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.

Top Rated Comments

TheLisnakFactor Avatar
5 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
5 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
5 weeks ago


Attachment Image
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Victor Mortimer Avatar
5 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
5 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
5 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)

Popular Stories

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iPhone Notch

Apple Explored These Notch and Dynamic Island Designs for iPhones

Friday February 23, 2024 2:05 pm PST by
With the iPhone 14 Pro models in 2022, Apple introduced the Dynamic Island, which can morph and expand to display system alerts, sports scores, and a variety of other information. The feature makes the space surrounding the front camera and Face ID sensors useful compared to the notch on older iPhone models. Apple explored a variety of ideas for the iPhone's notch area over the years before...
General Apps Messages

iOS 17.4 to Add This 'Groundbreaking' New Messaging Feature

Friday February 23, 2024 5:05 am PST by
With iOS 17.4, set to arrive in March 2024, Apple is bringing a new cryptographic security feature to iMessage called PQ3. This "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks," according to Apple. Let's break down what that means. Apple's iMessage service already supports end-to-end encryption, but security...
cracked glass vision pro

Handful of Apple Vision Pro Units Develop Identical Crack in Cover Glass

Friday February 23, 2024 4:46 am PST by
A small number of Apple Vision Pro owners have claimed that their headsets developed a hairline crack down the middle of the front cover glass, despite having never been dropped or mishandled. Photo of hairline crack in Vision Pro front glass (credit: Reddit user Inphenite) The first report was posted in the subreddit /r/VisionPro about 18 days ago, and several more have appeared in the last...
New Macs iPads iOS 17 4

What to Expect at Potential Apple Event in March: iPads, Macs, and More

Friday February 23, 2024 8:35 am PST by
Apple often holds its first media event of the year in March, so the company could be just weeks away from announcing new products. Below, we have outlined what to expect from a potential Apple Event this March. Past Apple Events in March Apple has held five events in March since 2015:Monday, March 9, 2015 Monday, March 21, 2016 Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Monday, March 25, 2019 Tuesday,...
iOS 17

When Will Apple Release iOS 17.4 for iPhones?

Friday February 23, 2024 11:56 am PST by
Apple has been beta testing iOS 17.4 for nearly a month now. Below, we explain when the update is likely to be released to all users. In its press release announcing major App Store changes in the EU, which were implemented in response to new regulations under the EU's Digital Markets Act, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released at some point in March:Developers can learn about these...
Next Generation CarPlay Porsche 1

Apple Launching Next-Generation CarPlay This Year With These New Features

Wednesday February 21, 2024 2:03 pm PST by
Apple recently updated its website to confirm that the first vehicle models with next-generation CarPlay support will debut "in 2024." This wording is shown on Apple's regional websites for the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. The iOS 17.4 beta includes code-level references to eight new CarPlay apps:Auto Settings: This app will let you manage paired iPhones...