Home Featured Apple’s Policy Shift: Third-Party App Store Updates Restricted for iPhones Exiting the EU for Over a Month

Apple’s Policy Shift: Third-Party App Store Updates Restricted for iPhones Exiting the EU for Over a Month

by William Linden
iPhone

In a recent update to its support page, Apple has introduced a noteworthy change regarding the use of third-party app stores on iPhones for users residing in the European Union. According to the updated information, if you find yourself outside the EU for an extended period exceeding 30 days, your iPhone will no longer automatically update software installed through alternative app marketplaces.

This development follows the enactment of the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which became effective on Wednesday. Initially, users were informed that they would lose access to certain features during short-term travel outside the EU. However, Apple has now specified a 30-day grace period, introducing a potential inconvenience for individuals who frequently travel for extended durations.

Despite this restriction on automatic updates, the policy does not impede your ability to use alternative app marketplaces entirely. Apple assures users that third-party stores can still be utilized to manage and open apps that were previously installed. Notably, several developers are gearing up to launch their own third-party app stores, including Mobivention’s enterprise app store and MacPaw’s Setapp store. However, Epic Games may face obstacles in launching its planned game store, as Apple has revoked its developer license citing it as “verifiably untrustworthy.”

To comply with the changes brought about by the Digital Markets Act, users within the European Union can now install alternative app marketplaces and their associated apps on iOS 17.4 or later. To qualify, the country or region of your Apple ID must be set to one within the EU, and you must physically be located within the European Union.

It’s important to note that on-device processing is used to determine your device’s eligibility for alternative app marketplaces, with only an indicator of eligibility sent to Apple. This approach is designed to prioritize user privacy, as Apple does not collect your device’s location data. If you happen to leave the European Union, you can still open and use apps previously installed from alternative app marketplaces. These marketplaces can continue updating those apps for up to 30 days after your departure, and you can manage previously installed apps using alternative app marketplaces. However, to install new apps or alternative app marketplaces, you must be physically present within the European Union.

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