Apple Adapts to EU Digital Markets Act with App Store Changes

Apple Adapts to EU Digital Markets Act with App Store Changes

In a significant pivot, Apple has announced comprehensive changes to its App Store policies and iOS functionality for European Union (EU) developers and users, aligning with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). This strategic shift marks a pivotal moment for the tech giant, traditionally known for its tightly controlled ecosystem, as it opens up new avenues for app distribution and payment processing within the EU.

Key Highlights:

  • Introduction of over 600 new APIs and expanded app analytics.
  • Implementation of alternative browser engine functionality.
  • New options for app payments and distribution, catering specifically to EU requirements.
  • Enhanced user protections and disclosures regarding alternative payment processing.
  • Launch of new business terms for EU developers, including reduced commissions and a core technology fee.

Apple Adapts to EU Digital Markets Act with App Store Changes

This adjustment comes as a response to the DMA’s demands, aiming to foster a more competitive digital market within the EU. By providing developers with the option to use alternative app marketplaces and payment processors, Apple is venturing into uncharted territory, potentially reshaping the App Store’s future landscape.

Understanding the Changes

For Developers:

Developers now have the flexibility to distribute iOS apps through the App Store or alternative marketplaces. They can also opt for different payment processors for transactions within the EU. These options come with a set of new business terms designed to reflect the diverse ways Apple supports developers, including reduced commissions and additional fees depending on the chosen payment processing method.

For Users:

The introduction of these changes means EU users will see new labels and disclosures on the App Store, informing them about apps utilizing alternative payment methods. Although this opens up new purchasing options, it also means Apple will not support refunds, customer service issues, or fraud protection for transactions made outside its In-App Purchase system. Users might need to navigate increased risks, such as potential scams or privacy concerns, due to these changes.

Consumer Impact and Industry Response

For EU consumers, the changes promise greater transparency and choice but also require a heightened awareness of security and privacy implications. Apple’s introduction of labels and disclosures aims to inform users about the nature of transactions and the associated risks. Yet, the effectiveness of these measures in safeguarding consumer interests in the face of increased exposure to potential scams or fraud remains to be seen.

The industry’s response to Apple’s move will be critical. Competitors may follow suit, leading to broader changes across digital marketplaces. Alternatively, Apple’s approach could become a unique selling proposition that differentiates it from competitors who choose not to or cannot offer similar flexibility.

Apple’s adaptation to the DMA represents a critical step in complying with regulatory requirements while attempting to maintain a secure and trustworthy platform for users and developers. As these changes roll out with iOS 17.4 in March 2024, the tech industry will closely watch how this move impacts the app ecosystem, user experience, and developer engagement within the EU. With Apple’s commitment to innovation and security, these updates could set a new standard for how tech giants operate in regulated markets​​.

About the author


Ashlyn Fernandes

Ashlyn is a young communications professional with disciplined training and apt exposure. He has been a voice for a number of media houses in the country and overseas. Travel, Technology, Consumer, Real Estate and Healthcare have been his main areas of practice using conventional messaging with effective digital strategies.