Thursday, July 25, 2024

Apple prepares to enable sideloading and App Store changes in EU

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Apple may enable users to sideload apps on iPhones and iPads in Europe within weeks, an act that will also see Apple split the App Store into two versions.

Europe’s Digital Markets Act has caused headaches for tech companies, including Apple, with the aim of leveling the playing field and reducing the power of so-called gatekeepers.

Apple has anticipated that the DMA will force it into enabling third-party app storefronts alongside the App Store itself on its devices, but according to one report, it may actually happen within weeks.

According to Mark Gurman in a paid-only part of the “Power On” newsletter for Bloomberg on Sunday, Apple is preparing to enable sideloading in Europe “in the coming weeks.” The move will enable third-party app stores to be installed on iPhones and iPads without needing to comply with Apple’s App Store rules.

However, the change apparently won’t be affecting all iPhone and iPad users, as it will be limited to only European devices.

As a byproduct of the change, Apple will also split the App Store into two versions, with one covering EU member states and the other for the rest of the world. While the reasoning for this wasn’t spelled out, it is likely to be a move to make it easier for Apple to comply with EU rules without making changes affecting other markets.

While there’s a report claiming the changes are inbound, they may not necessarily occur. In November, Apple filed a legal challenge over the demand for third-party app stores, and has even “corrected” the European Union over the number of App Stores it actually runs.

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