iOS 17.5 lets EU iPhone users to download apps directly from websites

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Apple is set to allow users in the European Union to begin downloading apps from external websites in iOS 17.5.

In iOS 17.4, Apple began allowing developers to offer their apps through alternative app marketplaces in the EU to comply with the Digital Markets Act. However, Apple has now further relaxed its app regulations for iOS 17.5, specifically for users in the EU, enabling them to download apps not only from external app stores but also directly from developer websites.

This change potentially provides users with a wider range of options for acquiring their apps, moving closer towards macOS. The computer operating system has long allowed users to download and install apps from websites. However, it’s worth noting that these changes are not yet extending to the iPad. As a result, users in the EU can only download apps from third-party websites on their iPhones for now.

In addition to this, developers aiming to offer apps from their own websites in the EU must meet a series of strict criteria established by Apple.

This includes being a member of the Apple Developer Program continuously for at least two years and having an app with a minimum of at least one million first installs on iOS devices in the EU during the previous year. Apps must also undergo Apple’s notarization process, which checks for any potentially harmful elements, and developers must publish comprehensive, transparent data collection policies for users.

If these are met, Apple will provide developers with an API enabling users to download apps directly from their websites. These apps can then be backed up, updated, and restored similar to those acquired from the official App Store.

What does this mean for users?

This is the first time Apple has allowed the direct downloading of an app from a website. With support for this feature, apps such as Spotify, Fortnite, and others can be directly downloaded onto iPhones, provided that the developers of these apps agree to Apple’s terms.

Apps offered via the web are exem...

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