well be the final victory of Vestager as she is leaving EU. Apple should offer her a job. She's one fierce negotiator. Getting 27 countries behind this and making it happen. Well played. Also nice that Apple didn't repeat the USB C fiasco but moved on.
    ctt_zhavon b7killroyAlex1Ncaladanian9secondkox2muthuk_vanalingambyronl
  • Reply 8 of 22
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,301member
    AI: Please bring back the thumbs down for comments.
    killroywilliamlondonaderutter9secondkox2pulseimagesapplebynaturebyronlappleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 22
    Does “EU” include UK?
    appleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 22
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,046member
    Looks to me like Apple is essentially itemizing the costs and qualitative requirements for what they do with their own App Store (and maintaining a stable iOS/hardware platform), and requiring something approximating that be maintained by developers seeking to go outside of that system. The Metas and Epics of the world have been lobbying for this because they want the benefits of iOS/iPhone without the costs, and they want to circumvent quality, security and privacy requirements while gaining access to the customers who pay more for Apple gear because they do want quality, security and privacy. So Apple seems to have found a path to comply with the ill-advised EU mandate while still insisting that others aren't going to be able to turn iOS into the Wild West. 

    So most legitimate developers will likely end up acknowledging that there actually is (and always has been) significant value to going through Apple's App Store, and will simply just stay there. For those who still insist on going around it, they're not going to get the freebie free-for-all they had planned on. This strategy makes it harder and certainly less lucrative to implement the worst-case scenario that I feared would emerge, which is big companies with apps that a lot of people want circumventing the Apple App store specifically for the purpose of freely scraping user data, skirting quality and implementing other predatory practices that are disallowed by the App Store. The new side-loading requirements will make it much harder to do that, and the costs will diminish or eliminate the financial incentive to try. 

    This will ultimately help iPhone customers hold the line on the consumer choice they have now, which is to buy a phone that uses a closed system for its OS and App distribution specifically in order to maintain an expected standard for a high level of quality, privacy and security. Diminishing the financial incentives to circumvent the App Store will reduce the number of developers that will bother, and that will in turn make it less likely that large numbers of iPhone users will be willing or resigned to use alternative app stores to get Apps they no longer can get in the Apple App Store.
    williamlondonforegoneconclusiondanoxbyronlappleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 22
    Does “EU” include UK?
    No, the UK left the EU. The UK has its own Digital Markets Bill.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 22
    So 10/17 without Apple doing payment processing and 13/20 with?
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 22
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,070member
    Bring on the waterworks. I’m getting the popcorn ready. 
  • Reply 14 of 22
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,070member
    Did I read that right?

    - 88% of developers in the EU pay no fees (meaning they’re free Apps).
    - 9% pay 15% (they’re smaller developers under $1 million in revenues).
    - That leaves only 3% of all developers in the EU who pay the full 30%.

    Can someone explain how this helps small developers when only 3% of all developers are paying 30% fees? Seems clear to me that the whiners at the top who make the most money are the ones complaining and these changes will do nothing to help the other 97%.
    They get to take it up with their lawmakers and Spotify. 
  • Reply 15 of 22
    Let the security breaches begin! 
    danoxwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 22
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,857moderator
    Apple is now going to notarize all iOS apps, regardless of where they are sold. It says this will mean protecting users from security issues, but will not also include the same App Store Review that Apple now provides.”

    Is there a loophole here?  Couldn’t an app developer who intends to distribute through an alternate App Store simple first submit their app to Apple’s App Store to get Apple to do an App Store review and then, once that’s passed with any issues found by Apple and corrected by the app developer, pull the app from Apple’s App Store, add back any privacy holes or other non-Apple-app-store compliant code, and then take it through the alternate apps store process.  This would get Apple to do a bunch of QA for free.  

    I’m assuming Apple’s App Store review is a fairly detailed QA process.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 22
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,978member

    The true cost is being passed along, if you elect to bypass the App Store and do payments yourself what do you think the cost will be? If you elect go with a third party company to process the payments they will charge a large/good sum of money to do so. And if you do it in house it will also cost lots of money. Now that 70/30 split isn't looking so bad. If you are a small to medium sized company.

    Oh and don't forget to hire someone (you maybe the third layer?) to watch that in house person. Good luck.

    edited January 25 watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 22
    nubusnubus Posts: 418member
    Let the security breaches begin! 
    And let the freedom of apps begin. EU got tired of having a company from California being a gatekeeper on apps.
    Like having Ford decide where you can go. No longer.

    Why do the red states accept that a company from San Francisco place personal properties of their citizens in a padded cell?
    Is it the "Make America Less Free" movement? Or "California knows what is best for us"?
    Perhaps do an amendment "the right to install apps" or "freedom to use the apps you want"? 

    Not sure if we can fit the Statue of Liberty in the EU HQ, but we will give it a try :-D
    - end of gloating.
    elijahgwilliamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 22
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,857moderator
    nubus said:
    Let the security breaches begin! 
    And let the freedom of apps begin. EU got tired of having a company from California being a gatekeeper on apps.
    Like having Ford decide where you can go. No longer.

    Why do the red states accept that a company from San Francisco place personal properties of their citizens in a padded cell?
    Is it the "Make America Less Free" movement? Or "California knows what is best for us"?
    Perhaps do an amendment "the right to install apps" or "freedom to use the apps you want"? 

    Not sure if we can fit the Statue of Liberty in the EU HQ, but we will give it a try :-D
    - end of gloating.
    What's this personal property noise?  You don't own the copy of iOS on your iPhone.  That's property of Apple that you have license to use, subject to Apple's terms.  If you want to remove it, build your own OS and then build apps for that, you're free to do so.  And no, that's not the same as jailbreaking the OS.  
    danoxwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 22
    blitz1blitz1 Posts: 439member
    nubus said:
    Let the security breaches begin! 
    And let the freedom of apps begin. EU got tired of having a company from California being a gatekeeper on apps.
    Like having Ford decide where you can go. No longer.

    Why do the red states accept that a company from San Francisco place personal properties of their citizens in a padded cell?
    Is it the "Make America Less Free" movement? Or "California knows what is best for us"?
    Perhaps do an amendment "the right to install apps" or "freedom to use the apps you want"? 

    Not sure if we can fit the Statue of Liberty in the EU HQ, but we will give it a try :-D
    - end of gloating.
    What's this personal property noise?  You don't own the copy of iOS on your iPhone.  That's property of Apple that you have license to use, subject to Apple's terms.  If you want to remove it, build your own OS and then build apps for that, you're free to do so.  And no, that's not the same as jailbreaking the OS.  
    No need to defend Apple in its wrongdoings.
    The company caved in to the European Commission.
    For the third time in less than a year.

    Now we’re going to impose easier repairability :)
    elijahgwilliamlondon
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