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Apple plans to introduce web distribution for iOS apps in EU countries, offering developers an alternative to app stores with stringent rules

Apple is gearing up to introduce further changes in EU countries, allowing certain developers to distribute their iOS apps directly from a website. This new web distribution feature is set to debut with a software update "later this spring," according to Apple, offering developers a significant new avenue for distributing iOS apps in EU markets without the need for a separate app store. However, developers must adhere to Apple's stringent rules.

While this move signals a degree of openness for iOS to third-party apps, there are stringent security measures surrounding app distribution via websites. Apps offered through Web Distribution must meet Notarization requirements, ensuring platform integrity. Additionally, they can only be installed from a website domain registered by the developer in App Store Connect.

Installing these apps on an iPhone in the EU won't be a straightforward process either. Users must first authorize the developer to install apps in Settings on their iPhone. When installing an app, a system sheet will display essential information submitted by developers for Apple's review, such as the app name, developer name, description, screenshots, and age rating.

However, this distribution method won't be entirely open and unrestricted for developers. Apple will authorize developers after they meet specific criteria and commit to ongoing requirements aimed at safeguarding users. Developers must be enrolled in the Apple Developer Program, registered in the EU, and meet certain performance thresholds, including a minimum of one million first annual installs on iOS in the EU in the prior calendar year.

Moreover, developers are required to adhere to a range of obligations, including maintaining good standing in the Apple Developer Program, publishing transparent data collection policies, and complying with applicable laws and regulations.


Although these requirements may present hurdles for developers, the ability to bring apps directly to iPhone users in the EU without reliance on the App Store or third-party stores could prove valuable for those willing to comply with Apple's policies. Apple's relaxation of its strict rules regarding how developers link to external webpages for digital goods purchases also offers developers greater flexibility in designing promotions and deals. This change allows developers to opt for their own design templates instead of being obligated to use Apple's.

Developers are required to adhere to a range of obligations, including maintaining good standing in the Apple Developer Program
Developers are required to adhere to a range of obligations, including maintaining good standing in the Apple Developer Program
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