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Apple's next update opens up the iPhone even more

Apple's next update opens up the iPhone even more

The opening of the iPhone with iOS 17.4, through which it is no longer possible to install apps only via Apple's own App Store, but also via alternative markets, was not enough for the EU. Apple should also introduce sideloading, i.e. installing individual apps directly from websites on iPhones.

With the upcoming iOS 17.5 update, Apple now meets this requirement. However, the requirements for providers who want to use this option are very high and are aimed at ensuring that this type of app installation does not involve any fraud – as well as that Apple retains control over its platform.

Sideloading applications: High demands on developers

Like Apple on a program specifically for developers Explained on the setup websitenot just anyone will be able to view app installation directly from websites.

According to the group, interested developers must meet certain criteria, which are largely consistent with those that also apply to alternative app stores. On the one hand, providers must have been members of Apple's developer program for at least two years without interruption and must have an app with more than 1 million raw installs on iOS in the EU alone in the previous year.

Although this requirement also applies to alternative app stores, Apple offers marketplace providers a “letter of credit” deposit of 1 million euros. This option is not currently included in Apple's document on installing apps on websites.

iOS 17.5: Apple provides an application programming interface (API) for developers

Additional requirements for developers include completing Apple's authentication procedures and publishing transparent data collection policies. This is also necessary to run applications in application markets.

Provided developers meet all requirements, Apple provides an interface (API) that makes it possible to offer apps for download directly from websites. Apps downloaded this way can be backed up, restored and updated, according to Apple.

However, it is not clear from the document whether apps installed this way receive automatic updates or whether users have to update them manually each time.

No commission to Apple, but one way or another

Developers using this new sales channel can use essentially any app store with their apps, and ultimately don't have to pay Apple the usual commission. However, they are subject to Apple's so-called “core technology fees.”

This fee of 50 cents per user and installation applies if the app achieves more than 1 million installs per year. Basic technology fees apply even to apps that developers offer for free. In other words: free apps that have been downloaded millions of times can drive developers to ruin. The European Union is currently examining whether Apple's underlying technology fees are legal.

iOS 17.5 is currently available to developers as a beta. The final version is expected to be released during May. Other new features of the update are manageable and include, among other things, minor design changes. Additionally, iOS 17.5 appears to include an anti-stalking feature developed with Google for accessories like Airtags.

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