Apple releases iOS17.5 beta with support for downloading apps from websites

Apple has officially rolled out the first beta of iOS 17.5 to developers, with the support for downloading apps from developer websites within the European Union. The move aligns with Apple’s ongoing efforts to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and cater to the evolving needs of its user base.

In the preceding iOS 17.4 update, Apple initiated a pivotal change by permitting developers to offer their apps through alternative app marketplaces in the European Union, a move mandated by the DMA. Initially, Apple envisioned apps being exclusively available through these marketplaces. However, in a notable reversal of strategy announced in March, Apple declared its intention to facilitate direct app downloads from websites.

To enable the distribution of apps via their websites in the European Union, developers must satisfy specific criteria. These include maintaining active membership in the Apple Developer Program for a minimum of two consecutive years, achieving over one million first installs of their app on iOS devices within the European Union in the previous year, undergoing Apple’s notarization process, and adhering to transparent data collection policies.

Apple will furnish authorized developers with an API that empowers them to offer their apps for download via the web. This functionality grants users the ability to back up, restore, update, and perform other essential actions on apps obtained through this method.

This marks a significant departure from Apple’s traditional app distribution model, as it represents the first instance where the company has endorsed the direct downloading of apps from external websites. The introduction of support for this feature will notably benefit popular apps such as Spotify and Fortnite, enabling users to seamlessly download them directly onto their iPhones, provided the developers opt in to Apple’s stipulations.

Notably, apps procured through the web will not be subjected to Apple’s commission fees. However, they will be subject to the 0.50 euro Core Technology Fee. It’s important to emphasize that the ability to download apps from the web is exclusive to the European Union and is governed by the terms of the DMA. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that this functionality is limited to iPhones, with no applicability to iPads at present.

Written by Sophie Blake


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