Apple Introduces Direct App Downloads from Websites for EU Developers In a significant update, Apple has unveiled new measures for EU developers, including the ability to distribute apps directly from websites, greater flexibility for in-app promotions, and expanded distribution options.

Apps | App Store

Apple recently made headlines by allowing, for the first time in the European Union, developers to distribute apps directly from their own webpages. This move is part of a trio of updates aimed at providing developers with more autonomy over how they distribute and promote their apps.

This development follows closely on the heels of Apple enabling alternative app stores in the EU with the release of iOS 17.4. This previous update allowed third-party app stores to offer both their own and other developers’ apps, a notable shift in Apple’s traditionally closed ecosystem.

Building on this, Apple has now permitted these third-party app stores to feature apps exclusively from their own catalog. For instance, a gaming studio can now operate an app store on iOS that only showcases its own games, offering a more branded and focused user experience.

Furthermore, developers are given greater creative freedom in how they design their in-app promotions, discounts, and deals when directing users to complete transactions on their websites.

Apple has made its templates for designing these promotional links optional, granting developers the flexibility to tailor their marketing strategies to their specific needs.

In an even more groundbreaking change, developers will soon have the capability to distribute apps directly from their websites, subject to fulfilling certain criteria laid out by Apple. These criteria include being a member of the Apple Developer Program for at least two continuous years, achieving over one million first installs on iOS within the EU in the previous year, and adhering to ongoing requirements such as the publication of clear data collection policies.

Additionally, these apps must meet Apple’s notarization standards, similar to all other iOS apps, and can only be installed from web domains registered in App Store Connect.

To support this direct distribution model, Apple is providing authorized developers with access to APIs that enable app distribution from the web, integration with system functionalities, and capabilities for backup and restore, among others.

This web distribution facility is expected to be launched following a software update later in the spring, marking the first time Apple will have allowed iOS app downloads directly from a website.

These latest updates are part of Apple’s effort to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) and will exclusively apply within the EU.

This move is seen as a significant step towards providing developers and users alike with more choices and control over their digital experiences.

European Commission Berlaymont building

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