Apple rolls out App Store Connect and TestFlight updates to support app distribution changes in the EU

Apple unveiled a significant development for EU developers on Thursday, allowing them to integrate alternative app marketplaces into App Store Connect. This move signals a notable shift in the App Store ecosystem and offers developers new avenues for distributing their apps.

As part of iOS 17.4, introduced last month, Apple introduced comprehensive changes to the App Store in the European Union. A key feature includes the support for third-party app marketplaces, opening doors for alternative distribution channels. These specialized iOS apps can be downloaded directly onto iPhones from external websites or browsers, providing an alternative to the traditional App Store.

Developers seeking to distribute their apps through alternative marketplaces should undergo the Notarization process, a requirement imposed by Apple. This process ensures that both the alternative marketplaces and the apps they host undergo thorough scrutiny by Apple to prevent the distribution of malware, viruses, or any malicious content.

To facilitate this integration, developers are required to adhere to Apple’s new business terms. These terms encompass a Core Technology Fee, mandating app marketplaces to pay €0.50 per install, while apps are subject to the same fee after surpassing 1 million installs.

The integration of alternative app marketplaces into App Store Connect empowers developers to establish marketplace distribution and offer apps outside the traditional App Store. Furthermore, the inclusion of TestFlight facilitates beta testing for new features, supporting apps that utilize alternative browser engines and enable alternative payments through third-party providers.

In addition to these changes, Apple has promised expanded app analytics reports for the App Store and iOS, providing developers with more comprehensive insights into their app performance.

To assist developers in navigating these changes, Apple introduced a consultation service last week. This service allows developers to seek guidance on the new guidelines disclosed in the previous month, offering support and clarity in adapting to the evolving landscape of the App Store.

Written by Sophie Blake


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