iPhone users in the EU can now install third-party app stores

7 March, 2024 Apple

iPhone users in the EU can now install third-party app stores


From pretty much the inception of iOS and the iPhone, Apple has only ever allowed users to download apps from the App Store. Unlike Android, Apple does not allow the installation of third-party app stores. That has finally changed in the latest iOS 17.4 update which will allow iPhone users to install and use third-party app stores.


For those unfamiliar, this is thanks to the EU's DMA. This new law basically forces Apple to open up iOS to third-party app stores, among other things. While it is a welcome change, Apple still appears to be holding onto the leash somewhat tightly.


For starters, these third-party app stores need to be approved by Apple. Users then need to give it explicit permission to download apps on your phone. These apps will also need to be "notarized" by Apple and be scanned for malware. Apple is also making changes to how payments work.


Overall, it seems that developers will now have an option if they do not wish to use Apple's App Store. It is also a win for developers. It remains to be seen, however, if customers will be willing to make the switch. Apple has largely done a good job of ensuring apps from its own App Store are safe.


Now it will be up to developers and third-party app stores to convince iPhone customers to step outside Apple's walled garden. Keep in mind that these changes only apply to the EU. It does not appear that Apple has plans to expand this feature to other markets (yet).


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