Report: Sideloading in Europe Will Still Involve App Review and Fees

Developers who offer the ability to sideload their apps in the European Union will still face restrictions and fees imposed by Apple, The Wall Street Journal reports.

iOS App Store General Feature Clorange
App sideloading capabilities will allow users to download apps from outside the App Store for the first time, but only in the EU. The change is necessitated by the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA), which seeks to rein in the apparent anticompetitive conduct of big tech companies.

Apple reportedly plans to comply with EU law in a way that retains close control over the apps downloaded outside the ‌App Store‌. Apple has not yet revealed its final plans to comply with this aspect of the DMA, but the WSJ today provided new details citing people familiar with the company's plans. Specifically, Apple will apparently retain the ability to review each app offered outside the app store, as well as take a fee from developers that offer them.

Exact details of the fee structure are unknown, but Apple charges a 27% commission on in-app purchases made through alternative payment systems in the Netherlands, a capability that was initially triggered by a Dutch regulatory ruling. This is just three percent lower than its default fee, but unlike Apple's commission, it does not include tax, making the net total more than Apple's fee for most developers.

Apple has reportedly been working on the plan for offering sideloading for over a year and the company has held meetings with EU officials in recent months to discuss the new rules. The deadline to enact the changes is Thursday, March 7.

Companies are already said to be lining up to take advantage of the impending changes. For example, Spotify is mulling offering its app via its website to skirt the ‌App Store‌, Microsoft has considered launching its own third-party app store specifically for games, and Meta is planning to launch a system to download apps directly from ads.

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Top Rated Comments

TheLisnakFactor Avatar
21 weeks ago
I feel like the most logical implementation is something similar to Gatekeeper on the Mac. Certificates to identify the developers and make sure apps are legitimate. This helps handle pretty much everything Apple would want and allow for them to block apps by pulling certs. Theoretically. Plus they do it on the Mac by default already.
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mrkevinfinnerty Avatar
21 weeks ago

I feel like the most logical implementation is something similar to Gatekeeper on the Mac. Certificates to identify the developers and make sure apps are legitimate. This helps handle pretty much everything Apple would want and allow for them to block apps by pulling certs. Theoretically. Plus they do it on the Mac by default already.
Yes if it was about security, but Apple wants a piece of everybody else's business. Gatekeeper doesn't include built in rentseeking.
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
a m u n Avatar
21 weeks ago


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Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Victor Mortimer Avatar
21 weeks ago
The EU is NOT going to put up with this. Apple is about to get another smackdown, and hopefully a MASSIVE fine for screwing around.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
eilavid Avatar
21 weeks ago
I am not looking forward to having to switch to the Microsoft App Store, Spotify App Store, Meta App Store... yuck
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sniffies Avatar
21 weeks ago
Pretty much what the App Store is now: fees, reviews, full control.

And if you were hoping for App Store freedom, sorry, Apple will never let that happen on their platform.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)