Updated April 3rd, 2024 at 18:24 IST

Apple allows sideloading apps from websites in iOS 17.5 update, here’s how to do it

The move follows Apple's earlier adjustment in iOS 17.4, which permitted developers to distribute their apps through alternative app marketplaces.

Reported by: Anirudh Trivedi
App Store | Image:Unsplash
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iOS changing for good: Since the launch of the first iPhone, the Apple App Store has maintained the exclusive right to let users install applications on their iPhones. If you are interested in mobile technology and want to try new applications that are either in the initial phase or still not available on the App Store, the only thing you can do as an iPhone user is to wait and wait until the app is available on the official app marketplace. 

But now, Apple is changing itself amid the EU antitrust scrutiny and changing for good. According to the latest inaugural beta version of iOS 17.5 released for developers, Apple has announced that European Union iPhone users will be allowed to download apps directly from developer websites. 

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The move follows Apple's earlier adjustment in iOS 17.4, which permitted developers to distribute their apps through alternative app marketplaces within the EU to adhere to the Digital Markets Act.

Initially, Apple mandated that apps be exclusively available through these marketplaces. However, in March, the tech major announced plans to facilitate direct app downloads from websites.

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How to sideload apps in iPhone from developers’ websites?

Even though Apple has allowed the sideloading of applications directly from the developers’ websites, the company has mentioned clear rules for the developers to offer the apps. To offer apps for download via websites in the EU, developers must meet specific criteria which includes being members of the Apple Developer Program for at least two consecutive years. 

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The members of the Apple Developer Program must also have their apps accumulating over one million initial installs on iOS devices in the EU in the preceding year. Additionally, developers must adhere to Apple's notarization process and disclose transparent data collection policies.

Authorised developers will receive an API from Apple, enabling them to make their apps available for download via the web. Apps obtained through this method will support functionalities such as backup, restoration, and updates.

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Opportunity for developers 

This marks Apple's inaugural endorsement of direct app downloads from websites. The inclusion of this feature means that apps like Spotify and Fortnite can potentially be downloaded directly onto iPhones if their respective developers agree to Apple's terms.

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Apps downloaded through the web are exempt from commission fees imposed by Apple but are subject to a 0.50 euro Core Technology Fee.

Similar to alternative app marketplaces, web-based app downloads are governed by the terms of the Digital Markets Act and are exclusive to the European Union. Notably, this capability is limited to iPhones, with no applicability to iPads.

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(With Reuters inputs)

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Published April 3rd, 2024 at 13:08 IST