EU will force Apple to add app sideloading, alternative browser engine support to iPad


The last few months have seen Apple rapidly implement technical and policy solutions to comply with the Digital Markets Act. That has seen the rollout of things like alternative app marketplaces, web distribution, alternative browsers, and more as part of iOS 17.4 and iOS 17.5 updates.

So far, those rules have only applied to the iPhone and iOS. But now, the European Commission has expanded the Digital Markets Act’s purview of products to include the iPad (via Bloomberg).

Right now, support for things like the App Store’s alternative commission structure and app sideloading are only available to iPhone customers in the European Union.

Following the European Union’s announcement, Apple has approximately six months to bring iPadOS and the iPad into compliance.

That will likely mean all the same changes we have seen Apple apply to the iPhone in the EU will now also apply to the iPad. For example, iPad users will be able to download apps from alternative app stores (like AltStore) and have the opportunity to use an alternative browser and browser engine.

Apple’s implementation of the DMA rules as it applies to the iPhone remains under review. Companies like Spotify have complained that Apple has made adoption unfeasible due to obstacles like the Core Technology Fee, which enforces a per-install per-year fee for apps distributed outside Apple’s App Store, under the alternative business terms.

If Apple is found not to be in compliance, the EU can fine the company up to 10% of its annual global revenue.

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